Gasps shattered the silence of the airport terminal as one of the passengers in the boarding line collapsed face first onto the cold tile floor. Adrenaline. In seconds, I was across the room and already beginning to assess the passenger turned patient for injuries. They were breathing on their own, they weren’t going to bleed out, and they had a weak pulse. Good. No CPR tonight. I’m still not entirely sure how I managed to keep the crowd calm, but whatever it was worked. I didn’t know it until I was on the plane, but the airline upgraded my (exceptionally awful) seat to my own row by an emergency exit. While I settled into my new seat, the flight attendant chuckled, asked if I was capable of assisting in the unlikely event of an emergency, and handed me two small bottles of scotch for the flight. •
It was the end of a two week trip that ended as one of the best I’ve ever taken in my life. I didn’t have a plan besides the two schools I was visiting. I just felt like I should go, and so I stopped asking questions and I went. Every time I took a chance and went out of my comfort zone, I met someone new. Every time I took a chance, the nervousness of doing something new or on my own was dissolved by the almost overwhelming feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be in the world. I usually hate leaving the place I call home. I usually hate leaving my comfort zone. Because of my job, leaving means I don’t always know where I’m going or when I’ll be back. But this time there’s comfort in the knowledge that in 18 months, life is coming off pause and I’ll be returning to the PNW. This time, for good.