As I write this blog I am sitting on the airplane. It’s almost 10 p.m. (New Jersey time) and 4 a.m. (Paris time). In four hours I will arrive in Paris and then get a connecting flight to Valencia where I will finally arrive at noon and embrace my host family.
Today has been one of the craziest days of my entire life…
At 7a.m. I woke up, took a shower, and got dressed. Then I woke up all the girls by playing “Some Nights” by Fun. and kept it on replay as we got ready. Mom got Don’s Bagels for us, and I forced food down my throat even though I was too nervous to feel the slightest hunger. At 9:15 we took our final group shots together and the tears began to fall. I could never put into words how much I love and each and every one of my friends. Thinking that I won’t be there with them for Christmas, birthdays, prom, and every other night of the week seems impossible. I’ll be back next week right? (I’m just kidding Uncle Jack I would never break our pinky promise) But still. Those last hugs will never sustain me an entire year. I’m just going to have to face the homesickness and get over it.
Next came the Philadelphia Airport… Now, I’m going to do my best not to complain, but I hope you can sympathize with how I already felt after saying goodbye to everything I’ve ever known. Almost everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. I say almost because… well… let me just explain the whole experience…
When I was checking in my luggage the woman didn’t understand why my visa is going to expire in 3 months to we were sent to “Special Services”. There, I checked my bags where the man asked me to pay the $100 dollar fee for my second piece of luggage. The problem was, I had already paid for it last night online and didn’t print the receipt. Thankfully, it all worked out and he found on his computer that I had indeed paid the fee.
Going through security I dropped my 40-pound carry-on bag on a man’s foot and he freaked out. His reaction was unnecessary but after apologizing once I refused to be embarrassed or let it get to me.
I made it to my departure gate and sat there for an hour and a half because of rain delays. When we finally boarded the plan we sat for another 30 minutes and then pulled out onto the runway. At that point all flights leaving Philadelphia were stopped because of the weather. We sat on the runway for over an hour and then had to head back to our gate to refuel before actually taking off. Once again I remained patient. Then, the flight attendants notified us that we needed to deplane (which means we all had to get off) and could wait for this plane to leave at a later time or book a new flight. Babies were crying, people were frustrated, and I began to realize what an interesting experience this was going to turn into.
I was so polite (and stupid) that I let the impatient passengers exit and clear the aisle before I tried to squeeze out. That landed me a spot at the very end of the line to rebook flights. I have to tell you, I was really praying for a positive and calm attitude at this point. I knew I would eventually get to Dénia, but I just didn’t know how.
At 4:30 I made it up to the desk where the woman instructed me to get back on the same plane and go to JFK airport where I could find a later connecting flight to Paris and not even miss my third flight to Valencia. As I was walking down the tunnel to board the plane, the flight was cancelled. Yeah… For Real… Are you sympathizing with me yet!?!?
This time I ran back to the desk (I learned my lesson the first time). An extremely rude family cut in front of me but I took a deep breath and remember that I would eventually get my turn, and it wasn’t a big deal. Finally, the Delta employee found me a flight leaving from Philly at 6:30 that would take me directly to Paris where I would still be early to catch my final flight to Valencia. I was greatly appreciative for her help, but I was tired, hungry, had to pee, and it felt like knives were stabbing my feet. (Claire you were right, I should have worn sneakers or something closed toed) I managed to run over my toes and drop my bag a few times. Two young German guys were clearly checking me out and giving me the once-over several times on the escalator but I laughed because they must not have high standards. To be honest, I looked like a mess at that point so I don’t know what they were looking at.
I made my way from Delta gate D8 all the way to US Airways terminal A-22. That probably means nothing to you, but I walked over a mile to get there. Thank God for Chick-Fil-A because I really needed to sit down and refuel my achy body. I was sick of the airport and after eight hours, I never thought I’d breath fresh air again.
Finally at 6(after two more rain delays) I got on an airplane! WOOHOOOO!!!
We left at 6:40 and I’m sitting next to a sweet French boy. We didn’t talk much because of his broken English, but we exchanged names, and I gave him a piece of gum to help his ears adjust to the air pressure change. At least I broke the ice so all 8 hours wouldn’t be completely awkward.
We were both watching movies when I realized that the flight attendants were collecting everyone’s trash from dinner. The dinner that my partner and I had never received.
I mean seriously!? What is up with all of this!? God, if this is your first lesson for me then okay! I got it! I’m being kind and patient and laughing off the frustration as it hits me. But how many tests must I pass before you chill out and let me have a break? I’m tired and really just want to lay in a big bed where I can stretch freely and rest. Please God, no more lessons for today. Every part of me is drained and exhausted…
On the bright side I’m really proud of myself for staying calm and knowing that everything was in God’s hands. I didn’t get lost at all (even during the mile walk), made new friends with lots of interesting people, and became comfortable with being in an airport. Seriously, after my Chick-Fil-A-Food-Boost I felt refreshed and walked to my gate with more confidence. My back may be broken in a few places, but other than that I’m building sick muscles from lugging around 60 pounds of luggage with me everywhere I go… including the bathroom stall… Hhahah
I already feel more like an adult. It’s kinda cool.
It’s not eleven O’clock and we will land in three hours in Paris. I’m praying for no more difficulties and maybe a blink of sleep. I apologize for the long blog, but I really needed to vent about all of today’s incidents.
Philadelphia aiport, Mr. Naphas was right… You win the award for being the worst!
I made it to Denia!! I only slept for an hour on the plan ride to Paris, so I was super exhausted. In Paris I had to go through security again and they took everything out of my carry on because apparently something looked suspicious in the scanner. The next plane to Valencia was much smaller and my carryon suitcase wouldn’t fit in the overhead bin. The flight attendant freaked out on me because apparently “I should have known not to pack so much!” like are you serious lady!?! I wanted to cry. I was so embarrassed.
At noon we landed in Valencia and OF COURSE my luggage didn’t arrive. For all we know it could still be in New York or Paris. My host dad was really positive and kept reassuring me that everything would be okay and I had nothing to worry about, but I couldn’t help but feel terrible.
We drove home to Denia, ate lasagna for lunch, and I went to bed. The house is BEAUTIFUL! It’s much smaller than my house in Pitman, but way nicer. I’ll upload pictures later. Yaco, the dog, is so docile and lovable. He has a loud bark, but I love it because it reminds me of Bell.
Hopefully my luggage with arrive tomorrow or I will have to wait until Sunday. It’s been a long 48 hours…