The Gift of Fear

Last night was an adventure. Sloane, my 14-year-old sister left me a note in my backpack saying that every day was going to be an adventure in itself. Well, she is wise beyond her years, because I am finding this to be very true. My flight to Lima was without difficulties. In fact, I had the whole row to myself, meaning I actually got some decent sleep. This proved to be very convenient, as Lima´s airport was a nightmare. I was rushed through security, which I was not expecting because this was not the case in San Salvador. I was harassed for documents, and in very frantic Spanish, I insisted that Peru was not my final destination.
Finally, after a bit of chaos and confusion, I was put through connecting international flights.
While waiting, a gate change was announced for Bolivia. I looked at the screen, but the number next to my flight’s gate had not changed. In Spanish, I asked my neighbor if it was our gate that had changed, and she told me it was for Santa Cruz -a different city in Bolivia. Right as I was about to say thank you, I was interrupted by the man across the aisle from us who translated what the lady just told me to English. So as not to be rude, I just said thank you. (But um… Yeah, I got it, dude.)
He replied, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to discourage you from speaking Spanish, I just noticed you’re not from around here… Where are you headed?”
“La Paz.”
“Oh yeah? Me too! Where are you from?”
Seeing as how this is a pretty common question asked in airports, I gave him an answer… “California”
“I’m from there too! What part?”
Now, this is where I decided to judge him, and hard judgment. While I tried to put aside the vibe I was getting, and the fact that this man looked like the dude from “Lovely Bones” in order to be “polite,” my intuition said no. I owe this man nothing. But I thought if maybe I gave him one more really general answer, he would drop the subject, and not ask me any more questions. So I said, “The bay area.”
Of course not; this only encouraged him further. “I have a house in Rohnert Park. I probably know exactly where. Which city?”
“Ew, Bye.” -me
Just kidding. I wish I was that sassy. However, I did end up talking in circles and saying, “Actually, it’s closer to Sacramento,” and somehow I managed to change the subject around on him (I really am a class A bullshitter.) I asked why he was going to La Paz. What he told me was that he had family there. He then began asking questions that were way too specific. Questions that I am not naive enough to entertain. “Where exactly are you staying? Do you know anyone here?…etc.”
“I don’t know. Yes. Go away.” I am ever so thankful that my dad had me read “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker before I left. I was fully aware of all the signs.
Luckily, boarding had started, and he lost sight of me.
The lady I sat next to on the plane was my guardian angel, I swear. She was traveling back to La Paz with her husband, and three children, and was more than happy to speak Spanish with me. During that hour, she basically adopted me and gave me consejos for days.
By the end of the flight, I knew the answers to everything I was semi-worried about, and she said she would help me get a taxi, and make sure the driver knew where to go.
While talking to migrations, shady from earlier was next in line, behind me. He started hollering at me WHILE I AM TRYING TO TALK TO MIGRATIONS. “Hey, bay area girl!” I ignored him, as I finished and started walking away, I heard him tell someone, “She’ll be back.”
I hurried to Vicky, mi angel as she and her family were waiting for their luggage. Shady approached us and began telling me that he thinks it’s dangerous for me to be out at this time (it was one in the morning) and by myself.
“Let me give you a ride.” (I apologize in advance for the language, Grandma) but FUCK NO!
Vicky saw the situation, and quickly jumped in, “Soy la tia de ella. Voy a darle un aventon.” Oh, the relief… She didn’t trust him either she whispered as he walked away and started helping another solo female traveler with her luggage.
I shudder.
So not only did this beautiful woman sent from God help me practice my Spanish, deter a weirdo, and give me great advice, but she also ended up riding with me to the hostel, paying for the taxi, and she gave me her number and said to call for ANYTHING I need.
I owe this lady and her family a lot. I pray that God blesses them just as he blessed me with her.

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