Posts Tagged ‘departure’


Jon: Who doesn’t love a good accent?

September 4, 2011

So, I am now sitting in the London Heathrow Airport waiting for my gate information to be displayed. A 5 hour layover… I wish I could explore London but I guess I shouldn’t take the risk. But anyways, my day started off a bit rough when I learned my flight is not actually through BMI as I booked it but instead they contract out to other flights. With that I got off at the complete opposite side of the airport to begin with having to go from terminal 5 to terminal 1. Then I’m told since I’m flying through United Airways I have to follow their baggage rules instead of BMI which means I now have to pay $70 for a second bag. After that though it’s been pretty easy since. The person I sat next to on the flight was very nice, a chemical engineer from London. Can I take a break to say I really love the British accent? I mean, don’t get me wrong I’m a sucker for Middle Easterners but “Comm’ on mate” will get me every time. Upon arriving in London I was welcomed at security by an entire soccer (?) team, which was a nice welcome.  And now I wait, the only thing I’m really worried about is the taxi ride to my hotel upon entering Amman. The taxi’s there are not metered, purely negotiated and although I’m told Jordanians might even put my beloved St. John’s and St. Benedict’s Benedictines hospitality to shame I’m still cautious. Of course speaking very little Arabic doesn’t help either. Well my flight finally came on the screen though the gate information will only be told about 30-40 minutes before departure so I might be sprinting a bit. Well I should get to doing… something so I’ll end this my first blog, though if people watching is a hobby, people listening should be as well, and international airports are the Olympics of it. So many different accents and languages, different styles and mannerisms. I could spend much longer than 5 hours here just watching and listening.


Chiyo: London bound

August 30, 2011


Today is the big day. I’m about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, where I’ll be studying in London for the Fall semester, and interning for fashion company Esprit, working in their sample showroom. I have a mix of emotions right now; sad, happy, excited, nervous, and I’m sure reality won’t set in until I step foot off the plane, and am in Heathrow airport. It’s been eight years since I’ve been to London, but I always promised myself I would go back, and here I am about to leave for the city that I fell in love with several years ago.


Chelsea: Farewell USA

August 29, 2011

Whirlwind of emotions: check.

This summer has been filled with memories of important family moments, hysterical laughter with friends, and travels galore! Although I’m saddened to leave behind great family & friends and to miss upcoming moments at home and school, I am excited to spend the next few months living in a different culture and experiencing new things!

In the past few weeks, I haven’t had much time to think about the semester ahead, so now that it’s the next & only thing to think about, all the worries come rushing in!

But, that being said, I am extremely excited for the next few months to come and to finally have “study abroad” stories of my own to pass on! I expect a few challenges along the way, but in the end, know that it will be a life-changing, memorable experience…even without those few extra shirts (and heels) that wouldn’t fit into my multiple suitcases.

I hope for on-time flights tomorrow, even though my track record would suggest otherwise! 


Thomas: Ready to depart

August 26, 2011

I will be departing Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport (MSP) on August 27, 2011 to connect with a flight in Atlanta, GA to then fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Yesterday, I received my Homestay information. I will be living with Mariana, 54, and her son Miguel, 24. The two of them have an apartment in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires. According to Wikipedia, Recoleta is considered one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city, and the cost per square meter is one of the highest available in Buenos Aires. Learn more about my new neighborhood here.


Margaret: 你好 – Nǐ hǎo – hello

August 24, 2011

Alas, my last day in the United States has finally arrived.  My flight departs at 8:57 am tomorrow morning with a three hour layover at Chicago O’Hare followed by a thirteen hour flight to Beijing Capital International Airport.  Shorter than you thought, isn’t it!?  Three years ago I flew from Minneapolis to Tokyo on the way to Beijing, and I recall being so excited that I didn’t sleep a wink!  However, this summer I perfected the art of sleeping while sitting up in the back seat of pick-up trucks while driving around Iowa during my internship, so hopefully I can save up the energy required to navigate Beijing when I land.

I’ve been “told” that students are allowed to arrive three days prior to registration which is on Saturday.  I’ve also been told the international student residence hall has my information, and all I have to do is show up and they’ll give me a room.  At this point, if I can fly to Beijing with no issues, figure out how to exchange money for the taxi, tell the driver where to go, arrive at the correct place, find the correct building in the residence hall complex, communicate who I am and what I need in Chinese, and get into my residence hall room on Thursday, it will be a miracle. I know of a few hotels nearby, and I’m almost expecting to have to use one.

I wish I could say I’m as excited as I was heading to Beijing the first time around, but truth be told these past two and a half weeks have really taken a toll. On August 5th I presented my summer intern project, “The GAD1 construct in transgenic corn: Nitrogen use efficiency,” to the site employees as well as some people who had called in from headquarters in St. Louis, picked a few final ears of sweetcorn out of the field, said my goodbyes, and drove back up to Eden Prairie.  Since then I’ve been ping-ponging back and forth between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie, saying sad farewells to family, friends, family friends, high school friends, college friends, and of course my wheat lab favorites.  I was even feeling nostalgic and returned to the wheat field for the day to help with harvest.

I’ve also been squeezing in several “lasts.”  I’ve made sure to eat as much cheese as possible in the past two and a half weeks (lactose intolerance is environmentally induced during child weaning in many Asian cultures where commercial dairy products are uncommon), and I’ve also made stops at Al’s Breakfast, Annie’s Parlour, Punch Pizza, Tea Garden, Sebastian Joe’s, Freeziac, and of course Panda Express.  Fact:  I will miss Panda Express orange chicken and fried rice when I’m in China.  Call me out if you want.  It’s just that good.

Many people have asked me how I possibly packed luggage for a whole year abroad.  Well, I should first say that Beijing is an international city – there is a Walmart 3.1 km away from Peking University.  You can buy almost anything you need for a fraction of the United States price. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from stocking up on $115 worth of shampoo, deodorant, Pepto Bismol, mascara, etc. at Walgreens. Probably not entirely necessary, but it’s hard to say what they’re going to have over there. Eddie Bauer was having a great sale on duffels, and I am now the proud owner of a lifetime guaranteed Eddie Bauer Expedition Large Rolling Duffel Bag.  If you’re flying, don’t get the XL. I was able to fit everything I wanted to bring in the XL, however when I weighed it, it was a whopping 80 pounds! I figured I’d just pay the overweight baggage fee, but that turned out to be $400.  Instead, I downsized to the large, which holds you to about 45 pounds and packed a second duffel, both of which I’ll be able to check for free.  The key to the whole process is rolling everything and lining it up as tightly as possible.  About a billion too many clothes and shoes later, I’ve fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a magician.

Almost all of the loose ends have been tied up.  It was difficult to navigate the visa application process while I was in Iowa.  I was out in some tiny town in a cornfield with no cell service during the workday when I needed to be making calls. I now have in hand a multiple entries Chinese visa. All the copies have been printed out, the voltage converters purchased, the oral typhoid vaccine taken, and the power of attorney granted.  It’s showtime.

Tonight I sat down at the piano to clear my head after a day of really awful goodbyes.  Five for Fighting, Lori Line, Debussy – it was a nice collection.  My parents came in and sang “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once with me. We’re definitely not about to quit our day jobs, but it was special to be able to play some music with them amidst all these crazy emotions. I’m excited, but only so much. It’s hard to leave a good life and wonderful people behind no matter where your headed. Look for my next post from Zhongguanxinyuan Global Village at Peking University in Beijing.


Andrea: Packing

January 4, 2011

There is one week left until I leave to study abroad in London, and to be honest, I’m scared. Leaving behind family and friends for several months and adjusting to a new city might be a little difficult at first, but I’m certain that once I get into the swing of things I’ll have a great time. From all the travel books and websites I’ve browsed through, it seems like there is so much to see and do there that it will be impossible for me to not enjoy myself. When someone tires of London, they tire of life, right? Even though I’m going to miss a lot of people terribly, this blog is one way for me to connect with friends and family and to let them know what I’m up to. As difficult as it may be for me to finally get around to packing (I really should do that today…) and to say goodbye to some people (although it’s really more of a “see you later”) I know that when I come back, I’m going to have so many awesome stories to share with everyone. So, ending this post on a positive and optimistic note, I’m off to find my luggage tags.


Sam: 5 things I will miss while abroad

August 24, 2010

Finally, less than one week before departure, I have received my homestay information. I will be living with Alberto, a teacher, and his wife and son, Amanda and Santiago (who is 23). For the first time, I realize that this fantastic voyage is imminent. Knowing the names and address of the people with whom I will be living has eased my mind just enough that maybe now I can finish my shopping and begin packing (but probably not).

Certainly there are a number of people I will miss and it will be strange to not be able to wake up in my own room (at home or in a dorm), but I made a little list dedicated to the things I will miss the most while in Quito. Plus, this is a good way to get me in the habit of actually writing in this online journal.

5. Terrible food

I don’t mean food that tastes bad since that is missable wherever I go in the world. Rather, I mean the heart-stopping, stomach-churning, sleep-inducing garbage that makes my home country so famous. Burgers, hot dogs, chips, anything from a Paula Deen cookbook, etc. I don’t eat a whole lot of these foods as is, but when I do I go all out…

4. Seasons
Quito is a balmy 45-70 F year round (source: Wikipedia. Take that, college education.). It is in a plateaued valley and experiences cool and pleasant weather most days. Nevertheless, I will be missing fall this year, which just happens to be my favorite season. Spring and fall are about the only things Pennsylvania’s climate does well, so it is somewhat of a shame to not have that even for only a year.

3. Transportation
I have the luxury of being able to walk, bike, or drive anywhere I need to go. This will not be the case in Quito. I am going to be relying on buses, taxis, planes, and other assorted mass transit options to get around. Since Quito is a city this won’t be as frustrating as if I were studying in a rural area but still…I like to be in control.

2. My Stuff
Packing light is mandatory. Everything I could possibly need has to fit in one suitcase and one backpack. That said, I’m going to miss some things that won’t quite make the cut, such as a bed or a bike. Luckily, I’ll have a computer, so most intellectual property will be available to me, but I have a feeling the program frowns upon packing a Nintendo “just in case.”

1. English
This entry would have taken about an hour if I had to write it in Spanish. Obviously I very much enjoy speaking and reading and writing and learning in Spanish, but it does take significantly longer to accomplish anything than if I were utilizing my native tongue. I also won’t be able to quickly deploy some of my favorite colloquialisms and expressions because they just wouldn’t make sense. I’m sure I will find plenty of time for English even in a Spanish-speaking country, but there will be something lacking when I can’t seamlessly go through my day as I would at home.
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