25 July 2010

leavin' on a jet plane

Do you ever sit there wondering, "What on earth am I doing?" That's pretty much where I am right now. I'm sitting in the Denver airport, waiting for my last flight to Costa Rica. I am really excited, but kind of freaked out right now about moving away from what has been my life for the last few years.

En route from New York to Costa Rica, I stopped in Texas for a friend's wedding, which was beautiful and completely wonderful. Along with seeing my friend so happy, it was great seeing so many of my good friends right before I left.

Getting packed before the wedding was amusing. Because I was going to the airport straight from the wedding, I needed to have everything completely ready to go. I had to fit everything--we're talking all of my clothes, shoes (including bulky rain boots), bedding, pillows, etc.--into only four suitcases. I got a bunch of Space Bags to cram everything into (Space Bags are those amazing things that you stuff and then suck out the air with a vacuum cleaner--you can take three times as much stuff!), but it just didn't seem like everything would be able to fit. I have to give mad props to my friend J here. While I tore around my friend S's apartment like a lunatic, trying to grab every last thing, flinging myself onto my suitcases to try to zip them up, and wailing that my things wouldn't fit, J calmly analyzed the size and shape of my suitcases and rearranged the placement of the different-sized Space Bags to ensure that everything would fit. I'd like to think that if our roles were reversed, I would have been able to help J in such a way, but that's probably not true. I must admit, I did not believe it could be done, but between J's guidance and the sheer amazingness of the Space Bags, we managed to squeeze all of my things into my suitcases. [Note: This is not a paid review for Space Bags.]

The morning after the wedding, I went out for a delicious breakfast with four friends, and then they dropped me off at the Houston airport for my big move.

The flight from Houston to Denver was pretty great, and inspired me to choose the picture at the beginning of this post. However, the picture is a little misleading because: A) I didn't fly Delta, and B) There was no giant baby riding on top of my plane. But anyway, my flight was great in several ways. First, the lady who checked me in at the Frontier Airlines counter didn't charge me the $100 fee I should have paid for checking two extra bags on the plane, which was a lovely surprise. When does that ever happen? I mean, cha-ching! Second, the flight attendant gave me free refreshments and video access because I happened to be sitting in row entirely occupied by unaccompanied minors. Not quite sure how I ended up there, but I really didn't mind. My seat neighbor and I totally bonded when the air conditioning kicked in just before takeoff, and the colder, foggy-looking air started billowing around the cabin. (The captain said it had something to do with the humidity in Houston.) We started talking about the weird-looking air, and as the flight progressed, we had a nice chat about Hannah Montana, Bratz dolls, and the joys of going home after being on vacation, before settling in to watch Miley Cyrus fave The Last Song. Overall, I'd give my experience with Frontier Airlines five stars. [Again, not a paid review.]

So now, I'm just chilling in Denver after my flight from Houston, waiting for my flight to Costa Rica. Wish me luck!


Ok, I made it! I arrived in San Jose a little before 6 a.m., and made it through all the official business quickly. Other than the man beside me asking if I wanted to pray with him for the plants of the world and demanding shrilly to be served a locally-produced meal (um, locally to where, buddy? We're covering a distance of over 2,000 miles here), the flight was pretty uneventful. Afterwards, while I was retrieving my suitcases from the baggage claim, the last remaining handle on one of them ripped off (apparently, it's been through the airlines a few too many times), but a man nearby helped me snag it from the carousel. Immigration went smoothly, and the man at customs barely glanced at my bags.

After clearing through customs, I met the school director and another man who works at my school. They helped me schlep all my bags to the van, drove me to my apartment, and left me with some groceries to get me through the first few days. As we traveled by amazing mountain scenery, I had to remind myself a few times that I live here now. I've been here only a few hours, but I've unpacked and set up everything in my apartment. The apartment has big windows that let in a lot of light (which might not be my favorite thing early in the morning, but is great most of the time), and it came fully furnished, which makes getting settled in so much easier. I have a good feeling about where I'm living and I'm looking forward to starting work and meeting my colleagues tomorrow!

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