Leaving Home (United States)

Trip Start Sep 13, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, September 14, 2008

Today we left around 11:00 so we could get through the area between Milwaukee and Chicago that was rapidly flooding due to several days of nonstop rain.  I slept a lot of this ride as well, but I did get to see a big accidents and a lot of standing water.  The three of us got to the airport after some fancy navigating by Dad.  He dropped Mom and I off at one of the terminals, parked the car and then met up with us.  While we were waiting for Dad we found out that we had to go to the completely opposite end of the airport to get to the correct ticket counter (apparently Lufthansa thinks it's special and doesn't want to be located in the same area as the rest of the international carriers).  We took the airport tram and found our way to the ticket counter.  They had a baggage scale located at the beginning of the line so I threw my bags on the scale and found that one of them was a little heavy.  It was a matter of pulling a book out of one and putting it in the other and then I had a 50lb and 49.2lb bag to check.  The line was nice and short so I was able to get my bags checked quick and got my boarding passes.  I still had almost 2 and a half hours before I needed to get my way through security so we decided to get me some Euros so I wouldn't be broke when I actually got to Germany, but...the currency exchange was back at the first terminal where we had gotten dropped off at.  So we went back on the airport tram and spent almost $170 to get 100€.  I thought this was a little ridiculous, but it was necessary.

After we got back to the Lufthansa area we found a moderately quiet baggage claim, grabbed some seats, and busted out the cards.  Mom and I played a bunch of Gin-Rummy and Dad joined in when I got my last phone call for the year.  It was Tiffany.  I got to chat with her for a little while, but it was one of those times where I wanted to keep talking to her, talk to my parents, play cards with my parents, and try to suppress the thought of not seeing her for several months all at the same time...not an easy task...After that call, I shut off my phone and cut my electronic ties to the world for a few days and my convenient ties to the world for a year.

14:45 finally rolled around and I decided that I should try and find the rest of the Americans who were leaving on the trip.  The last few moments with my parents were pretty sad.  I know that I normally don't get to see them that often when I'm at MSOE, but just the fact that I wouldn't see them for 6 months was really tough.  This past year had a lot of big changes in it.  Not having a home, not seeing Tiffany very much during the summer, not having a summer job, planning for Germany...the list goes on and on.  Point being that this was another big change for me that I had never experienced before.  Tears were shed, hugs were given, and then I said goodbye. 

The security line was really long, but I gave myself enough time so I didn't have to worry, plus this gave me a chance to finally meet some of the people I'd be spending a unique year with.  The first people I talked to were Dustin and Eric, two EEs from the same hometown and high school.  Both seemed in the same mental state as I: "What next?"  We found our way to the gate and grabbed a couple seats by the large group of MSOE students congregated there.  After dropping our carry-on baggage off by the rest of them the three of us went off to find some food.  The best looking thing was this sandwich shop.  It tasted great whatever I ended up with and did a fine job of holding me over for most of the plane ride.

The rest of the day went as you would expect, waited for a plane to leave.  My seat on the plane was alright.  I sat between a business student who I chatted with periodically throughout the flight and an ME, Bob.  He was snoring heavily before the plane taxied to the runway, but it was more funny than bothersome.

I don't remember having any problems on the plane.  Mostly I just read Hesiod, listened to my IPod (thank goodness Becky and Dave got me that travel charger.  I must have left the IPod on at some point because it was dead before I turned it on) and talked with the business girl.  We got free beer and red wine on the plane though, that was fun.  We watched Made of Honor and Drillbit Taylor on the way over to Germany as well.
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