Detachment—Landing in Guatemala

Detachment—Landing in Guatemala

“Have her think of all that she has created and send it love and gratitude for the purpose it served and if it is not finished its mission in her life may it be safely returned.  An attitude of detachment gets things coming back quickly.” – Minista Jazz

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I was pushing my face against the window on the plane, taking pictures, a little queazy from a small bit of turbulence earlier in the flight from Houston to Guatemala city.

Our flight had been delayed by a day due to some weather in Toronto, and I was grateful to be flying in the daylight, on a clear day.

While focused on the ground and the grid patterns of communities and rolling hills and lakes, the plane suddenly lurched up on my side, banking around quite quickly. The sudden change sent my stomach fluttering so I reached for the air-sick bag – just in time to hand it to my daughter next to me before she sent her lunch down the isle.

IMG_7257I was eternally grateful that there were three bags available, because that is how many we needed by the time the flight landed. The captain announced that we had come to close to another plane and had to maneuver quickly to bank around for another approach.

IMG_7269We waited on the plane until everyone else was off, to let the flight attendants know that there was some cleanup, and to give Tina some time to gather her wits before continuing on to the baggage area. One flight attendant suggested we get a wheelchair to make her journey through the airport security and customs more swift – as a security guard will push us through. True to his word – we were ushered through customs with a wave, our passports stamped without a word. We bi-passed the line-ups and crowded lobby, taking the staff route straight to the baggage claim.

My checked bag was practically sitting in front of the baggage desk, as the carousel  offered up a few lonely looking orphaned suitcases, all tilted at odd angles like they may fall over at any time. Tina’s bag was nowhere in site. In my near non-existent Spanish, I told the fellow at the baggage claim that one bag was missing. and he pulled out a white claim ticket, asking for my passport and claim tags. The already somber Tina was mortified that her bag wasn’t there, but hadn’t quite grasped that it may not have made it from Houston.

On hearing there was another flight coming in from Houston in an hour and a half – we left the secure airport area to find a seat in a small cafeteria. Tina watched our bags while I wandered through the crowd outside at the pickup area until I found our host Robert. We drank water and gatorade while awaiting the arrival of the next flight, however when it came time to check again for the bag, I could not get past security. Eventually, with a some creative posturing and sign language, the guard understood my purpose and sent me upstairs to the United Airlines office to get permission to look for my bag.

The office was empty, so I went to the ticket counter, where they sent me to yet another office, again, empty. Back to the ticket counter they did a trace on my bag, only to find it had not arrived.

Still excited to be in Guatemala, the three of us climbed into the private shuttle for the two hour ride to the lake.

After being at the lake for 4 days – with still no word of the luggage, I started filling in the lost luggage claim form, where they want a detailed description of every item in the bag. This process brought Tina to tears as she had several irreplaceable personal articles like hand-drawn sketches and a hand-written story, her great-grandmother’s jewelry and her custom-orthotic sandals.

The $1500 price tag that ended up being the accumulated total for all the things in the bag, didn’t come close to the sentimental value of the contents and Tina welled up in tears, angry and frustrated that her creative work was lost. My attempts to lighten the situation were not greeted openly, they only served to frustrate her further.

I consulted with a fabulous friend of mine who always has the right words to deal with these situations and she suggested that I “have her think of all that she has created and send it love and gratitude for the purpose it served and if it is not finished its mission in her life may it be safely returned.  An attitude of detachment gets things coming back quickly.” Knowing Tina wasn’t quite ready to hear it – I decided to detach myself.

We were sitting at Helmut’s restaurant when Robert got the call, exactly one week after landing in Guatemala – our bag was found, the fellow on the phone was standing right next to it, and would ship it to Panajachel overnight to arrive in the morning. The relief and excitement was palpable. Several of the diners at the restaurant were sharing the celebration – everyone was thrilled for us.

The sun is just coming up on the lake to the sound of Roosters and dogs as I write this. We will be on the first boat to Panajachel! Ok, maybe the second boat…

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. WoW! Sounds like you two are having a great adventure though it may be a little one sided. Tell poor “Tina” that the more you fight at what the world throws at you, the more it will send your way. Take it all in stride, much like clambering over the rocks at the beach.They are there to surround the spans of sand, making each unique onto itself.
    I look at each day as a new “adventure” and hope they never stop!
    Love Mary

  2. Glad that you chose to detach for Tiana. Sometimes that is all one needs.

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