Tag Archives: Chicago

I Have Arrived!

20 Aug

Though I arrived about three days ago, I finally have enough time to sit down and write about my trip without falling asleep first.

Unfortunately for the family, Mom had to work on Saturday, so she didn’t get to go to the airport with us. However, we were very fortunate indeed to have some amazing friends travel up from Indianapolis so that Dad wouldn’t have to come home from Chicago alone. I have to say again, thank you SO SO SO much Uncle Johnny and Alana for joining us on the trip; it was a blast!

Mom, Dad, and I saying good-bye at the house. Photo credit: Alana Null

Mom, Dad, and I saying good-bye at the house. Photo credit: Alana Null

Here is a little tip for international travelers out of Chicago O’Hare airport. Don’t plan on eating with the people dropping you off at the airport. That is what we normally do. We get to the airport, check in, find some place to eat, say our goodbyes, then go through security. Unfortunately, what we didn’t know about the international terminal at O’Hare is that the only place to eat before security is at the downstairs McDonalds. They didn’t even have tables really. You just have to sit in airport style chairs and try to eat. We did eat there, but I know Dad would have preferred an actual sit down meal.

My first flight was from Chicago to Dublin, lasting almost 7 hours. It was through the night, so we got dinner. I don’t know how other airlines are, but my meal on Aer Lingus was fantastic. I had pork with stir fried rice, a roll, mixed veggies, and a chocolate brownie for dessert. Yummy! That was pretty much the highlight of the flight though. I read a book, watched a movie (Olympus Has Fallen), watched 3 TV shows (Ripper Street, Big Bang Theory, and Family Guy), and did a sudoku. It officially made me 5 for 5 on not being able to sleep on international flights. I don’t know what to do, next to medicating, to make it so that I can sleep. Oh well, hopefully it will be different on the way back to the States.

I arrived in Dublin at 5:00AM their time (1:00AM LaGrange/Atlanta time) and had just over an hour to wait for my next flight. I was really excited to see a sign that said Guinness had their main taps at my gate, but go figure, they weren’t selling any at 5 in the morning. Sorry Dad, guess I’ll have to use my Guinness money for some Belgian beer instead.

I arrived in Brussels at 9:30AM their time (3:30AM LaGrange/Atlanta time). Customs was super easy to get through, and I even met two other students who are studying at Vesalius this semester. One was from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the other is from Rochester Institute of Technology. They were super nice and I hope to run into them again tomorrow at Orientation.

My host mother, Laurence, and her sister-in-law, Eleanor, met me at the airport and helped me take the stuff out to the car where my host father, Thibault, was waiting. They took on a short drive through Brussels before going home. Unfortunately, their house is being newly renovated and it hasn’t quiet been completed yet, so we are staying at Laurence’s mother’s house for the time being. I really enjoy it here, though I am not looking forward to repacking my bag in the next day or so. It is definitely not going to be as easy as when Mom and Dad are there to help me sit on it to force it to close.

I’m having an amazing time though. Laurence and Thibault’s baby, Simon, is adorable and is always laughing. Laurence enjoys cooking just as much as I do, so we have had great conversations about cooking and Belgian cuisine. They have showed me house to use the bus system and I successfully got lost, found my way, and used the bus to get back to the house. I may have walked randomly through the streets of Brussels for an hour before I found the right bus, but I saw some beautiful parts of the neighborhood that I will eventually be living in.

I will start posting more as my trip continues, but just know that I am safe and so far loving my experience!