The Departure

Flying is one of my favorite things.  There’s something amazing about sitting in a chair in the middle of the sky.  And it’s not only the fact that you are in the middle of the sky, it’s the fact that people have figured out how to catapult a 147,000 lb. hunk of metal over 25,000 feet into space.

I could sit and watch planes take off and land all day.  And I have.  Just ask anyone that knows me well.  So I got to sit in two different airports in one day.  That’s a win in my book.

Being gone for a year requires strategic packing.  And my biggest fear was that both suitcases were going to end up being over 50 lbs.  So when we got to the airport in St. Louis, we checked the bags.  50 lbs. each.  Yes.  And yes, there’s a picture.  I was that excited.

So flying out of Lambert is generally not exciting at all.  This time was no exception.  Although my flight was actually on time.  In the last year, I cannot remember any of my flights being on time.  So that was nice for a change.

I had the option of either a 2 hour or 5 hour lay-over.  International flights take anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes to board.  Knowing my luck, the later flight would get delayed and I would miss the flight to Madrid.  So I opted for the earlier flight.

I got to Atlanta so early that the flight to Madrid wasn’t even on the departure board.  So for close to an hour I had no idea where I was going.  There’s a train underground that travels between all the terminals so once you pass security, you can go anywhere you want.  Knowing that they had just opened a new international terminal, I figured I should head that way.

It’s huge.  It’s beautiful.  And it’s empty.  Now, maybe it’s because I was there during the day and a lot of international flights leave at night.  Who knows.  There was a 747 leaving the gate when I got there and a Korean Air flight boarding and that was it.

So eventually, I found out I was in the wrong terminal.  Of course.  I get to the right gate and the plane is just pulling up to the gate.

The entire flight sleep was just not happening.  We had only hit a few rough patches, but by the time we were over the ocean, it got really bad.  We had really rough turbulence for close to an hour.  I heard once that if the flight attendants are still up and walking around during turbulence, you are ok, but if the pilot tells them to sit down, you know it’s pretty bad.  Well, we didn’t see anyone for close to 40 minutes.  I have no problems flying, but that made me really nervous.

After that, there was no way I was going to sleep, so I ended up watching a movie.  Exciting, I know.  Oh and I was playing bejeweled too.  Each seat had its own screen.

I could not sit still.  Major case of ants in the pants.  I walked around the plane, chatted with the flight attendant and with a girl from California that now lives in Madrid after a study abroad trip…

Not me.  Not yet, at least.

The bad thing about being in the back of the plane is that it takes FOREVER to get off once you land.  I wasn’t in a hurry, so it really wasnt terrible.  The guy at customs barely even looked at me.  He didn’t even say anything.  Just a stamp.  Surprisingly, my luggage was pretty fast to come out.

I took a taxi to the apartment and that’s where I sit now.

It’s been over 24 hours now that I’ve been here and adjusting is a slow process.