international travel adventures part 1 – flying

There has been a lot of excitement building up to today…! Today I am en route to JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan.  Weeeee!! There has been a lot of build up to today – in fact, I have been thinking about today for the past year.  Last year, I attended the JCI World Congress in Tunisia, Africa.  At the conference, I won the Most Outstanding First Timers Award – apparently I displayed superstar performance for the duration of the conference. :) With the award, I won my registration paid for the 2010 conference in Osaka.  The free registration coupled with funding from JCI Calgary made coming to another congress irresistible!

November 2009 - Awards Ceremony

A few weeks ago I booked the last few details and got all sorted to go – AND now… I am soo excited!! We have 9 members coming from JCI Calgary with a total of 23 members from JCI Canada. 12,000+ people are expected at the conference.  I will be gone for a total of 12 days, spending the majority of my time in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.

My “day” actually started on Thursday morning at 7am.  I had zero sleep last night as I had so much to do with uni, work, packing, and an early 5am departure to the Calgary airport.


12 days: 2 full suitcases, a laptop, and a purse

5:15am to 6:45am – This was definitely the most stressful part of my day… I arrived at the United check-in to be greeted by hundreds of people confused over baggage tags.  The staff were less than helpful while everyone scrambled.  Finally someone said “Anyone on the 7am to SFO”… well lookie, we all were!  We were rushed through baggage (without having our bags weighed please note!!) and into the US customs line.  It’s about 6:20am now and the line is 1.5 hours line.  They make us wait in it for 20 mins before pulling us out and moving us to the front of customs.  We get through customs to wait in the security line – of which, we wait, we wait, we wait, and finally at 6:50am, we arrive at our gate.  5 minutes before the plane pushes back.  They advise the whack of us that our bags might not meet us at our destination.

6:55am – My flight left Calgary for San Francisco – and I slept the entire flight… I was upgraded to an “Economy Plus” due to no availability in Economy… shame. :)

9:30am – I arrived in San Francisco for a three hour layover.  I had scheduled lots of time on my layover knowing that 1) I was flying United, and 2) I wanted my bags to arrive in Tokyo.  The morning was spent using Wi-Fi and working on homework.

12:15pm – I relocate over to my gate to wait for the boarding call… AND then…

12:29pm – I received an email from KPMG indicating that I had won their “What Makes a Top Employer” contest!!! As I’m trying not to shriek in the airport, I’m [kind of] delighted to hear that… [separate blog post to come on Top Employer results] ……………

12:30pm – We get the boarding call for the flight to Tokyo… AND we’re delayed! Typhoon Chaba is roaming on the east coast waters of Japan and for now we’re going no where.  We we’re supposed to depart at 1:10pm, and they have delayed us until at least 3:20pm.

It’s now 2:30pm and United has advise that we should be boarding soon.  I am giddy with excitement over winning the contest and completely distracted from working on my “Strategic Transformation” project for Policy & Strategy class.  Once I get on the plane, the journey to Narita Airport in Tokyo takes about 10 hours.  Erik is supposed to be meeting me around 4:30pm Japan Time… but uh now I’m behind.  Hopefully he waits for me!!

Tonight will be exhausting – but Erik & I plan to meet up with Marta for dinner.  Marta is from JCI Poland and an absolutely fabulous gal I met at JCI World Congress last year.  If all goes as planned, we’re all in Tokyo seeing the sights for the next few days, then will relocate to Osaka on Monday for the conference.

Today’s blog post was rather chronological, but I promise posts to come will be very exciting!

With love, XO.

PS – Eeeeeek I WON!!! :D