The Beginning

January 7, 2017

The day has come where I have finally arrived in Europe. Unfortunately the journey had been anything but easy. On January 6 I packed my bags and headed to the Des Moines airport. My J-Term class met as we
had the same flight from Des Moines to Chicago. Already having had a delay and gate change, our pilot informed the passengers that the airplane door had fallen onto the ground. It was quite comical until our 11:20 a.m. flight turned into a 3:00 p.m. flight.

After an hour flight, we landed in Chicago where I independently had to catch a flight to Vienna, Austria. Landing in terminal 1 provided 10 minutes to get to terminal 5. Unfamiliar with the O’Hare airport, I asked multiple United workers for directions. One informed me that the gate for the flight closed and I should go to customer service immediately.

Mortified and heartbroken, I made my way to have a 45 minute discussion of what was going to happen next with a United worker. They offered me a hotel room at the Hyatt for the night and $30 to spend on food. I was going to have to catch the same exact flight the next day and rearrange transportation to Finland.

Day two of traveling was not any easier. I got off the bus shuttle at the wrong terminal and it took several attempts to navigate by tram. When checking into Austrian Air I was told that I could not go because I “had the wrong Visa.” Eventually the confusion was cleared and was let through.

When I made it through security, after being held back for 30 minutes, I made it promptly to my gate.

When preparing to study abroad I was always told I’ll have the opportunity to grow as a person. At the time it didn’t mean much of course. Life events must happen to someone in order for one to fully understand the meaning of  personal growth.

My traveling experience was a test of self-reliance and a reification that I can do this. It was an experience that gave me a perspective of where I am at in my life. I turn 20 in a few weeks and I am moving to live in Europe for 5 months. This spring semester of 2017 is going to be about me and about my zeal to learn about the world.

The day that I had thought and anticipated for months had arrived. The excitement of the unknown was near and I was officially off to Europe for 5 months.


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