While I was in Indianapolis last week, I received an email from the Peace Corps letting me know we would be meeting in Philadelphia for staging, and asking us to make our travel arrangements as soon as possible. The Peace Corps pays for all of our flights, and books the international leg for us, so I all I had to do was book my U.S. flight through their travel agency.
I decided to call right away, assuming it would only take a few minutes to book my flight. I had already looked at flights online and had spotted a lovely U.S. Airways flight departing from Savannah at 8:30 a.m., connecting in Charlotte, and landing in Philly an hour before I needed to be there. Perfect!
Or not. Apparently flying out of a tiny airport, during spring break, on Easter Monday, after a PGA tournament in Hilton Head ends, does not equal perfect. Every flight was sold out. You can only guess what this means… I'm on the worst possible flight out of Savannah. I'll depart at 6:30 a.m. (which means getting up at 4:00 a.m.), fly to Miami, and then on to Philly. Now, I realize that most U.S. Americans don't, like, have maps* – but I do think most people know Miami is not really on the way to Philly. Oh well.
After 6 hours of flying and layovers, I'll arrive in Philly at 12:15 p.m.; registration starts at 12:30 p.m. Awesome… 15 minutes to gather up my 100 lbs. of luggage, catch a cab and get downtown. Oh, and I'm supposed to eat lunch before registration otherwise it will be 7:00 p.m. before we have dinner. This day is going to be so much fun, I can already tell!
After everyone arrives and fills out the necessary paperwork, we'll have a 5-hour-long meeting (called staging) to go over expectations and what's next in the process. Our group will go to dinner that night and then we'll finally get some rest. But then we're up early again the next morning to catch our flight out of Philly. Oh wait, no, that's not right… I meant to say… to catch our bus to JFK. Yes, a bus. From one international airport to another. Don't ask.
We'll arrive at JFK around 11:00 a.m., and our flight will depart at 5:00 p.m. It's funny… I've always wondered what one could do at JFK for 6 leisurely hours and now I'll get to find out!
We'll finally board our 10-hour flight from JFK to Istanbul, Turkey, and will arrive at the respectable hour of 1:00 p.m., just in time for lunch! Oh, except it will be 3:00 a.m. East Coast time. We'll have a 3-hour layover in Turkey and then we'll finally board our flight to T'bilisi. Thankfully this last leg is only 2 hours and then we'll actually be in Georgia!
This is going to be the longest 3 days of my life – and I'm already looking forward to it being over. But at least I'm finally getting excited! Having actual flights and agendas makes it all so real and exciting! So the flights are a little torturous… nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy, right?
So here's to the G11s and our 3 long but worthwhile days of traveling!
* Thank you, Miss South Carolina, for providing endless hours of entertainment that never, ever gets old. For those who missed it, enjoy... www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww