2:15pm 7/14/12 STL:
Though I won’t actually be able to post this until later I am writing this on Saturday July 14th, the day I left the states. I’m sitting in the STL airport in a fancy rocker thing by my gate. Checking in went pretty well. We had some difficulty finding the ticket counter, but it was fine. After switching a few things into my checked bag it weighed 50.5 lbs at the counter. Not sure how I managed to do that, but I did. Definitely not as light as I hoped, but oh well.
My beautiful best friend Rachel came to the airport to see me off. She was so incredibly helpful in packing and all the preparation. Her family actually is letting me borrow both of my suitcases, both my giant 50 pounder and my carry-on rick steves bag. I actually really like the rick steves one and might end up buying on.
Getting through security was fine as well. Got marked for a random shoe checked so they rubbed my chaco straps down for explosives. I passed. 🙂 I know you are surprised. But I was nice and prepared for my security pass through. Had my liquids under 3 oz in the quart bag. Also had a separate bag for my prescription cough medicine with codeine (that I fully intend to use to sleep), polysporin, and contacts. I hadn’t known before this trip you could do that, but you sure can. Well I posted a few tips below, but now I think I will watch the new True Blood from last Sunday since I still have about an hour and a half before my flight leaves.
7:22pm STL time en route to L.A.
While we were waiting in line to check in we saw this couple in front of us with 4 kids that appeared to be under 5 years old. We talked about how awful it would be to have to travel with them. Rachel said that I would have to sit next to one of them… jokingly, but guess what? I sure did, or was supposed to. But on the first leg of my journey there were many open seats and a freshman from Northwestern who happened to be going to France to study abroad offered me her seat. Much better.
12:02 STL time in LAX waiting for the flight to Nadi
Lots and lots of emotions today. This morning I was incredibly nervous about leaving for 5 months. Got a bit more calm during the flights. Even got excited as we were descending into L.A.. Unfortunately that excitement quickly got displaced by nerves and anxiety as I realized I had to switch terminals and also realized I had no idea what a baggage tag was (it’s the little bar code that they put on the thing they put your tickets inside). Everyone kept talking about it and how I needed this code to get my baggage, but they never described it so I didn’t think I had it. Very distressing. I did have it on my ticket holder so it was fine
Now I’m sitting in the terminal. I was hoping that it would be a smaller group of people, that I would be able to find people that would also be in my ISEP program with me. But instead there are tons of people here and I have no idea who may be in my program and not. I really hope I have an empty seat next to me, or at least get an aisle seat, or even the window. Just not the middle. I guess we’ll see. I’ve also noticed they do not make near enough outlets in airports for the number of people that have electronics these days. This little laptop is pretty impressive though. Says I have 7 hours and 22 minutes left of battery life.
1:50am STL time = 8:51pm Fiji time
The 10 hour flight from LAX to Nadi was not bad. Took some cough syrup with codeine twice, which helped me sleep fairly well. We arrived in the smallest airport I had seen. I purchased some mango vodka for a friend here as well as some local whiskey for myself duty and tax free. First time I could purchase alcohol in my life which was pretty exciting. Went through customs, got my flight switched to earlier (and only had to pay about 15 US dollars for an overweight bag) and then flew on my final plane, quite a tiny one, to Suva.
STL to LAX through Chicago 3:55pm to 8:30
LAX to Nadi 11:30pm to 5:10am
Nadi to Suva 11:40am to 12:10pm 8:00am to 8:30am
My travel outfit:
- Yoga pants
- Stretchy orange shirt
- Glasses instead of contacts so my eyes are happy
- Minimal make-up and definitely no mascara
My strategies for traveling:
- Get plenty of sleep the night before and if you can’t sleep take something so you can
- Wake up earlier than you think you should
- Put your packed bags by the door at least 1 hour before you leave your house
- Try to relax a bit before you go
- Be ready for security
- Bring snacks! (I made some “fudge babies a la chocolate covered Katie”