anastasia and airplanes: a saga

23 Dec

dear readers,

happy christmas eve eve! i know i’m safely at home with my parents and little brother in florida, and i hope all of you are enjoying some time off and a break from the regular stressors of life. if you’re in another country than your home, working to defend our freedoms, then, my hat is off to you – thank you. and if you aren’t home in general, i hope you are surrounded by other people who bring you peace and happiness.

either way, my trip home two days ago was terrifying. my plane was struck my lightning!

Blue-sky-with-clouds-007

but before i talk about that, first a little bit about my relationship with airplanes. i think my first ride on an airplane was our journey from north carolina to panama. we’ve lived overseas three other times, so growing up, airplanes were part of our life. as a child they were greatly anticipated because an eight hour flight over seas means new video games, a personal tv screen, and space-isc food. you got to take your shoes off and be served soda. everything about flying was magical for a long time in my life. in the past eight years of my life, i’ve flown overseas at least once a year, and had many continental flights strewn in there. before christopher and i were in a short-distance relationship, i’d fly to nashville about once a month. and on top of that, i’d fly home to tampa to see my parents. i say all of this, just so you, the reader, understand i have had a lot of time on planes. when i was working in uganda for six months, i flew on the smallest airplanes you’d ever seen. so small where i was just sitting on the metal floor of the luggage area since the only seats were for the pilots.

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(also, all of the runways we used, except one, were dirt – which led to many cancelled flights since the runways were mud haha)

but in the past few years i have had this intense, growing anxiety any time i step on an airplane. this is a problem because “travel” is one of my favorite things in the world. here’s an example:

in the summer, christopher and i flew from newark to paris for our parisian vacation (and proposal!!!!). in preparation for dealing with my anxious nature, we brought sleeping pills for the airplane. i took my pills in the first half an hour of being aboard our flight. i didn’t sleep the whole eight hours. i was in a strange medicated state, but sleep would not come. BUT during our two hour layover in sweden, i passed out immediately into christopher’s lap. he practically had to carry me onto the next flight, which i slept though. maybe the solution is for me to take them before the flight. either way, the destination will always be worth the trip.

of course, as long as you make it to your destination!! on my flight from nashville to tampa (i love that southwest has a direct flight from BNA to TPA) i wasn’t so sure we were going to make it! the first 75% of the flight was wonderful smooth sailing! i was even able to actually read and focus on my book! but with about 30 minutes left in the flight, the captain explained it was going to be a rough ride into tampa. i wasn’t too worried then because i’ve heard that a lot, and was psychologically prepared for a bumpy ride. but then the flight attendants weren’t allowed to collect our empty drink cups – which was strange. we made it through the first bank of clouds (i assume) and the attendants were allowed 3 minutes to run through and frantically collect all of the trash. and they were called back early from that to buckle in to a seat. the plane started descending more quickly than usual, and the clouds outside the window were turning a dark black. i felt like we were on a roller coaster. as is custom for me, my eyes were shut tight and i was doing my year’s worth of praying during those scariest moments. to check the clouds, i opened my eyes, and right outside our window was a HUGE flash of light (it seemed like a big ball of light) and a POP/CRACK which rocked the airplane. the lady beside me said, “i think that was lightning!” and those around me thought so as well. no one screamed, but everyone was awake in a hurry and bracing through that turbulence. a few minutes later (felt like hours) we broke through the bottom of the clouds. i turned to the guy on my left and said, “i have never been so happy to see the ground in my life” to which he agreed and asked how i was. then all three of us in our little row recounted our time in the clouds. ridiculous. i never talk to people on planes, especially when i’m traveling alone, but that day i wanted nothing more than to talk with these people after being bound by such a bizarre and terrifying event. we thought that was it! but we touched down and our flight attendant echoed all of our thoughts, saying, “well, we made it.” later i heard the pilot bragging to one of the grounds crew saying “we were hit by lightning and then the electricity went out for like ten seconds!” i’m glad i didn’t know that in the air…

later i googled “what happens when a plane is hit by lightning” and i found this article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-happens-when-lightni/ 

so, although it was horrifying and i thought that was it, it is very common for planes to be hit by lightning and they are designed to be ok after dealing with that kind of phenomenon.

i’m hoping that having dealt with and survived this will make me less anxious for my next flight… which is on saturday! woop!

xoxo,
annie

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