Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Winter Stories - Part 1

All photos of the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado that are featured here were taken by me during our family vacation in early June of last year. I took the photos from inside our vehicle, using my pocket-sized digital camera, while the car was going 75 miles/hr.

Two nights ago, winter arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming. This prompted me to come up with an idea to write about my winter stories, which I’ll be posting throughout this winter season. I only hope that I will not bore you during the course.

As info to my readers outside the U.S., the official winter season here in the U.S. is from December to February. To me though, winter is when I start wearing winter coats, gloves, scarves, boots, and when the snow starts falling. Even though the first snowfall this year in Cheyenne had come a week later than most times, I'm still not ready for it. Don't get me wrong. I like snow; I just wish it comes only a couple of months a year, preferably from December through January, rather than the usual seven-month stretch.

On October 28, 1977, I journeyed from the Philippines to the U.S. It was an exciting and a very scary experience for me. I was barely nineteen, never been in an airplane before, and never travelled more than 200 miles away from home. But I've always been on the the adventurous side all my life, so, I gave my sister and brother-in-law and a couple of friends hugs and kisses, said my goodbyes, and then boarded the airplane. I definitely felt anxious about my flight because my heart was beating fast and my breathing, irregular. I often had to breathe deep and slow in hopes of calming myself down, but they didn’t work. Of course, on take off, I felt more anxious. I closed my eyes, held my breath, and gripped at the armrests on both sides. My neighbor must have noticed my freight because he started making conversations with me. The conversations really helped.

I was okay for a long while until we started descending in Hawaii when I felt that sensation of my stomach being up to my chest and throat. That falling sensation was very disconcerting to me that even conversations could not distract me. So, of course, I once again closed my eyes, held my breath, and gripped the armrests. I have flown in airplanes many times more after that journey that those things that bothered me before are now trivial. Thank goodness.

On a layover in Los Angeles, I phoned my sister here in Cheyenne. She asked me if my plane will be stopping in Denver. I didn’t know exactly how to read my itenerary from my multiple plane tickets, so, she told me to ask the people behind the counter. I was told yes. I then relayed that to my sister. She said she and her family will drive to Denver, Colorado to see me.

I boarded my next flight. However, instead of landing next at the Denver airport, I landed at the Miami International Airport—my final destination. I asked one of the stewardess why we didn’t stop in Denver. She said that Denver was never in the itinerary. Oh boy, oh boy! My sister and her family had gone there for nothing! Why then that I was told that my flight stops in Denver? Perhaps my heavy Filipino accent got in a way with my English that the woman behind the counter misunderstood me. I still have my Filipino accent, but it’s probably not as heavy as it once was, since people don’t have a hard time understanding me now when I speak. Either that or they’re used to the way I talk.

My husband, fiancĂ© at the time, and his friends met me at the airport. My arrival was a long awaited one—over a year. It must have been true love, for hubby to wait that long for me to come to America to marry him. I’m still pretty blown away after all these years, thinking about it.

Anyway, back to my sister. When we talked on the phone again, she explained that they were having a snowstorm when I called her from L.A. It was around 1 a.m. Her husband had to install chains on the tires of their car to make the trip to Denver. You have to understand; this was over thirty years ago, before the advent of four-wheel drives. They bundled up my two-year old nephew as they drove to Denver in the snowstorm. I felt terrible about it when I learned about their treacherous drive. I was so thankful they were safe. If not, I’d be feeling the guilt up to now.

Well folks, that’s all for now until next time. Thanks so much for reading.