When I got back to Pennsylvania the only page that I was on was to get back my luggage from American Airlines.  I had a few friends ask me why I wasn’t fighting for more compensation or why I wasn’t more upset than I was, however, my outlook on things like this is different than most.  Yes, I was really mad, upset, and very frustrated, but I also realize that this luggage is a thing.  It is not a person, it is not a dynamic being.  I’m not going to dedicate my life to looking for it day in and day out when at the end of the day it is still just things in a thing.  

Luckily after all of my phone calls and all of my frustrations, it was rightfully returned to me in one piece with all of the things inside.  I had a joyous feeling when I went to pick it up, and I am just so happy that I don’t have to continue to replace the things that were missing from me for so long.  Situations like this really make you reevaluate how you travel and what you bring on a flight.  Let me explain. 

This was the FIRST time in all of my travels that I have used a checked bag, and it will probably be my last unless it is a direct flight to my destination.  It is funny to me that of all times this would happen, but then again that is my luck.  I tell people my story and they always say, “This is the worst baggage story I have ever heard besides someone actually stealing the luggage.”  Tell me about it!

I am, however, good with rolling with the punches.  I only cried twice throughout the whole situation and only once in public out of pure frustration to which the older woman at the desk reassured me, “I know it will be found, don’t cry.”  As most of you know, I am not someone that gets overly mad about things, nor am I one to complain unless it is something bad, so for me to go to an airport and spend two hours with no real progress and call 5 times in one day.  Maybe sometimes I’m too good at rolling with the punches.  Maybe by that time I should have brought out my mean pants and had someone hold my hoop earrings while I went in to fight the good fight.  Nevertheless I realize that my luggage is material possessions.  Material possessions that I am blessed to be able to buy.  

The part that also makes this story just so dang interesting is the fact that this luggage saw 5 different states and 4 different time zones.  That is more than I saw on my own trip!  When my bag was finally located wherever they found it (if only this bag could speak to me and tell me the story), it was sent from LAX to San Fran then to Charlotte, NC then to Pittsburgh.  When I heard it was coming to Pittsburgh, I called luggage services there and told them I would be picking it up once we got confirmation it made it onto the flight to Pittsburgh.  Because of my luck this far, we know that it couldn’t be just that simple.  It was supposed to arrive at 11:34pm which was perfect because we had gone to the Pirates game.  However, when I looked at the flight at the game to make sure it had taken off it had been delayed by almost 3 hours meaning my bag would not reach Pittsburgh until 2am when baggage services would be closed.  I called again and the man told me he would hold my bag for me and that they opened at 7am.  

Sunday morning I woke up and called baggage services and the man told me that the bag had made it back. I got ready and made it out to the airport, parked in the cell phone lot (which is really far away from the terminal) when to my surprise the shuttle service was going by.  I was able to be picked up and saw my bag sitting there inside the door.  The man was helping another woman and asked me what I needed.  I said I was there to pick up that bag and he just asked me to bring him the tag and what my last name was.  No identification was needed for me to get it…no wonder we have so many problems like this!  I was overjoyed, and snapped a selfie with the bag.  I hopped on the shuttle back to my car and made it back in time for church and then my trip to Chicago.  

Throughout the craziness I reflected on the fact that it could be much worse.  It could have been stolen, things could have been missing, and I could have had a really horrible trip or even worse I could have let myself have a horrible trip because of this fiasco.  I, however, pressed onward and made it an awesome trip and found of some cute clothes in the process.   I replaced my running shoes that are so pertinent to my training these days, and I found comfort in having faith that it would turn up sooner or later.  

It all goes back to the fact that the luggage indeed is just material possessions.  Material possessions that can be replaced.  I am thankful I have things, but I am 308504984 times more thankful that I have my health, great family, and awesome friends.  This matters so much more to me than some piece of luggage.  

And oh yeah, I have started drafting the children’s book Lolita the Little Lost Luggage in LAX.  I’m 8 pages deep now.  You really have to appreciate the fact that I can still have a sense of humor about the whole thing as I still continue to work on reimbursement of the money that I spent and of course the $25 I was charged to check the bag in the first place.  

Appreciate what you have.  Appreciate what your family and friends can offer you.  Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control, and never give up.