I call my grandmother “Abuela.”
Abuela is a naturally disorganized and well-groomed woman. She is not inclined to go on spontaneous adventures or travel often. She prefers to stay where she is familiar with her location and daily schedule. She used a folding phone all her life until last summer, until she decided to buy a Samsung phone.
Last year, I was preparing for the annual Rites of Passage event, sponsored by Jack and Jill of America Inc., which recognizes African American youth leaders.
I invited my Abuel, hoping for her presence, but I didn’t expect her to show up, knowing how excited she was to travel. I was thrilled when she told me she was coming!
She had quite a trip. Abuela had never flown alone before. The last time she flew at all was ten years ago.
She first had to apply to get a TSA account and find out what the baggage rules were. A few months before departure, Abuela measured her luggage and weighed her suitcase to confirm that it met the proper requirements.
Abuela’s experience at O’Hare Airport in Chicago was, to put it mildly, stressful. She arrived at the airport at 6am “It was packed! There were long queues everywhere. Where was I supposed to go? ”
Confused, she began to show the staff her phone, desperately asking for help. Eventually, Abuela got to the TSA checkpoint.
Abuela underwent two knee surgeries, so safety was not what she expected. One employee asked her to leave the queue for another because of the metal in her legs.
“Just leave your wallet here,” he said. Abuela thought, “Are you crazy? What if my wallet is stolen? ” She brought her bag and went through the metal detector.
Going through the guards to find the right gate for his flight, Abuela just “just followed the crowd”.
Abuela had a safe flight from Chicago to Philadelphia, where it was easier for her to navigate at the airport. “Signs at Philadelphia Airport are much easier,” she said.
After the flight from Abuela, they paid more than $ 35 for extra luggage, despite the fact that she did not have it. She needed to see someone in Terminal 1 to challenge this. Abuela turned over her shoulder to the nearest man to point. “Where’s Terminal 1?” “You’re here,” the man replied.
After working it out, she reached ground level and easily contacted Uber, she said. I never thought I would hear this from Abuela.
She got to this event and I was so excited to see her after staying together for so long.
“I did it because it was important to Elizabeth. I kept telling myself that “I want to do it for her,” she said later. “I thought I would end up in China or Europe, but I succeeded.”
Abuela has a message she wants to share with the audience: “Regardless of age or anxiety, you can still do anything if you come up with something. How should people of my generation know how to do it? They left us in the cold. We didn’t have access to such technologies in the growing world. “
Abuela decided to bite the bullet and for the first time, despite her fears, travel alone. I love you, Abuela!
Elizabeth Carroll is a high school senior at Central Bucks West. She is interested in poetry, painting and photography, and writes on controversial topics.