Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 1 of Many

I have some time to kill in the Philadelphia airport. Time for a serious end of packing recap.

There are very few times when I am so stressed that I can not sleep. As one who has comfortably slept til 3pm during various school vacations, it isn't normal when I go to bed with a frenzied mind and wake up at 6am frantically trying to complete every task at once. But the last two days have been just that. Although I've been packing (honestly, more like trying to pack) for at least a week, there still remained a seemingly insurmountable wall of stuff between me my plane out of Boston Logan. It all seemed critically important, just as avoiding extra baggage fees was also critical. It was a battle, and I'm not sure I was winning.

Add to that the fact that my visa was scheduled to arrive at 8am this morning (and my first flight was 3:30 in the afternoon) I was mentally preparing myself for missing my flight and promptly throwing myself off the bridge outside my brothers apartment. Ok not really, and it's a low bridge anyway. The visa did arrive when my wonderful travel agent Anna Zaitsyeva said it would, but tracking my passport from Atlanta, to Tennessee, to Washington, to Boston, was almost a little too much to bare. The point is I was freaking out, to the point where I had to recruit my brothers' assistance after a long work day yesterday to shuttle me around to get last minute supplies, such as a rain coat, a plug adapter (for the second time, of course I bought one already and foolishly left it in my mothers' car), and some standard American whiskey.

Speaking of whiskey, that stuff really weighs down a suitcase! Despite eliminating about half the clothes I planned on bringing, I'm still too heavy to fly economy on European airlines (American based airlines seem to understand that we need more stuff, or maybe Americans just think they need more stuff... either way) but somehow I managed to fit everything I needed and a bit more into 3 bags, probably totaling nearly 100 lbs of my American life. It actually isn't that much stuff compared to what we all have lying around the house, but when I plodded out onto the street where I was greeted by my Dominican taxi driver, I felt a little self conscious. A similar embarrassment overcame me when my belongings stretched wider than my wingspan on the TSA conveyor belt.

But I made it, and my 50lbs bag avoided an extra charge at good ol' Logan. And as I waited outside the gate for my flight to Philadelphia, I was sitting between a man with a Russian passport and another chatting on the phone with his family in German. I was happy that I was able to understand the one sided German conversation (although I think he was talking to his, judging by the complexity of the sentences, baby daughter). The scene would have made a great photograph, had I had a professional photographer to follow me around for such occasions (or a travel companion, speaking of which...)

After arriving in Philadelphia I made a quick pit stop at Sbarro and then began the march to the end of the A terminal where my from which my flight to Amsterdam is to depart. As I made my way the women got steadily more attractive as the number of English voices became steadily more diluted. I'm not going to claim causation, as it may be logically inadequate to do so, but the correlation was strong. Normally I plug into my headphones in airports, but I have to say I enjoy listening to the foreign conversations of those around me, chirping in a dozen different languages. I'm crossing my fingers for good luck with my seating placement on the plane (Dave Adley you lucky duck).

So the next time I write I will be in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The sun will shine, the girls will be beautiful, the rivers will flow with Belgian style ale, friends will embrace me with open arms and the merriment will be without end. Am I building this up too much?

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