Thursday, January 8, 2009

crazy traveling days

Greetings from Terminal 4 at JFK airport… where Swiss International Air Lines doesn't open until 1430 hours. Which means I have two hours to stand/sit here doing nothing. Currently, I do not have wifi, so I am writing this on OneNote and will copy and paste later.

I've already spent an hour talking to my parents, taking pictures of the airport, and texting various people. There are a lot of people waiting around, but not too many people rushing to get where they're going. After seeing several families walk by, I have a new appreciation for why my family always drove everywhere.

So the adventure to the airport-- First of all, I stayed up way too late talking with some people (a decision I do not regret at all) and then rushed about this morning to get ready. However, that wasn't very stressful. The stress hit as I picked up my suitcases. I had been absolutely dreading my journey to JFK. I was by myself with heavy bags that were broken (and are even more broken now), but that part is over. I had help from amazing people though, to get everywhere I needed to be going. Daniel, Dylan, and Jan made sure that I was able to get to the subway station. Once on the 1 train, I was talking to Jan about which stops I would take and a guy named Warren overheard and said that I could get off at the 42nd stop and it would be two less connections. So I did and he helped me carry my bags as far as he was going. That was such a blessing! I am realizing how frustrating it must be to be handicapped and have to ride the subway. The ramps and elevators are out of the way and the elevators (when you can find one) reek of urine. Finally got on the E train and a guy who was cleaning it gave me advice for which stop to get off at and what to do once I was off. Upon getting off the seemingly never-ending train ride from Manhattan to Queens, I found a fellow traveler. He was looking for the elevator, too, since he was returning with several bags to Mexico from studying abroad in Philly. We found the airtrain together and parted ways. Then I rented a giant rolling cart (sent as a present to me from God) and got on the airtrain. I got to Terminal 4 around 12:30 and finally found Swiss Air. And then I began my two hour wait. There are people in line to get their luggage checked, but I'm not rushing. For now, I'll enjoy my corner and hope that my phone doesn't die.

Minus (friend from Malmo) got in touch with me yesterday via facebook, so I have his number now. And we'll probably hang out this weekend. He has to leave on Sunday to go back to England, where he's studying. Lena also has to return to Germany on Sunday. Regardless, I am sooooo looking forward to seeing my favorite foreign exchange students, as a current foreign exchange student.

So going back to NYC. I would like to take a few moments to thank everyone who went on this trip- it was a great experience.

Brad and Jake - the "bromance" You guys are hilarious and really good a taking a joke. I didn't mind sleeping near you guys, even though you both snore a little. Also, I think our group was great with the last project on Wednesday, since we had a common bond (one that we won't speak of, because I don't want to be ostracized, haha)

Daniel - thanks once again for helping with the luggage debacle and for being helpful throughout the week. Your sense of humor is epic and I enjoyed hanging out with you. I'll let you know how weird the Swedes are and if it's a "poopy city".

Danielle and Travis - it was great getting to know both of you on this trip. I enjoyed traveling the city with you both and Travis, thanks for the tips on Copenhagen.

Dylan- ok, I think you helped more than anyone else this entire trip- from carrying luggage that wasn't yours to constantly holding doors. I really hope your luck gets better!

Emily F- girl, you can talk! It was cool getting to know you better and all of your craziness. It was particularly interesting getting to talk with you last night- you have some crazy stories. Stay on the bus!

Emily O- you are definitely a take-charge type of person. It was great to see you jumping in to help with dinner, clean up, etc. You always find a way to make things interesting.

Hannah- thank you for being you on this trip. You are hilarious and one thing I've always enjoyed about your personality is the not caring part. Thanks for being my partner in crime with the whole getting to dinner situation, haha.

Jan- thanks for dealing with every aspect of the trip from figuring out how I was getting to the airport today to arranging our service projects. This was an eye-opening experience that was made possible in part by you. I hope you have a great time on vacation - soak up lots of sun, as I won't be seeing any after 3pm for a while. For the record, I still think you should visit Sweden...

Jordan and Jake- seemingly inseparable, you two were great traveling companions. From sitting in Starbucks just trying to get some rest in, to eating at Jekyll and Hyde with a lot of silverware scraping together, I enjoyed it all.


Jenny- you are such a nice person! I'm so grateful to have gotten to know you better because of this trip. Your attitude about everything is something to be admired.

Karen- yay for piggyback rides! I hope your interview goes/went well AND that you like the school. I'm glad you decided to stick around post-graduation to participate in everything from worship committee to this trip. Also, you really should do something with claymation someday.

Kelsey- Captain _______ - enough said. I'm sorry I forgot my ukulele! And about the towels- I'll just get them from you sometime, so don't really give them much thought. I'll miss being in worship committee with you, although I'll know that each time you have to do word association, you'll say "family" first.

Megan- one of your talents is being able to lift up those around you. This week was overwhelming to all of us, in the sense that we were all trying to figure out what we could do. Even though you mentioned that you were struggling with that, you didn't think twice to encourage others that they have their own gifts. "Nobuddy in here, turn of the lights. That means everybuddy."

Molly- I feel like I know you so much better after our shower encounter this morning, haha. It was great being on this trip with you. Thanks for keeping up spirits and playing tic-tac-toe with me!

Shelley- Jelly Belly and my baby momma. From the plane to the museum to, well, everywhere else - you were great. Even though party poopers didn't appreciate that we were having fun, we had fun regardless. Make sure you keep keeping secrets and try not to miss me too much.

William- thanks so much for being so willing to play the part of the Asian tourist and for listening to me attempt to speak in Chinese… one more thing…



So… it is now a few hours later- I have internet now and a charge for my computer = greatness.
I made it through the check-in process, through security, had lunch, and watched two finches play in the terminal. I don't understand why there are birds in the airport, but Kayla said she's seen them in the Seattle airport. Good security story (is there any other kind?): Sadly, as I am flying by myself I had nobody to race through security. I did, however, get stuck behind this woman who didn't understand the phrase "keep going to the left" (this is not an insult to foreigners or others who don't speak English, because she was American). Her husband seemed to have a semblance of knowing what was going on, but she definitely did not! Instead of moving her stuff in gray boxes, she just held up the line. Finally she got everything on the conveyor belt (her husband was long gone by this point) and the security lady said "Ma'am, you'll have to take off your jacket" Exasperated, I look at her, wondering why she didn't read the signs that clearly said "TAKE OFF YOUR JACKET" and then I couldn't help but laugh. She was wearing her jacket wrapped around her waist. Under that was another jacket wrapped around her waist. Under that was her fanny pack. Then, she walked through the sensors and they went off. She took her phone out of her pocket and put it in the bucket to be scanned. Really?! As I was rushing to put my shoes and jacket back on, my passport away, my laptop in my book bag, and grab my duffle, I look up- the fanny pack had wedged its way between two pieces of metal and she was freaking out to her husband (who had randomly reappeared) to help her get it out. Then she fastened it around her waist- grabbed a jacket and fastened that around her waist, and as I was walking away, she was tying her other jacket back around her waist.

There is a girl sitting near me who just called her mom and said that she was on track to getting to South Africa- I just think that's so cool. I also walked past a massage place and considered (for a split second) paying $25 for a 10 minute massage- not so cool.

Oh, something else- I was standing near and met some people who are going to Israel. They were a huge group and apparently just met for the first time, as they tried to give me a badge and t-shirt on accident. So I consider them my adoptive airport family and they just walked by, so I had to say goodbye to them. Back to being alone again, but I won't be once I land!

One last thing before I go, I'm trying to set up this thing with skype so that people could dial a US number and it would go to my computer, so you could call me and not have the prices be ridiculous. Same thing the other way, but just thought I'd throw that idea out there… having said that, I won't be receiving phone calls/texts after 7:30ish tonight, so please no birthday crap. It'll just end up costing me more money than it's worth.

If you would like to get in touch with me personally (as in not a comment here or on facebook) you can message me on facebook or email me at gahagen@email.unc.edu

K, peace!

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