East Coast Trip
Why, hello there.
I’ve had a few requests to post some blogs, and now that I am practically on my way to sunny Indonesia, I decided that it’s time to get this thing going! I’m currently in Akron, PA attending MCC’s SALT/IVEP orientation. Last week, though is what I will write about for now.
On Saturday the first (of august) I said goodbye to my fam and Ryan and Amy – my summertime hiking buddies, and took off for Boston. I spent the day there on Sunday with Bryan, which was really, really fun. We had a pretty chillaxed day – mostly chatted and saw his new apt he’s moving into, went to Target with his roommate and then walked all over downtown Boston, which was actually just really cute, for lack of a better adjective. I think Bryan might have gotten a little tired of me saying that. Hahaha.
On Monday I took a bus to NYC where Devan met me and we made our way to Christy’s apt to have dinner and sell a table on Craigslist. While in the city I took the Staten Island ferry, went to Highline Park which was totally beautiful – a park on old elevated train tracks, went to Alter Boyz – a wonderful off-broadway show, was stung by a mystery insect and freaked out, went to Coney Island, visited the Met, ate a cupcake, had Ethiopian food for the first time with Kirsten and Topher, and loved, loved, loved catching up with friends and having great conversations.
The city was great – good sights and exhaustingly humid weather. After days of rushing around I was ready to just chill out. The big exciting moment came when I tried to navigate JFK and failed. Well, I almost said I failed miserably, but that would not be true. I eventually made it to my destination, a feat of which I am proud.
I took the subway out to Queens close to JFK. That took awhile in itself. I had a flight at 10:00pm to Buffalo, where I planned to meet up with Meghan, a friend from study abroad. I was supposed to be at the airport at 8:30, and of course not having a printer on the road, had not checked in for my flight yet. I was still on the train at 8:30, not worried of course because I was only a few stops away. When I got to my stop, I walked the equivalent of a couple blocks, maybe two, finding my way to the airtrain – a monorail going to JFK. Then I had to wait probably 5 or 6 minutes. Then ride between 5 and 10 minutes. So it was getting closer and closer to 9pm. This was not good. I got to my terminal and Meghan called, I told her I was just arriving at the airport. That concerned her quite a bit, but really didn’t bother me at all.
I should clarify now that I primarily fly out of either SeaTac or Orange County. OC has a very small airport and I always plan to arrive shortly before boarding. I’ve never, ever had a problem with that. At Seatac, I am dropped off at the curb, and hand my bag to the nice Alaska people who practically know me. Sometimes I even get to go in the short security line :) I found out that life in the big city is not so cushy, or quite as tame. About four of us together went along the sky bridge and across a street. We could see an empty Delta check-in counter inside. The man there blocked our way and told us to take the elevator down to the first floor. Well, that was baggage claim – really unhelpful for our situation. The women working there took us around a corner and sent us up a big ramp with cars rushing around us, me, of course carrying 85 pounds of baggage that will last me a year in Indonesia (let me just say – I look RIDICULOUS on public transportation – and airports, too).
We found our way into a different part of the airport and through a little maze to a complete mad house. Instead of waiting in a long line, I jumped on a kiosk and tried to check in for my flight, only to be told that I could not check a bag because it was now 9:08pm – less than an hour till take off. I needed to see an attendant. Fortunately, one was just walking by. I told her I was late and needed to check in. She directed me to a kiosk. I told her it had told me to talk to her. She again told me to check in at a kiosk. I then hit her in the face with my 50 pound backpack. O wait, no, that’s not right. No, then she told me to talk to the woman in the red jacket. That woman was a little preoccupied by a man who had apparently driven 5 hours to get there, and his family member was too late to check in for her flight. He was a tad cranky, and generally making life harder for everyone around him. He even refused to remove his friend/significant other’s luggage from the scale until they let her on the plane. Yes, that’s helpful, sir, thanks for being a jerk instead of being calm about the situation. I’m sure you’re the only one with a problem.
Fortunately the woman behind the counter who couldn’t check me in did at least give me the airline’s number so I wouldn’t have to wait in line. The woman I talked to on the phone wanted to fly me out the next day at noon. I couldn’t very well get to Buffalo at 2:00pm because I had plans to leave there at 5:00 that afternoon. I called Jet Blue instead, and the woman who answered is officially my guardian angel. She was so nice and helpful, I could have hugged her. She got me on a pretty inexpensive flight that only arrived 20 min later than my original flight. I went over to my new terminal, and it was like an oasis of calm in a harsh desert of angry travelers. The whole experience was completely different, and about a thousand times better.
The moral of the story is: always leave early for the airport, and always choose Jet Blue over Delta. I highly recommend it.
Visiting Meghan was awesome – I very rarely get to see study abroad friends :) and we went to the US side of Niagara Falls, which was a real treat. Fotos are on flickr now – www.flickr.com/a_mesaros It was a really relaxed day, then back to the airport to fly through Boston (said hi to Bry again while we were in the same city for a minute) and then on to Harrisburg. My cousin Todd picked me up there and I went to his house and crashed. The next day I had a really fun time catching up with him and Colleen and playing with their 3 year old son, Tim. I also got to drive past the place where Taylor Swift (LOVE HER) was discovered, and also saw Jon and Kate’s house (you are so jealous). I don’t actually watch Jon and Kate Plus 8, so Todd graciously filled me in on all the details of their marriage and family life. Apparently I had the wrong impression about a lot of things, so I’m glad we got it cleared up and now I can brag about having seen their place.
Orientation has been marvelous! I’m only 30 miles from Todd and Colleen’s so Todd dropped me off here on Saturday. I take off for Indonesia in 2 days! I’m really stoked for it, and my Indonesian has been improving a ton. Although, there’s really no where to go but up from here.