So again my story is a little different than my fellow Victory Scholars. I had only purchased my New York and Ireland flights four days prior! So as you can imagine, finding the most affordable tickets didn’t allow me to fly on the same flights as the others. My flight was the first to take off for Ireland and I had a short layover in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Morning time the day of the 23rd and I was already packed up and on my way to breakfast. The entire meal I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was really leaving home and the country! After breakfast, it was time for me to head to the airport. It was a little over an hour drive but it felt a whole lot faster than that; probably because of how apprehensive I was for what was to come. I arrived at the airport and it was time to say goodbye to my dear friend that really took care of me while I was in New York. I hope she knows how appreciative I am for her hospitality. I unloaded my bags and wave as her car pulls off.
At that moment, it really hit me that I was on my own for the rest of my journey to Belfast. I walk through the automatic sliding doors and take a deep breath to prepare myself for the airport process; and boy was it a struggle. First, I walk up to the check-in counter and I hand the lady my passport and my information. She types some information into her computer and immediately her facial expression changed. She looked extremely confused and lost. She then walks away to speak with a co-worker. In my mind, I’m imagining the worst-case scenarios possible; maybe the airline didn’t have a seat for me or never confirmed my flight! After about 10 minutes, the lady walks back over and hands me my tickets. I was so relieved. I then lift my suitcase and put in on the scale. “53 pounds,” says the lady. “That’s fine.” For those of you that are unfamiliar with flying, one of the most nerve-racking and stressful parts about checking in is making sure your bag weighs less than 50 pounds! At this point, I thought I was in the clear.
I then make my way to security, feeling really good about myself. As soon as I walked to the line entrance, the lady in charge had the nerve to tell me that my carry-on was too big! My face got hot and in the most respectful manner possible I explained to her that I have used that bag countless times and no one ever gave me any grief for it being too big. When I went to show her by placing it into the carry-on bin, it fit like a glove! She still did not approve. For the next 20 minutes, I rearranged my entire carry-on bag 5 times. The same exact items were in my bag but by the fifth time, the lady approved. I then just grabbed my things and proceeded to security. There was no line at all and before I knew it, I was sitting outside of my gate. At this time I was making as many phone calls to family and friends as possible to let them know I made it and would contact them whenever I’d have the chance. My flight to Philly was quick and painless. As soon as I landed I looked for a place to eat and then sat by a charger station. I had about 45 minutes to talk to my family before I’d be taking off to Ireland!
Boarding time rolled around! This was it! I said all my final goodbyes and found my seat on what was the biggest airplane I had ever been on. I wish I could say that I slept during the 6 hour flight, but that was not the case. My mind was running a mile a minute and I couldn’t wait to arrive at what would be my home for the next 10 months!
“We will now be making our final descent,” echoed throughout the cabin. At that time I looked out of the airplane window. I had never seen so much green in my life. It was so beautiful and the sun was just rising. I smiled and knew this was going to be the beginning of something incredible.