From the blog...

Dec 23rd – Heathrow Airport. My first time! I had only been to Europe once, to Italy, last year for my birthday. I was excited! We landed around 8am, and our connecting flight was at 9am. I thought for sure it’d be a little tight, but I was certain we’d make it, since we didn’t have to go claim our luggage, it would follow us all the way to our next flight to Abu Dhabi. Oh, how I was wrong. Heathrow airport is humungous!!! I don’t quite remember in which terminal we were in, but I remember walking and walking and walking until we reached it finally, and we weren’t even close to our gate. Plus, the poor guys who have to transfer all the luggage to the connecting flights wouldn’t have had enough time to do it all between the aircrafts. So, we missed our flight. Next one is at… 2pm! Whew. OK, so we were put on the next flight. We waited almost 6 hours in the airport, just walking around, finding interesting ways to kill time. (Little reminder that I did not sleep at all during our overnight flight so I was tiii-red!) First we went for breakfast at a cute little pub called Garfunkle’s. Afterwards we thought we could do a little shopping, but we didn’t have any luggage to pack anything in, so we just window-shopped. Among others, I came across a caviar shop that sold all the finest culinary products you could possibly imagine. I also went to a souvenir shop to get myself a neck pillow. I thought it would be a great investment toward my sleeping needs lol. Anyway, so after what felt like 2 days of walking around and sitting on the airport benches, listening to music (and revising the songs we were gonna play in Kabul), and chitchatting (we did have some enjoyable conversations with the group, that was nice), we were finally boarding the aircraft to Abu Dhabi, on Etihad Airlines. That flight was pretty nice, the staff was very friendly and attentive. I was sitting in the middle isle between Richard and a lady who did not have a problem with stretching her elbows out, haha. After they served lunch I knew I had to get some shut-eye, or I would faint lol. At that point I had gone almost 24 hours without sleep so I was feeling a little dizzy and light-headed… Thankfully I was able to doze off, for just under an hour. Not enough to recharge of course, but still helped a little. One of our friends General Giguère told me before we left Montreal: “You’re gonna have to do it like we do it in the military: grab some zzz’s wherever and whenever you can!!” Oh, I wish I could I told him lol. After a 6.5 hour flight, we landed in Abu Dhabi. Wow, I thought, I’m in the United Arab Emirates! This is amazing. A land so far away from home, so far away from the Christmas blizzard that was probably taking over all of Quebec at that very moment ☺ A land rich in new and exciting culture, I was there! And it felt so thrilling. Please don’t laugh at me, but one of the first thoughts that also popped into my mind was Sex And The City 2, when the girls go on vacation in Abu Dhabi, hehe. So I was thinking of our next steps in my head: we get off in Abu Dhabi, and again, right away we have a connecting flight to catch, to Kabul. Our last stretch was around the corner, and we were scheduled to arrive there at 6am, on Dec 24th, Christmas eve. Everyone at the military base was expecting us, and we had a full day planned, visiting other camps and performing 3 to 4 times in total. I was exhausted but started to get excited also.

So we get off the plane, start walking toward the terminal, and OMG! I forgot my jacket in the upper compartment. The others tell me to hurry back and get it, or we’ll miss our next flight to Kabul! I start running back to the plane, trying to look as casual as possible (try running and looking casual!), and was able to get my jacket. Run back to the terminal where the group was waiting for me, and then Captain Labonté makes an announcement: “We didn’t miss the flight to Kabul, but unfortunately… it’s cancelled. The flight wasn’t full enough.” I can see all the Generals’ faces turn blank, and I feel my blood pressure drop instantly lol. I turn to Richard and his eyes are as round as ping pong balls. “Wwwwwhat does that mean?” I ask. Captain Labonté laughs a little and says: “I’m not sure, let’s figure it out!”

(to be continued…)