Washington DC – Day 1 (May 24, 2005)

So, how did I end up here in Washington DC exactly? To answer that question, let’s travel back in time to Day 1, which is May 24, 2005.

The day had finally arrived. I woke up early morning and made final preparation for my departure to Washington DC later that afternoon. My roommate, Ading, would accompany me to Lambert Airport. It so happened (as I planned) that my flight would be scheduled on the same day as Ading’s mother. She would fly back to Jakarta after spending about a month in St. Louis. I bought my ticket to coincide with her flight so Ading could take time off from his job on that day only. I brought two big pieces of luggage, one duffel bag, and one folio bag. Ading’s mother had boarded the plane two hours before I would board mine. I was anxious, and I didn’t know what to expect when I’d arrived in DC. My internship hadn’t been confirmed yet, and I hadn’t secured a place to stay on a more permanent basis. My stomach felt twenty pounds lighter every time I thought about it.

The flight number was Northwest Airlines (NWA) 1589 with a transfer in Memphis to NWA 0955. I boarded at half-hour to noon and arrived seven hours later at DC’s Ronald Reagan Airport. The weather wasn’t helping, it was drizzling, and I wasn’t familiar with the Airport’s layout. My friend from college, Salman, kindly offered his place for me to stay temporarily. But first, I had to find a way to the Metro (subway) station where he had waited for me. My bags weren’t helping either.

It was probably because I was tired of hauling the bags from terminal B to terminal A. It didn’t occur to me at that time to transport them via elevator from terminal A’s 2nd floor to its 1st. Instead, I used the escalator, and one of them fell, grinding through! I was flabbergasted and couldn’t bring myself to yell a warning to the person down the escalator. Thank God he was alert and hurried down to avoid his impending doom. He stepped aside from the escalator, and my luggage just slid through before it stopped seven feet away from him. Thanks to his quick reaction, a disaster had been avoided. I apologized to him, and shortly after, police on a bicycle arrived. He understood the situation immediately after seeing me with three other bags coming down from the escalator. I took my bag and continued walking to the Metro station amid surprised looks from passersby and passengers eating at the restaurant opposite the escalator. Man, I was so embarrassed.

I finally met Salman and we rode the Metro to his place.

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