Kuala Lumpur, Rain Checked
Sometimes things go wrong. Like really wrong.
Take last night, for example. My sister and I had been planning on going to Kuala Lumpur over winter break for months. Our accomodations were set, our plans were in motion, and all we had to do was get there. So of course, the one thing that would have thrown off our whole trip had to happen.
We arrived at Haneda Airport at 9:30pm, leaving plenty of time to check-in for out 11:45pm flight. By the time we got to Air Asia's counter, however, there was already a formidable line at least 100 people deep. As we queued up, I decided to try checking in online since we both only had carry-ons, but an error message popped up, and the website prompted us to stay in line and check-in at the counter.
I'm sure you already know where this is going.
When we finally reached the front and handed over our passports, that's when the trouble started. My sister and I got our passports at the same time in 2012 for a trip to Japan we took after my high school graduation. At the time, I was 18 and she was 15, and though I can't say for other countries, the way American passports work is that when you're over 15, your passport is good for ten years, but when you're 15 and under, you need to renew it every 5 years - for the sake of matching your picture, I imagine. And while her passport wasn't expired (she did make it into Japan, after all), it was set to expire in May of this year. And apparently there are several countries that require American citizens to have passports that are valid for more than six months in order to even enter the country. And because Air Asia is a low cost carrier, the flights couldn't be refunded.
So where did that leave us?
After an initial five minutes or so of shock, disbelief, and general anger at the situation, we decided to check to see if any flights to other countries were flying standby, and while we could have gone to Korea, we ended up deciding to just come back to my little sleepy village for a few days. Which brings us to where we are now, sitting in a cafe in Osaka Station, waiting for the bus to make the final leg of the journey back to my house.
If this had been a situation where this was a solo trip, I 100% would have hopped on another plane to a different destination. But sometimes, who you're with is more important than where you're going. I hate to get all sappy, but my little sister is my other half - we're polar opposites and yet exactly the same. She's the moon to my sun, the yin to my yang; the calm, cool, balancing force that pulls me back to reality when I get to be a little too much. And because of college and conflicting schedules and getting older, we haven't really been able to be together as much as we'd have liked these last five years. Chilling at home together like the "good old days" didn't sound too bad.
So although I woudn't quite call this a blessing in disguise, it wasn't a total loss either. I get to spend time with my best friend, show her my new home, and actually relax during break before school starts up next week again. Kuala Lumpur will always be there.