Hello again!! I told you I would write soon!!
All right, so starting from the beginning of my story: I left from South Bend Regional Airport on 13 Jan really early. It was snowing out, and there were huge drifts and piles of snow all over the place. I made it through the scary security, and sat down to wait. I kept to myself and watched the other passengers. It was probably self-conciousness, but I felt as if the older business people were watching me too. I know I look rather young for my age, but it made me uncomfortable. A huge thanks goes out to my dad at this time for helping me keep my sanity in those last few moments before the trip. Dad, I love you.
I got on the smallest plane I’ve ever been on in my life, and sat back in my seat to take a picture of the snow outside the window. During the flight to my connection in Atlanta, I was able to get well acquainted with my seat-mate, a businessman to some sort of a conference in Atlanta. We spoke of everything from politics, to schools, to religion and theology. He was very fascinating to talk to because he had many observation and questions. I tried my hardest not to talk all the time, but I’m afraid I probably said the most… When we arrived in Atlanta, GA, I felt it was prudent to first find my gate and then see about using the restroom, etc., but the Atlanta International Airport is the biggest place I’ve ever seen in my life. Ever. Thankfully, there were so many signs that I had little trouble finding the next gate (though a very long walk), and sat down to read while waiting for my flight. I kept checking the time periodically so I wouldn’t miss my flight, but all at once, I looked up and realized that my flight should have left 5 minutes earlier. What’s more, I was one of only two people waiting at the gate. I jumped up and asked the lady behind me what flight she was waiting for. Hers was another flight, and I showed her my ticket and asked if I was in the right gate. She told me that maybe my flight had been canceled. I started to panic. The lady suggested I tackle one of the many attendants, but when I looked up to do as she had suggested, there was not a one in sight. Sigh. So, needless to say, I found someone at a desk, handed her my ticket and asked where I was supposed to go. What did she say? ¨Oh, your flight should have left by now,¨ she said, ¨but wait, I can look it up for you.¨ Thankfully, my flight was only delayed, but I had to run to make it to the next gate. The attendant wrote down the number of the gate on my ticket, I thanked her and left really quickly. AIA has ¨ground transport¨ which consists of several trains that run the length of the concourses, making stops at each. It’s faster than walking, and so I was advised to take the train. I got on one, but didn’t realize it went through each stop, and jumped off before the doors closed. Another attendant saw me and assured me I would make it to Concourse A (I was in Concourse E, naturally). So, I took the next train. The ride made me feel slightly sick watching the walls pass in a blur, so I closed my eyes and held my bag tightly. I made it to the gate with 10 minutes to spare. I was pretty proud of myself.
I finally boarded the jet bound for my destination of Miami, FL, and found that I was the only passenger in my row of three seats. Not that I particularly wanted to sit in the window seat, or in the middle seat, but I made do with the aisle. I read my book, and suffered from motion sickness as a result. When I finally made it to Miami, I wanted to jump for joy, but my stomach wouldn’t have allowed that. I had to go and find my luggage, and then I panicked again because I didn’t know if my luggage had followed me on the same plane or been delivered ahead of me. Also, the MIA is about as large as the AIA, so I had to first find the luggage area before I would know anyway. Unfortunately, the MIA was having construction done on the lower level (the luggage claim area) and I could not find the name of my plane or my departure city on any of the LCD signs. Once again, I started to panic. I tackled a friendly-looking police officer because I looked appropriately confused and he took me to an electronic board that listed the plane and the luggage area where the passengers could find their belongings. Another gentleman from my plane was also looking for his, so I kept up with him when he went to find the luggage. We found our stuff, and then I went back upstairs to now search for the group of other LASP students, identifiable to me only by the bright orange luggage tags we were asked to wear on our things. We were supposed to meet at the American Airlines counter, but I walked up and down (what I thought) was the length of the counters, pausing to ask many bored-looking attendants in English (I’m not sure why I never thought to use Spanish, it didn’t occur to me), until finally, after 20 minutes, I was told by another attendant that I had not walked far enough in one direction. As the original path I had been walking was a good, long distance, I wasn’t surprised that there was a longer distance I hadn’t yet covered. So I walked that way, and looked at everybody’s luggage tags (people probably thought I was looking to steal something unattended), and finally got to the AA counter. I walked around it twice before a girl my age came up to me and said, ¨Hi, are you going to Costa Rica with LASP?¨ Finally!! I was saved!!! I said yes, and sat down with a group of students about my age who said they were ‘on the look-out’ for younger individuals with confused expressions.
This post is long enough. I will write another detailing my ‘new’ family!