Positive Thoughts

Four weeks ago the daughter of my dear friends had an appendectomy which turned into something much more serious.

Her recovery has been long and complicated and she is still in intensive care in London. My friends are here from LA and have had an immense amount of worry and concern since this started.

As Christmas approaches, a time when people come together to exchange gifts, share love and argue over charades, my heart goes out to Caroline and Andrew as they face a Christmas with their daughter in a London hospital.

I’m not a religious person but I do believe in the power of positive thought and so a prayer is in my thoughts and I’m sending lots of love.

Get well Hannah!

If it’s worth doing…

It’s worth overdoing!

Despite spending the weekend without a voice and with reduced hearing (yes, ensue hilarious jokes) by Sunday I started Christmas preparations.

My motto when it comes to these things is “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing” and so, true to form, I whipped up four bespoke felt Christmas stockings complete with names.

All ready for filling

I’ve started buying the fillers (just helping out Father Christmas) but I’m left with a quandary. Do I buy my own stocking fillers or run the risk of an empty stocking on Christmas morning?

The Christmas dilemma!

The Follow Up

And so despite feeling like I’d overreacted slightly and should have stayed, I checked the flight status today. 

All flights from Bentonville to Dallas were cancelled including the one I was originally booked on and Dallas was experiencing severe delays and cancellations the last time I checked. It would seem that erring on the side of caution was, in fact, a good decision. 
Having slept for twelve hours last night, I’m glad I got out when I did. After all, I didn’t have enough oat cakes to survive another three days!

Next time, I’m insisting on room service!

And so to recap…

I left home at 7:30am on Monday. I was driven to Heathrow where my flight was delayed for two and a half hours.

I flew to Dallas where I had forty five minutes to make my connection. Arriving into Arkansas, I was driven to my hotel. 8pm local time (2am GMT). Travel time door to door: 18.5 hours.

Checked in to a youth hostel masquerading as a hotel. No room service, no toiletries but a pool table in the lobby. Survived the night on gluten-free oat cakes.

Luckily I travel with my own cereal and so for breakfast I enjoyed buckwheat granola with water in a paper cup. There was a coffee maker but only one chamomile tea bag so I enjoyed a nice cup of hot water with breakfast. Mmm.

I spent the day at work before returning to the youth hostel for another delicious meal of oat cakes, a little light entertainment watching the weather channel predicting massive storms, traffic chaos and airport closures. I had a very early night.

Wednesday morning I got up, showered, packed (just in case i was able to leave) ate breakfast from my paper cup and set off to the first meeting.

The meeting had been rescheduled and as there was only one flight left, I was dropped at the airport to fly to Chicago and on to London.

Arrived into Chicago, to find I was on the only flight without a gate. Hmmm. On a positive note I found a very good Mexican quinoa salad, a welcome relief from oatcakes and buckwheat.

Got a shuttle bus across the airport, flew back to London and was driven home.

I didn’t actually see Bentonville and didn’t make it to any of the meetings

I should add that I don’t get to travel business class so the past three days have been wedged into economy.

Business travel. Not as glamorous as it sounds!

The shortest trip ever

As it became increasingly apparent that I was going to get stuck in Arkansas, I decided to see if I could leave early.

Everyone else had the same idea as all the flights (except one) were booked and the only way out was to leave on a midday flight through Chicago.

I weighed up the consequences. Commit career suicide, put myself first and leave, or stay, do the right thing for the company and end up stuck in Arkansas for the next three months.

For once in my life I decided to do what was right for me. I committed career suicide and decided to get out while I could.

Back at the airport (so soon!) things weren’t as smooth as the change hadn’t gone through and I couldn’t check in.

I waited patiently making phone calls and emails to get things sorted and finally, with boarding pass in hand, I made my way through security.

Less than thirty six hours in the US!