Oct 2001 – I took the SAT for college and when I got out of the exam around noon, I hitched a ride with my neighbor and listened to my voicemail:
“It’s Mom. Do you want to go visit your sister in Scotland this weekend? You would spend more time travelling to get there than you would there – only about one day in Glasgow, and you would miss Monday of school. If you do, there’s a plane leaving this afternoon, so you’d have to pack immediately when you get home, and then I’d pick you up at 1 o’clock to take you to the airport. Call me. “
So, I did. I went home to pack and within an hour, I was on my way!
When I arrived in Heathrow, I knew I had to change planes on the other side of the airport and my mom warned me that this was a somewhat tight turnaround and Heathrow was notoriously gigantic. I accidentally set my watch to the incorrect time, and suddenly thought I only had 30 min to change planes, so I raced through Heathrow in a panic, only to realize my mistake when I got to my gate; I was an hour and a half early. Better than the alternative.
I made it to my sister’s place and she was happy to see me. I wasn’t quite 18, so no drinking in pubs, but we did go to a house party, and she took me to visit her school. We also went to the Mackintosh House, before dropping me back at the airport.
On the way home, my sister had me bring back wine glasses. It was a wedding present for a friend of a friend, who was starting a restaurant in our hometown. Since this was right after Sept 11th, London security unwrapped the present to ensure it was safe.
Midway through the flight, the pilot announced that we were going to make an unplanned landing in Calgary, Canada due to a medical emergency on board. I knew that on Sept 11th, when they grounded all planes, many pilots first told passengers that it was for a medical emergency so as not to cause panic. Because I didn’t hear the pilot request for a doctor on-board, I was nervous that this might mean another terrorist attack. I breathed a sigh of relief when we took off en route to California after the patient deboarded.