Traveling to Europe was an unforgettable experience. I had never flown before but I recommend not travelling internationally the first time your fly. It was the coolest thing to be so high up in the sky that looking down, the clouds looked like pollution coming out of factories and the motorboats in the water looked like they were frozen in place. The sky was unbelievably blue and the clouds drifted by slowly.
The overnight flight was exhausting. They kept feeding us for what seemed like every hour (even though it wasn't that often) so I got hardly any sleep. The turbulence in the plane felt very similar to what it feels like to lay in the back of a 15 passenger on the thruway.
After landing in London, I had to go through customs, get my luggage, re-check it, go back through security, and get back on the plane in 40 minutes. It was totally doable...except for the fact that the bag drop closes two hours before the flight. But I didn't think of this so I stood in the customs praying a million Hail Mary's a minute and realizing that there was only two other blond ladies in the ridiculously long line. All the rest were dark haired and most of them were Muslim. For a minute I seriously considered wrapping my scarf around my head, but I opted not to. I hurried through customs and found the baggage pick up only by recognizing people who were on the same flight as me. I got my bag and then asked a person who worked at the airport how to get to the bag drop. He pointed for me to go up this ramp, but that only dropped me back off on the other side of customs. So I went back over to the stairs and dragged and thumped and pulled by 52lb bag, 18lb carry-on, and atleast 25lb "purse" down the stairs. I finally figured out where I was going.
I had to walk outside to get to the departures and as soon as I stepped outside into London...it was so surreal. I felt like Jane in Jane by Design. It was a typical London morning...foggy and misty and the air was cool and moist. I took a minute to stop and look up at the sky and the tall buildings around me. I was really in another country.
I ran inside and made my way over to the counter to check my bag only to have the lady tell me that I couldn't check my bag because bag drop closed one hour and 45 minutes ago. She pointed me towards another counter and told me I had to get another flight.
I walked over to the counter and pulled my bag's around this other persons stuff and leaned on the counter. I told the guy, "I just missed my flight" as I tried not to cry. He was like, "where were you going?" I told him, "Vienna." He started to look flights up and then I heard someone next to me say, "Teresa?!" I turned and there was Shannon Root standing next to me booking a flight. I totally lost it and started bawling. She explained to me that our options were to get on the next flight in two hours or get a cheaper flight the next day and spend the day in a hotel in London which would end up costing us about the same amount. I told her I had no idea what I wanted to do except that I wanted to do whatever she was doing.
We got ourselves tickets for the next flight, went and dropped our checked luggage off, and then went through security. We had water and kettle potato chips for "breakfast" while we waited for our flight and then we finally boarded our flight. It was a plane where we had to walk outside to get on the plane. It was kinda cool. I had tea on the flight because you just have to have tea when you're in London and someone offers you tea in a British accent.
When we landed in Vienna we walked all around trying to find where our luggage was. We finally found it and then we had to find the information desk by the "golden arches" (aka McDonalds) to tell them to contact FUS and let them know the students who missed their flight were at the airport. While we were standing around deciding what to do this guy dressed in full traditional Austrian clothes walks up and asks us if we're Shannon and Teresa. He introduced himself as Ryan an RA and offered to take us to the bus.
We finally got on the bus and I went to sleep after about 20 minutes. It was a 2 hour ride to Gaming and when we got to be about 10 minutes out I woke up and listened to someone (I think it was Mr. Wolter) point out a few things in town.
It was a long 26 hours with about 3 hours of sleep but it was a great experience.