*disclaimer* If menstrual cycle talk freaks you out – click away immediately.
Bryan and I landed in Addis Ababa well rested thanks to the upgrade, and I thought the trip might go off without a hitch from here on out.
I knew that time of the month was starting in a day or so and I put on a pad to be safe. Unfortunately, what I forgot to think about was the fact that the medication the travel doctor had given me actually changed my entire cycle.
We walked down to purchase our visas before we realized our American money had been lost in transit. It is $40 cash (or that equivalent in birr) to purchase a visa, but we only had South African rand. They told us there was an ATM, so Bryan ran over to it. It was, of course, broken. We were literally stuck. I started to tear up. Then, a Rastafarian man from Canada came to the line and heard what was happening. His smiley disposition was contagious (well, only for a moment for me). He happily offered us the $40 in cash and told us not to worry about paying him back. We were so appreciative.
We got our luggage and realized there was no one there to pick us up…and that did it. I started bawling. Bryan, at this point, was still the picture of optimism and started going around to arrange us travel to our hotel. I’m normally more of an optimist myself, so I was getting upset that I was letting something so trivial get to me. Then I realized my jeans were wet…
I pulled up my jeans up at the ankles and I saw crimson red. Holy S*** , I thought. This is not happening! The medication I was on was making me almost hemorrhage. I hobbled backward into a corner of the airport. I wanted to disappear.
Bryan saw my face and walked over to me. Bryan is the closest person currently living on this planet that I will have to a brother, and he takes this role really seriously, but I learned he can also double as a sister in a pinch. “Bryan, I’ve period-ed down to my ankles!” I started crying again. Bryan looked at me like I was the most pathetic thing in the world at that moment, and got his game face on to find us a ride the heck out of there.
I took that time to use the wifi in the airport. I got an email from Brian saying his flight got delayed 10 hours and they were stuck in New York. Also, on the flight home Samuel caught a virus, and now Aram was getting it. I totally lost it.
Bryan and I then stopped our mission to get to a hotel and made priority number one finding a phone to call Brian. Luckily, Brian’s spirits weren’t as broken as mine, and he reassured me that everything was fine and to just focus on getting to the hotel, and to not forget there was a reason we were there.
With that, my thoughts were collected and we found a shuttle to take us to the hotel.
As we walked outside with the shuttle driver, I saw a familiar face in the dark distance. It was our friend and driver, Girma! They wouldn’t let him into the airport (protocol during certain times of the day there) and he apologized that he couldn’t tell me he was out there the whole time.
The last two hours suddenly flashed through my head and I saw the humor and frustration in the events, and there was some sort of satisfaction knowing that is just a part of life.
…And in that moment I perked up. There was familiarity, safety, and reassurance with our group, and I felt so blessed to have so many people around me that I could lean on in moments where I am not anywhere near my best.