Last week’s winds and heavy snow didn’t leave the country indifferent. Many people were left stranded far from home, others missed trips they had dreamed about for months… I fought.
On Friday, the whole world seemed to have stopped. The words “cancelled” and “closed” appeared everywhere. People with suitcases looked frantically at closed doors as if the ice, winds or what ever it was, would magically disappear.
I had to catch a flight that day, but I had gone to sleep at peace after checking that everything was fine. I woke up at 7 am that day to the news that my train had been cancelled. I had to get from Bournemouth to Stansted Airport and there were no buses, no taxis and no trains that would take me. For a second, I even considered walking there. At that moment, heart shrunk and stomach clenched, I decided to go to the train station anyway.
I have to explain why it was so important for me to get to the airport. That weekend was my mother’s birthday and me and my sister had been planning a surprise visit for months. Days before, I had texted her asking if she was excited for her birthday, she replied “If both of you came, I would be.” I hadn’t seen her in months and I couldn’t bare the thought of telling her that we wanted to surprise her but it had been ruined.
I thought getting to Gran Canaria was impossible, but getting down my house’s icy stairs seemed even harder. I walked as I could through the empty streets, envying those who observed the white landscape through their windows. But when I got to the station, it was closed.
I called my father and his voice cracked as he told me to go home.
I was going to meet my sister at Winchester, so I called her and made her go to Winchester train station in her pyjamas. She asked if trains were functioning and they said yes. She called me and told me to run for my life and get a taxi to Winchester.
There were literally two taxis working in Bournemouth, and ten minutes later, I managed to share one with a girl that was going to Charminster. I swear this girl lived right at the end of Bournemouth’s steepest road, and the car finally gave up. The driver told us told us to get out quickly, and so we did. His friend helped push the car to turn around and just as I was getting in, my feet slipped. My fingers were buried in the ice and like a penguin, I managed to climb back into the car.
My positivity level was about 20% before I fell, but as I sat on my hands to feel my fingers again, it hit 5%.
Before heading to Winchester the taxi driver wanted cash up front, but I didn’t have enough money in my bank account. After the crazy morning I’d had, I just needed one more problem to explode. After a heated argument, I ended withdrawing money from my Spanish account whilst crying my heart out. The people around me must have thought the taxi driver was kidnapping me. I think I traumatized him because he spent the whole journey apologizing.
I arrived at the station three minutes before the train left. My sister and I screamed, hugged each other and printed the train tickets at the same time and ran for our lives.
I managed to eat something for the first time that day at 11am. When my father read the message “we’re in the train”, he could breathe again. My body was in tension though the major obstacle had been overcome, and it stayed like this until I reached the island.
The flight was accompanied by turbulence. Clearly the storm had no consideration for my state after the odyssey. Every small problem after the first train had felt like climbing a mountain, but I kept going even though I didn’t believe I would actually arrive home.
When my feet stepped on Canarian ground, I exploded with joy. I spoke extremely fast, moved frantically and hugged and kissed everyone.
It was a feeling of triumph I had never experienced. I kept going back to the moment were my faith had crumbled. I had imagined my day ending with me alone in Bournemouth, staring at the snow with impotence and melancholy. And there I was, surrounded by my family after the worst day of my life.
It made me reflect on other things too: how self-doubt ruled my life, how I never imagine myself succeeding. Theories like The Secret tell us that visualizing is key, yet I had never visualized such a dark ending to my day. What was the key to success then? To keep going.
Even when your fingers are frozen, taxi drivers don’t trust you and you keep looking at your watch thinking you’re not getting there on time, you have to keep going.
Storm Emma and the Beast from the East taught me a lesson: you are stronger than you think we are. You can face your fears, you just can’t give up.