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I lost a day. And I will never get it back.
Ten years ago today, I traveled from the Midwest to a country 12 time zones away. I left Chicago O’Hare at 10pm on June 4th and arrived at my destination early in the morning on June 6th.
It was dark when I arrived. The airport had several layers of security and lots of guys with machine guns standing around. We deplaning passengers stood in line to show security agents our entry documents and to turn over the forms we filled out on the plane declaring the items we were bringing into the country.
The whole security thing was a little nerve wracking since I had $10,000 in United States currency strapped to my body in a waist wallet. I declared it on the form because we were told that if we failed to disclose something it could be confiscated and I could not risk that. As you can imagine, an American woman arriving with a fair amount of cash strapped to her caused quite a hubbub. They asked to see it and I said no. (I had just gotten off a British Airways jet … not a turnip truck). After some back and forth conversations in a language I did not understand, I was let through security to the airport waiting area.
We were greeted by our in-country hosts on the other side of the security fence and stumbled into the still dark morning to a waiting van which took us to our lodgings. We were told that we would be picked up in 4 hours to be driven 75 miles into the countryside. After traveling and the excitement at the airport and being in a foreign country I couldn’t sleep and did not even try.
Did I mention I lost a day? I did. June 5th, 2001 did not exist for me.
But I gained more than a day. I gained 3,652 days of joy and the hope for many more. I gained a new reason to wake up every morning, an incentive to be the best person I can be at all times, the motivation to keep plugging away even when it seems like nothing is going right or ever will.
At the end of that 90 minute trip was the start of a new journey. Here is who I found … and who found me.
Funny how that day never really seemed lost to me.
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