Lessons from Traveling Abroad- Patience

As I was traveling abroad this past week I could not get one word out of my mind. Patience. I can be patient when I want to be, but it is normally not one of my strong suits. But it was truly tested when trying to get home a few days ago. It is true what they say, never pray for patience, because God will laugh and give you a situation that will make you have patience.

So here I am at the airport at 5 am. I left my hotel right before 3 am local time. When we get to our gate, we see the plane that was supposed to leave before us was still there. That is not generally a good sign. So, I did what any normal person would do, I checked Twitter for the news. My, how times have changed. But Twitter was the first place that was talking about the fire at one of the Terminals in the airport in Rome. And sure enough, that is where I was flying to. So the gate agents, in Italian, said to wait around because our flight is just delayed. But after only getting 45 minutes of sleep that night, I fell asleep at the gate waiting.

I woke up to people angry at my gate. It turns out that they were all so angry because they cancelled our flight to Rome because of the fire in Rome. So they made an announcement in Italian, which I know very little. I gathered that I had to go check in with the front desk to get booked on another flight. So I double checked with the Gate Agent and she said, yes I had to go back through security and check in with the front desk. Well I proceeded to do so. Waited in line for 40 minutes only to be told that I was in the wrong place, I have to go to the ticketing counter on the other side of the airport. When I got to the other side of the airport, there were already 5 plane loads of people waiting in line. That’s several hundred people. Funny God, I see what you are doing here with testing my patience.

So I thought, maybe I will just call the airline and see if they can book it that way. So I called an 800 number and talked to several people. I got passed around to several more people, then on hold even more times, finally to be told that they could not help me that I had to check in with the ticketing counter. So I stood in line. And stood. And stood. And stood. I finally got up to the ticketing counter after standing in line for 5 hours. Then as soon as I got up to the counter they put up a sign right in front of me that said “chiuso”. If you haven’t it out, that means closed. I was not very happy. But the people behind me in line were furious. Now by this point the whole airport was in complete chaos. Most of the flights going out of our airport have been cancelled because most flights were going to Rome. There were literally riots and fights breaking out all over the airport over people cutting in line and waiting in line for too long. The local news station was there interviewing the angry customers. Most people did not have as much patience as me, that is for sure. I just turned around shrugged and took a deep breath. I couldn’t do much more than that. I ended up waiting another hour for someone to help me and get my flights changed.  When it was all said and done, it took me 47 hours to get home, from the time I left my hotel to the time I got to my house in Georgia. Now that was quite the adventure. I even had to spend the night in the Rome airport and sprint to the gate to make my last flight to Atlanta. But I feel like after making it through this adventure and having mastered it with patience, I can accomplish any task. On Saturday, waiting in line at the grocery store no longer seemed like a big deal. Maybe we all need a lesson in patience. I just hope that you don’t have such an extreme situation as I did, but for some of you that may be what it takes.

So remember to be patient today. You never know what someone may be dealing with. And always try to learn from your life experiences. You never know when you may have to use that as a teaching point for someone who truly needs to hear about your story at some point down the road. Ciao!

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