Monday, June 6, 2011

Post Secret One: Things I have been thinking, experiencing, and doing but was not able to write in order to keep my early return to the United States a surprise

The Decider:

Ok, so around the beginning of May I made the decision to explore my options for returning home. Since DLC kicks us out by the 25th of June, and my current plane ticket was for the 2nd of July, I needed to make changes regardless of when I decided to come back. I had been considering for awhile the possibility of returning by June 5th so that I could attend Lawrence University's graduation, several of my close Lawrentian friends are graduating this year, not to mention my Brother, so it is a big event this time around.

Not making any solid choice, I gave Continental Airlines a call to see what flights were available from Australia to the U.S. around June 4th, planning to arrive in the States just in time to make it to graduation, but not leave Macquarie before the official end of classes on the 3rd. The first person I talked to barely spoke English, misunderstood most of what I was asking and gave me the information that there were no flights before June 12th that worked with my ticket options. I decided that perhaps it would be good for me to call back and speak to someone else, so I waited a day and again called the Airline. Again I spoke with someone who had fairly poor English (a completely different person though) and she initially told me that there was a flight on the 1st in the early morning, and NO flights on the 12th...hmmm...I decided to call back one more time later that evening, just to be sure, since again, I thought perhaps there had been not so good understanding just based on what I was being given in responses (not because I was told there was nothing free, but, there were some other odd things as well). I called and OH NO! It was the FIRST person I had talked to again!!!! I asked my question and she told me that she would check for flights, she found one leaving on June 1st in the evening going from Sydney to Vancouver, to LA, to Houston, to Chicago. Certainly not optimal, long travel time AND leaving on the 1st I would not have any time to accomplish my exams. So I asked if there was ANYTHING else. I was on hold for a looooooong time and then the call suddenly cut to another line (whether I was transferred or it just jumped I do not know). Anyway, just as I was giving up on the idea of going home early, perhaps it was not 'meant to be' I was thinking, the person who picked up and asked "how can I help you" sounded like a native English speaker. I asked one last time about flights from Sydney to the U.S.

We proceeded to have lovely conversation about flights across the dateline, his impending 49th birthday, and the milestone of turning 50. He saw what had been done by the previous agent and laughed.

"That is not a very direct flight now is it!?" he said "I can get you in WAY better than that!" and within minutes he told me there was a flight from Sydney to Vancouver to Chicago on the 2nd of June. Easy to find, don't know why the other agents had such trouble! Perfect!!! Decision time!!! Should I book the flight? pay the money? If I don't do it it may not be available. At this point I had not yet decided to go home so early, because that was very early...was I done with my Australian experience? I had not yet been to Broome or Tasmania...but then again, I didn't really have the funds did I? What would I choose!? I decided to book. I could always change later if needbe, so I gave it a ‘here goes’ and asked him to switch the ticket for me. He proceeded to do so and I said,
"ok let me get my credit card out" to this he said
"shhh shhh I am concentrating!" I was a bit baffled by this, but ok, then I asked
"ready for the card number yet?" he replied
"nono shush! there you are, you are all booked I have sent the confirmation email."
"so, no credit card?" (I knew from previous calls and checking online that there was undoubtably a fee for changing tickets and airports)
"no Miss, we will collect that from you if you switch again. Thank you for flying with us!"

So, I was gifted a ticket home by a man I have never met, I don't even know his name. Ok Ariana, perhaps going home early was 'meant to be' after all. Also, a week after I booked the ticket I secured a part-time job in Oberlin beginning on the 6th of June, tickets to Broome are really expensive, and I need some reason to come back to Australia someday right? So going home early works out well.

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