The day of departure out of Philadelphia to Dublin finally arrived, along with more clouds and rain. I couldn’t help but feel nervous about that. However, I still had so much to do before I left for the airport; it seemed to take my mind off of any flight jitters.
After testing my combination-style luggage locks, it turned out that they didn’t work and were replaced quickly with ones that used a lock and key. Looking back now, I found those better to deal with while going through airport security. Plus, I only used the main compartment of each luggage piece.
I also needed to finish printing some class readings and take care of a few other travel checklist items. Lastly, I had a stop at my bank to change money over to euros and with about an hour to spare, it was time to head to the airport. I had to be there by 5:30 p.m. for our group check-in. Family was there to see me off until we had to head up an escalator to the security screening area, where I expected a long wait. But we were all through in good time.
We had four hours ahead of us before boarding. I spent that time just talking with some others in my group. Before I knew it, we were pulling our luggage behind us and walking out to board our US Airways flight. I followed the walkway around a curve and there it was, the door to the plane. New adventures awaited.
Finding my seat, I was second from the left in a center row with others who’d be joining me at Trinity College. Although I was concerned about leg room, it wasn’t the tight squeeze I expected. Buckled up, I watched the safety info on the screen and tried to commit the steps to memory. Shortly after, the plane began to move along the runway; take-off! I watched through someone’s open window shade as we left the ground, tilted into a turn and climbed higher.
A slight wave of dizziness came over me and I felt pressure from the take-off, making me feel nervous. I wasn’t sure if it was normal to feel dizzy, but it went away after a few moments. Once the plane had finished turning, a glimpse of the lit-up Liberty Bell sign at Citizens Bank Park came into view among the cityscape.
The food was pretty good. I spilled the last few drops of my soda on a young guy sitting to my right and thought, “Uh, oh; I’m being one of those annoying airplane passengers!” So I apologized and he was nice about the clumsy moment. Options to watch movies, television show episodes or listen to music helped to keep me relaxed. While searching through the entertainment menu, onscreen arrows didn’t always light up and go on to the next set of choices. So I picked the first thing I saw that I liked: “The Avengers.” Later, it was an episode of “The Mindy Project” and most of “East of Eden” until it was almost time to land.
Only one thing made me ask the young woman next to me, “What was that?” I was a little nervous, but questioned it calmly. She said it was the landing gear. We weren’t far from Dublin and although there was the option to track the flight on our screens, I didn’t really watch it on the way to Ireland. I felt like it would make me somewhat anxious, especially during the time when we had most of the flight ahead of us. So, I guess my judgement was off as far as when we’d hear the landing gear and not ever hearing it as a passenger before.
Someone at the left window seat had the window shade up again and a beautiful sunrise as we approached Dublin. I wish I had put my phone in airplane mode before turning it off, so that if I turned it on, I’d be ready for such sights.
In Dublin’s airport, we were greeted by a man waiting in the crowd and holding a sign for our home college. Following him, we made our way in and out of rainfall to the bus that would take us to Trinity College. It would be our home until the morning of Aug. 9, a saturday. I was supposed to call home once we arrived in Dublin, but couldn’t call out and my wi-fi still wasn’t working as I tried again on the bus. More on that, later, though. It was Aug. 2 and there I was, finally stepping foot outside the gates of Ireland’s historic college campus.