I Survived Flying United to South Dakota

#Isurvivedflyingunited2017

. . .not once, not twice, but FOUR times within a span of 3 days!

First connecting flight to Chicago

You might be asking yourself — four flights in three days, why?

At the end of March, I decided to take an offer to travel to South Dakota for a potential job opportunity with a school who works closely with Native American students.  They booked my roundtrip flights and I left on a Monday and returned the Wednesday of last week.

To say my Easter week was a whirlwind is an understatement. My head is still reeling from everything I experienced in such a small amount of time — I don’t know how business people that have to travel across the country for work do it so often! Bless you all!

Second United Flight

Overall my flights were “okay” with mixed with moments of anxiety and nervousness. My anxiousness subsided after I got through security and the TSA frisking me. Not sure if I’ll ever get used to them doing that, but it’s a necessary evil.

On my flights to South Dakota, I approached each gate with uncertainty. Not sure where to turn, where to follow, and I was never sure if I’d make my flights on time. I had never attempted connecting flights, let alone one in Chicago. If you’ve never been to O’Hare, just know one thing — it’s massive.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport – Terminal 1

I got on my first flight from Allentown to Chicago O’Hare and the plane was a puddle jumper. I could have stood in the middle of the plane with my arms stretched out and I would’ve been able to touch either side! In all fairness, it was an “express” plane, but it was so tiny it couldn’t even hold typical carry-on luggage — that was a first for me.

But I got on the plane, buckled my seatbelt and off I went into the great white sky. I had my own seat, didn’t have to share with a soul — although they were only INCHES away from me across the aisle, ha! Aside from the small, cramped plane and all the craziness associated with traveling,  I want to thank the United crew for treating me and the other passengers with the utmost respect, even in the midst of the news breaking about what had happened to Dr. Dao getting on his flight in Chicago.

After almost an hour and a half in the sky, we landed in Chicago. Thankfully, I only had to travel from terminal 1 to terminal 2 for my first connecting flight. Would you believe that on my flight back to Pennsylvania that I had the same plane for each connecting flight? I didn’t have to move gates — if that’s not God’s favor I don’t know what is!

Hazy Chicago

After my two hour layover in O’Hare, I strapped myself back into a seat and off I went to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was then that my emotions got the best of me. Part of my mind focused on seeing my old college friend L, her husband J and their little guy C, but the other half of my mind recognized that I was about to interview for a job opportunity that could change my life drastically.

I took the remaining time on the flight to gain my composure before landing. I walked off the plane and I remember that I felt this overwhelming sense of peace (and relief)! When I look back, I know it was God reassuring me that no matter what happened while I was in South Dakota that He is and will always be with me.

I found my way to the entrance of the airport and patiently waited for L & J. After twenty minutes or so, I felt this tap on my shoulder and it was L! We hadn’t seen each other in five years and it was so good to give her a hug. We left the airport and I got to eat with her, J and C until my ride from the school I was interviewing with came and got me.

We chatted about life and caught up on everything that we could in the small amount of time we had. My ride from the school came and we found ourselves saying goodbye again, but I would see them again the next day. I left them behind and jumped in the car with a complete stranger named M.

Who does that? Who travels hundreds of miles to a foreign state and jumps into a vehicle with a stranger?

Although M and I didn’t know each other, it didn’t take long for us to get to know one another. Before I knew it, I felt like I had known M for twenty years. We talked about our families, our pets, our friends, how she came to live in South Dakota and where we were originally from. She was a storyteller, and I am a storyteller, so our 2-hour long drive from Sioux Falls to Chamberlain felt more like a 30-minute drive.

Me & M

M pointed out a few sites along the way and we stopped for a bite to eat at a place called Culvers. They have DELICIOUS cheese curds. If you ever find yourself in the mid-west you’ll have to try their food! Eventually, we found ourselves in Chamberlain where the streets look amazingly like my hometown. We traveled up toward the school and I was able to get a quick campus tour. It is right on the Missouri River and the rolling hills surrounding it are gorgeous.

I settled into my guest housing and it was lovely.

The next day I awoke for my interviews with the staff at the school. The interviews went well and my day wrapped up with dinner at L & J’s home that they work in at the school. L made everyone Indian Tacos, which were beyond delicious and had us all wanting second helpings! The girls in the home were delightful and enjoyed having me visit with them. Selfishly, I was so happy that God gave me a little more time with L & J while there at the school. I left their house, went back to my guest housing and called it a night.

L’s awesome Indian Tacos

In the morning, I packed my things up and got a quick cup of coffee’s at L’s before the 2-hour trek back to Sioux Falls. We promised to stay in touch and I told them I’d let them know the outcome either way about the job. I said my goodbyes, hoping to see them again soon.

Lifelong Friends

I headed out with M back to Sioux Falls. M wouldn’t let me get on the flight without experiencing another great food spot, so we stopped off at a cafe. We ate delicious food and M saw some old friends she knew from the school. Just as we were about to get up to leave, I got a text from the HR department at the school asking me to call them.

I assumed they were trying to get a hold of M, since they told me they weren’t making a decision until the next week. M kindly told me that she hadn’t received any texts and that they must have just wanted to speak with me.

As M held her breath, I called the HR department back.

“Hello, this is Brittney.”

“Yes, hi Brittney. You were fantastic in your interviews and we would like to offer you a position for this upcoming school year.”

After carefully listening, I hung up the phone and looked at M. I bobbed my head “yes” and she shook my hand and said, “Yay, welcome to [the school]!”

I GOT THE JOB!

I GOT THE JOB!

I GOT THE JOB!

I can’t tell you all the thoughts that were running through my mind, but I just kept thanking God and I couldn’t wait to tell everyone back home. Needless to say, my remaining flights on United were the least of my worries!

Chamberlain, South Dakota

I’ve been looking for a breakthrough like this and I now have to walk out in obedience for what God has in store for my life. I’m ready to go on a new adventure, meet new people and explore!

Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me, stuck by me in the hard times and has sewn into my life.

GLORY BE TO GOD!

@brittwillwrite

*I’m sure as this journey progresses there will be much more to write about. Stay tuned!