After a glorious month in the Philippines, I headed to the Cebu airport at 5am to catch my flight to Kuala Lumpur.

The day went all downhill from there.

When I got to the ticket counter, the agent asked how long I was planning on staying in Malaysia.

“I’m not sure yet…. at least 44 days, but maybe the full 90?”

He asked for my onward ticket (flight out of the country) and I explained to him I hadn’t bought one yet as US citizens don’t need a flight out before entering Malaysia. I showed him the US Department of State’s website as well as the Malaysian website, trying to explain the rules are different for citizens of each country. With no progress being made, my flight leaving in 30 minutes, and him saying he would not allow me on the flight without an onward ticket, I booked a random flight through Expedia with a free 24 hour cancellation policy. I made it onto the flight, tired and less than happy.

Upon arrival in the KL airport, I stopped by the Hotlinks counter within the terminal to purchase a SIM card and data package. Their smallest data package was 35GB! I barely go through 1GB in a month. With a price of $12, I merrily went on my way to baggage claim and customs. As expected, the Malaysian customs didn’t ask for an onward ticket. They didn’t even ask where I was staying or how long I was planning to stay in their country for. The customs agent literally took my passport, stamped it, and said thanks.

After grabbing my backpack and heading for the scanning/x-ray part of customs, I realized the weight on my back was lighter than usual.

No… no… no, no, no, no. I couldn’t have. Did I?! 

When I was buying my SIM card, I had set my stuff, including my laptop, down by my feet. I had also set my stuff down when waiting at baggage claim. So sometime between the SIM card and then, my laptop was gone.

After explaining to a customs agent my situation, they allowed me to go back through customs and check at the Hotlinks counter. No sign of my laptop. I went back to baggage claim and again, no sign of my laptop. I checked with the airlines lost and found. Nothing. I made my way to the airport lost and found. Nothing. I filed a claim with them – wrote what happened and my contact information down in a notebook.

Disheartened and frustrated with myself for being so careless, I abandoned the budget-friendly hour and a half train ride and instead called an Uber to take me to my hostel.

After getting checked in, it all hit me. If my laptop wasn’t turned in within an hour, the chances of it ever being turned in were slim to none. My pictures and videos weren’t backed up as I was planning on Barb bringing out my external hard drive. I had just bought the laptop one year ago to the day. All my travel notes and charts were gone. Purchasing a new laptop would be a big unexpected expense out of my travel fund. My cold was getting worse as it had turned into a deep, scratchy cough. I laid in bed and replayed that morning over and over in my head.

Sometime that evening, I noticed one of the bites on my body was swelling and hot to touch (Back story – I got 17 bites on my body during my two and a half days in Siquijor). When I looked in the mirror, the bite area had swollen to the size of a softball.

I can’t catch a break. Today is just not my day!

I went to the pharmacy and was prescribed Clariton. I headed back to my hostel that I booked using Hostelworld and was so mad at myself that I literally cried myself to sleep that night. Just an awful day.

While still disappointed in myself but starting to come to terms with the situation the next morning, I headed back to the airport for one more check before buying a laptop online while it was still Black Friday in the States. After checking on her computer for ten minutes, the elderly lady working the airport Lost and Found admitted she didn’t really know what she was looking for.

“You can look through these pictures of things we found yesterday though.”

After scrolling through pictures of purses, watches, and clothing, out popped a picture of my laptop!!!!!!!

“This! This is my mine!  This is my laptop!!!!  This is what I’m looking for! It’s here?! Oh my gosh!”

The lady smiled politely and went into the back to find it.

When she brought it out to me, my smile was bigger than any time I was on a scooter, and again I shed some tears.

When did I turn so emotional?! I don’t even care. My laptop is back!!!!! God is good!

I wanted to hug the elderly lady, but I wasn’t sure if that was acceptable in their culture. I have no idea who turned it in or where they found it, but I hope the person wins the lottery or a new car or something because they have loads of good karma coming their way.

After locking up my laptop in my hostel locker, I headed to the mall to buy an external hard drive. That afternoon, I gleefully backed up all of my files. I chalked the day up to a win even with the bite swollen to more than half my bicep and began researching things to do while in Malaysia. Saturday evening, I met the owner of the dogs that I will be Petsitting for happy hour at Heli Lounge Bar, a functional heli-pad in the day and converted to a lounge with fantastic views of the city at night.

Sunday was spent in bed at the hostel all day as I fight to get over this cold and regain my energy level. But I don’t even care because my laptop is back!!!!!!