Meeting My Birth Father: En Route To St. Lucia

It has been almost two weeks since I left St. Lucia and I still don't have a good summary of the trip. I've been told I am brave for meeting my father. I don't feel brave in this endeavor but perhaps it is true. This trip has been a psychological roller coaster. Every day I learned something new that I either hated or liked. I stepped into St. Lucia with open-mindedness allowing myself to be as physically and mentally present as possible. I gave each situation a benefit-of-a-doubt otherwise I would have left the island embittered and disappointed.

I gained four pounds from the trip…sigh.

It began like any trip would. I started with a plane ticket, a suitcase and a car ride to an airport five hours away from home.

Eric, my partner of nearly seven years, planned a trip to Tucson for the days I would be gone. We both had separate, warmer places to be. His week was spent in relaxation whereas mine was a mix of comfort and stress. I kept my expectations as low as possible for the meeting that was fast approaching–It was Thursday November eleven two-thousand and ten.

Eric had reserved a hotel for the night as his flight was scheduled for the following morning. It was three in the afternoon and I had an hour of time to make sure I was prepared for the day-long journey.

My flight would take me from Minneapolis to Chicago, Miami then St. Lucia. The flight to Chicago and Miami was predictably dull. I took some photographs of the city lights to keep myself distracted and slept through most of the way to Miami. I don't enjoy the act of flying. The idea of a chunk of metal that soared through the heavens unsettled me.

The layover at Miami was a short one hour affair. I found a random clothes hanger underneath one of the chairs. I don't know if that qualifies as a weapon.

I saw a lot of folks with big sunglasses and relaxed demeanors. The airport was warm and I felt the heavy humidity of the city from inside the air-conditioned airport.

A song by Will Smith was playing in my head…Welcome To Miami.

It was Friday November twelve and the time was ten in the morning.

I boarded the plane and bid the sprawling metropolis of Miami farewell. The flight was my favorite of all plane trips. The airplane was not very packed and I had my row to myself.

The ocean was beautiful! I spent the next four hours photographing as much as possible through the scratched up window.

The flight attendants were curious about what I was photographing and chatted with me. I told them I like to take photographs. They asked what I was heading to St. Lucia for and I told them I was meeting my father. One sat next to me and had a chat about someone else that had met their birth parent. It was nice to share the experience. Their encouragement helped me relieve the anxiety I felt.

I finished filling out a required document, with a borrowed pen from a vacationing couple, for international travelers and waited for the plane to begin its descent. I was on the opposite side of the plane so I was unable to see much the island. I could see the Piton mountains across the aisle.

The plane safely landed at Hewanorra Airport and I stepped down the exit stairs onto the runway making my way towards the gate. It is nice to be on solid ground.

I entered the airport, washed up a bit and waited in the long line designated for visitors. I met an adorable couple from Philadelphia visiting on vacation. We chatted for a bit while we stood in line. I didn't mind the wait as I was in no hurry. The hot, humid heat felt good. After awhile, I wished I carried less equipment as my camera bag was getting heavier as time passed. I survived the hour and a half wait and got my passport stamped. Free to roam, the next order of business was meeting my father.

Well, I'll stop at this point and save the rest for later–stay tuned friends.