I am here…Finally. It was the longest day of travel I have yet to experience! An eight hour over night flight from Chicago to London is daunting. And the turbulence didn’t help my outlook either:(
My flight from Cedar Rapids to Chicago was cake. 25 minutes in the air and I only had to walk from Gate L to Gate H, which for the O’hare airport, is a wonderful. However, I did hit a bump in the road when getting ready to board for my overnight flight. We were delayed due to a….wait for it…..blanket emergency?
Apparently, on international overnight flights, there is a certain international blanket standard that for some reason isn’t the same as America’s domestic flight blankets. It was the craziest reasoning behind a delay that I have heard.
The 8 hour flight itself wasn’t horrible horrible. It was just so long! They were kind enough to show movies and TV shows which was great considering I couldn’t fall asleep with the woman in front of me refusing to believe her chair couldn’t go back any further as she repeatedly beat her whole body against it to prove her point, along with the wonderful phenomena of turbulence.
Arriving at the London Heathrow Airport was a more reasonable, yet still agonizing version of my many horrible nightmares. We landed late because of the blanket conundrum which seemed fine at the time until I had to board a bus that drove entirely around the airport just to get me to my Terminal. Then, me being a first time international traveler, didn’t realize I had to go through security…AGAIN! Then while looking for my gate, I had to go down one escalator, across the lower floor, down another escalator and then try to figure out if 4A was 4Aa or 4Ab. And then… when I expect to see a plane I see yet another bus, that will be escorting us to our plane which we had to climb in like those private jets. I would have felt awesome at the time if I wasn’t a sweaty, hot, anxious mess after running wildly through an international airport.
But in the end, all was well as I landed in Glasgow and was greeted right away by my uhhhh chauffeur? I don’t know what to call the guy who so kindly picked me up from the airport and took me all the way to Stirling, all the while giving me brief and interesting history lessons.
When he dropped me off I was a little nervous because now I wasn’t in a sea of people in the middle of an airport or in the car with my private tour guide, I was standing outside a strange building all alone… with a lot of luggage and no automatic doors.
Luckily some other Foreign Exchange Students (which I will now call FES’s) came to my rescue and helped me find my room. All the Exchange students in my building are pretty much grouped together on the same side of the fourth floor which is nice because I was among people who had also just arrived that day or the day before. It’s nice to know that when you feel like you’re the only one in a sinking boat, there are others trying to fill in the holes as well.
My room is nothing grand, but it works all the same. I hope I am not spending the majority of my time in here… that would be just sad. I was way too excited to take a shower (once I figured out how to turn it on). Unpacking wasn’t so fun considering there isn’t a lot of closet space. But I made it all fit:) The bedding the school provided is nice enough for mass produced linen. I am really hoping my wonderful Mommy can send me a blanket soon or I can buy one a little more comfortable.
All in all, I have survived my first international trek, I have met some very nice FES’s and played a fun game of Cards Against Humanity with some regular students on campus. Although I didn’t get to go out and see the town tonight like I was planning on, I did get to see TWO freaking castles just driving from the airport. Oh, and there is on sitting at the top of a hill a couple hundred yards away from my dorm. NO. BIG. DEAL.
Tomorrow I start Orientation and Wednesday classes begin (even though I have no classes on Wednesday). Wish me luck:)