The Struggles Coming Home

Originally published June 2015

I am officially home. It seems crazy that my six week adventure has come to an end, especially now that I am no longer constantly on the move, but rather able to sit back and relax. Getting home wasn’t the easiest of tasks, although I shouldn’t be surprised with my track record these past six weeks. Barcelona we had issues over number of bags (fun fact EasyJet does NOT let you have a personal bag and a carry-on), Rome’s plane was delayed, we were all but arrested in Paris thanks to the Metro, Annecy’s train had a drunk man that needed removal, and Chamonix’s bus decided it didn’t feel like coming that day. So why in the world would I expect getting back to Boston, and then Philly, would be quick and easy?

It all started with the bus to the airport. One of the boys on our trip fell asleep while packing the night before, and didn’t wake up in time for the bus. We waited for him, but ultimately left without him (he took a cab to catch up with us later) as he still had to pack up his entire room and get ready for the day. This caused us to end up at the airport later than expected. We had allocated a ton of time for the traveling though, so we were fine, even though it took all thirty-some of us roughly an hour and a half to get through security.

The plan was simple. We were all going to take a flight to Munich, have a short layover, and then fly back to Boston. We are all relaxing, waiting for our flight, getting some food (my last pain au chocolat!) before we took off. Then we heard the bad news: the plane to Munich was going to be late, meaning we would then miss our flight to Boston, leaving us stranded in Germany. People start going into crisis mode, as after our Boston flight a bunch of kids had scheduled flights to take them home, whether it be New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, flights that were now going to be missed. Even with the new plan of sending half of us on a flight to Zurich and half to Frankfurt where we would then get connecting flights to Boston, planes would be missed.

It turns out people spent a solid half an hour making hurried phone calls to parents for nothing, as the airline said they would hold the plane in Munich for us, as long as we weren’t too late. Breathing a sigh of relief, we boarded the flight to Munich as soon as it arrived. That flight I enjoyed immensely, as the view was amazing, I was able to see Mont Blanc and Aiguille du Midi as we flew by. I was behind two of my closest friends, and I also got to talk to a classmate I wish I had gotten to know more earlier on the trip, which was pretty cool.

When we arrived at Munich, we were already a little late, so some of us (myself included) RAN to the terminal. It was fun because there were people at the airport holding signs that read ‘Boston’ and had arrows pointing the direction we should head in, and the exhilaration of running through the airport to catch a plane, a situation that I have only really seen in movies, was great. It ended up being completely unnecessary as they had barely begun boarding the plane, but it was fun nonetheless, and something I never realized I had wanted to do before.

The plane ride from Munich to Boston was a very nice flight. I sat next to and behind two of my best friends, and I managed to watch three and a half movies while being fed some pretty great airplane food. I didn’t fall asleep which was good, as the goal was to stay up as late as possible in an attempt to skip over jet lag completely. It was also great to just unwind before the next layer of stress: getting through customs at Logan Airport.

We got off of the plane and were faced with a customs line so long all of the plane wasn’t even out of the walkway. Apparently a lot of flights had gotten in all at once. This did nothing to calm down the students that needed to catch a flight within the next hour or two. Logan has these facial scanning things, for lack of a technical term, that have you essentially doing customs for yourself, which was both cool yet stressful. I thought it was pretty awesome how they were making a way to do things more efficiently, and probably safer thanks to the scanning of passports and the need for a picture to be taken and saved. It was stressful though, thanks to the fact it was so new, causing people to be confused by it and take longer than necessary. It just added time some of my friends could not afford to have wasted.

While the line was long, we were eventually all able to get through to baggage claim. I had some of my friend’s things in my bags because her bag was too heavy, so while she ran to get hers, I made up a backpack for her as fast as humanly possible. I felt pretty badass as I threw her the backpack and she went running off to catch her connecting flight to New York at top speeds. (She made her flight, as well as most of my friends, although one or two did unfortunately have to get a new flight for the next day thanks to the shortage on time.)

I was thankfully staying overnight, and had a 3:00pm flight to catch, so I was able to just relax. My flight home to Philly went smoothly, I talked travel stories to the man sitting next to me (my list of desired places to visit grew immensely in two hours), and we landed on time. The last leg of my adventure could not have gone more smoothly. I met up with my parents at baggage claim, and drove home, ready to figure out how to assimilate back into a normal routine, one not dominated by crazy adventures to foreign countries, but one where everything is laid back. Here’s hoping I can add some adventure to my life at home pretty soon, the excitement is addicting!