Greetings! A bit has happened in the last couple days but of all first sites, watching the Super Bowl 8 hours later on the internet has been one of the most interesting things!
First off, I had to avoid social media like the plague and despite my efforts, one snap said it all. This did not discourage me from watching the highlights and yelling at the screen as I normally do! What a game! And this one was especially unique as I got to watch the last bit with my friend Ellis who is from England! Her American friends were Patriots fans so I had to quickly educate her that most of America did not want them to win because they ALWAYS win. Ellis then compared them to some popular “football” team here and changed who she was rooting for.
It is interesting to watch and participate in one of my beloved traditions from a different country. There was no party, no chips and dip and certainly no screaming fans (aside from myself). But it made me feel apart of my country and I took pride in our traditions after spending all day learning about Nijmegen’s!
Bailey and I had finally arrived after 20 hours of travel to this beautiful city of Nijmegen! We stumbled our way through the airport and let me be the first to say: They are the yellow booths. Select the center city and look at the screen to see what gate you are at.
We got lost and took the “lift” down to station 2 when we needed to be at 3 and like our hustle to the plane, we made it with Dutch spewing off in the background announcements. Once we arrived to our destination, representatives from our university met us there! We were greeted, driven to our housing community, got our keys, and arrived at our homes for the next three months!
I eagerly unpacked my luggage full of shoes and clothes and was full of excitement to tell my family and friends I had arrived. I was then encountered with two problems: one, it was 1 am back where I was from and two, the only internet connection available was via ethernet cord and my computer was without a port.
WHAT KIND OF COMPUTER DOESN’T HAVE AN ETHERNET PORT. Apple, I was very mad at you. With the help of exchange students that studied at my university last semester and our “buddies”, they told me the name of the store. Defeated and exhausted after being up for two days, I sucked it up and paid $50 in data for the night.
The next day was spent at our university at the “International Welcome Day” they hosted for all 70 international students! I met students from London, Amsterdam and Greece and learned all about the Dutch culture. I learned that buses only can break 20 euros and I learned the proper way to eat a croissant. I learned how passionate other countries are about U.S. affairs and I learned how to stay up when it was 3 am where I was from.
With Bailey and three of our new friends, we travelled to the city center and I found my $40 converter cord for my computer to allow me to use an ethernet cord. Pro tip: Check to see if your computer has an ethernet port before traveling 6,000 miles away where your amazon does not work. We got groceries, explored, picked up some necessities and traveled back for the night. I am now content, with wifi, and classes will begin Monday!
It was time to go! February 1st came and the next thing I knew, I was being driven to the airport at 7:30 am sharp to catch my first flight! Here I met up with the other student accepted into the exchange program, Bailey, and we anxiously awaited our flight! We were traveling to LAX, from there to Amsterdam and there to our final city, Nijmegen!
What good travel experience goes as planned right? Within 20 minutes of sitting outside of our terminal, Bailey received a notification that our flight to LAX was now delayed by 5 and a half hours. That’s right, FIVE AND A HALF HOURS. We had already notified our university that we would be arriving at 9am locally in order to catch a ride with them to our housing and this set us to arrive at 2pm. I instantly jumped onto the closest Delta phone and explained our dilemma.
I just have to thank Delta as they instantly got us onto the next flight out of there, with us flying to Georgia instead of LAX. The representative got us both switched over and we now only have 40 minutes to get across one of the largest airports in the world. In addition, we were no longer sitting next to each other and I was sitting in the near back of the plane on both of our upcoming flights. My mantra of “It’s fine, everything is fine” kicked in and I refused to let this get to me. We buckled our boots and boarded our plane because I was just thankful we still had one.
The first flight was smooth. I sat next to some nice people and I watched my Disney movies in peace. The plane landed and it was go time. We of COURSE landed in the terminal farthest away from the international terminal with 40 minutes until our flight left and to remind you, I was in the back of the plane. The row in front of me graciously allowed me to leave ahead of them and I ran. I ran through 35 gates and hopped on the train. 6 terminals later, two hurt shins and more heavy breathing than I care to admit, I arrived at the gate just as they announced “Last call to Amsterdam”!
Call it luck, call it cardio, but we both made it. We both now had middle seats on opposite sides of the plane (me, once again, in the back), but I buckled up and made small talk with the people beside me. One was an aspiring doctor and the other going on a trip to see Orphans his church had been funding so if either of you stumble upon this, I hope you both arrived safely!
Once again, flight was great and I got dinner, breakfast and non-stop entertainment with the screen in front of me.