When I first made the decision to study abroad, the departure date seemed like a vague, far off thing that would sort of float around in the back of my mind. Then, before I knew it I was in Ireland. Actually, back up for a minute, that’s not totally true. First, about a week before I left, it seemed like it was really far away, but also way too fast. Then, there are the last three days which are spent frantically checking everything to make sure I won’t forget something vital (glasses, phone charger, passport, etc.) and have to brave the insanely expensive shipping fee.Before you know it though, you’re giving your family a goodbye hug and boarding the plane, the first out of many if you’re from somewhere that doesn’t have direct flights to Europe. For my final destination of Dublin, I had to go from El Paso to Atlanta, Atlanta to Paris, then Paris to Dublin. FYI, if you haven’t been on a flight in a while and your body starts reacting oddly to the air pressure, you aren’t dying. I can’t be the only one to go from 0 to freakout in two seconds, right? Right? Luckily my flight landed in Atlanta right on time, complete with a short layover that was long enough to use the restroom, call my parents, and give Mother America a fond farewell. Or so I thought.
— Bernadette Silva (@BernadetteSilva) January 28, 2014
My optimistic tweet from the plane. Some airport sorcerer was looking down and cackling while saying, “Ignorant fool! You’re never leaving!”
In actuality, I boarded the plane, got comfortable with my seat mates, waited a couple of hours, then we all had to get off of the plane and get vouchers for a hotel since it was 11:00 and no one was leaving the airport that night. While unexpected, I would obviously rather be on a safe plane while flying over the Atlantic than a more punctual one. A majority of my fellow passengers were pretty cool about the whole thing which helped me not to panic about having to get a new connecting flight. I mean, we’re all in this together, right? What surprised me more than anything were the people whose world’s completely fell apart by the interruption. I am talking full-on tantrums and yelling at the poor airline workers. It was…bizarre. Luckily, we all got into the hotel for a few hours, which I am grateful for, of sleep, a shower, and hotel breakfast.
Actually, I should really say that I am grateful for the absolutely people working at the airport who had to deal with 300 or so irate customers and did it with complete finesse. I’m kind of glad that it happened, as I was able to really get to know some of my passengers. If not for this, I would never have known about the couple from Austin going for a vacation in Paris, the gentleman going to see his family in Africa for the first time in nine years, the numerous other students getting ready to study abroad, the doctor from Skopje, or the Irish tennis player from the University of Memphis getting ready to go to Belarus for the Davis Cup. During my first week in Maynooth, I felt myself missing these strangers and I’m happy to say that I am actually keeping in touch with some of them. I’m glad to have kept my cool in a new situation and, more than anything, can appreciate the fact that there really is always a silver lining to things.