Thursday, October 8, 2009

Backtracking.. The Journey to Baumholder Part 1

My bags were packed and I was ready for the long flight! I don't think I could contain my excitement, but along with that came the jittery nerves of the unknown! It finally hit me that within a few hours I would be flying halfway across the world, by myself.. and I had no clue what the heck I was doing! Luckily, I have some idea of the way things work and I'm not afraid to bug people.. so in the long run, I got to Frankfurt in one piece! (Luggage included lol)
Here's a picture of Rascal being "emo." He just chilled out by my stuff the morning I was leaving.. I guess it gave him some kind of weird dog comfort lol

I only brought one large suitcase and one smaller suitcase with me. My carry-on was my laptop case with all of our hand carry (important) documents. I know the military lets you take.. like.. 10 suitcases.. about 100 lbs each or something, but when you are alone.. or flying that far.. lost baggage in a  foreign country is NOT fun! (Less you bring.. less you  can lose!) I decided to rough it for a bit before I left to Germany and sent all of my clothes and extra stuff ahead of time with my unaccompanied baggage. It was so worth it to be able to move quickly and gather my one or two items. Especially after a LONG (exhausting) flight! 

Grandma and mom.. doing some laundry the morning I left.. 

The family before I left... Oh how I miss them! 

On the escalator!

Mom, dad, and me! <3

Ok, back to the flight! lol... 
So I boarded the first flight from Fayetteville to Charlotte.. I hate small planes!! The flight was quick.. and bumpy. I don't think I've ever had a bump on a flight quite like that. There is always the normal turbulence, but our plane had some sort of "bang" and then dropped for a second or  so... My heart stopped and I started praying to God for everything in my life! lol.. The person behind me karate kicked my seat back and we were wooshed right back on track again. *sigh* 
I arrived at the airport in Charlotte and began searching for my next gate. Once I figured out where I was supposed to go, I sat down and enjoyed being ALIVE! 
I glanced around at the group sitting with me and tried to pick out who was German and who was American.  No luck with that... UNTIL they started speaking! I was amazed... and little did I know I would soon have to learn to communicate with these people or epically fail at life for the next 3 years. 
"PREBOARDING CALL!" <-- One of the attendants was now at the desk.. I was a little confused because we had about two hours  til our flight, but I noticed everyone slowly shuffling up to the desk so I observed and followed the flow. They had their passports out.. so I scrambled around in my back and got out my paperwork and passport. 
*My turn* She asked to see my passport and how long I was planning to visit Germany... 
I told her the good stuff and showed her the proper documents and she stamped me on my way!
I sat back down for about an hour and then boarding began... 
The plane itself was plain amazing! I walked in and down the isle to my seat to get settled. Not even a minute later my seat-mate showed up. She was a little old lady.. (I believe maybe Polish) We smiled and nodded and then I noticed what was going on. Her husband was across the isle all alone and they would be sitting seats away from each other for the entire flight. I stretched my fingers out and prepared myself for the ultimate sign language conversation. lol
After about five minutes of pointing and smiling and nodding, the two window seats had a new pair of occupants and I was not on the other side of the isle :) I had made new plane friends and we were all happy! (Well, mostly) I  still had an  isle seat.. but now it was in the middle row.. with no window to lean on. 
Good thing the seats are super comfy! 
For the next 8 hours I browsed the mini TV screen in front of me. There was a ton of movies and TV shows to choose from... along with music if I wanted to sleep. 
By the time we hit Frankfurt and they turned the cabin light back on, I had watched about 3 movies and 2 episodes of Two and a Half Men. lol

*Touch Down!* 
Willkommen in Deutschland
This is it! I was finally here! ... Or so I thought! This is where the nerves kicked in. 
I had no cell phone.. very little German language skills.. and zero experience! 
I got of the plane, walked down the stairs and I'm clueless. We are outside.. and it's a chilly morning. There's some sort of trolley bus in front of where we got off.. so I just followed the crowd once again! There were no signs and no one was telling us where to go... but I figured I should  probably get on this.. because I would most likely get tackled walking around the air strip. lol I hopped on the trolley and the doors closed the packed compartment.... WIIIIZZZZZ! We were off! It took us around and about until we reached a little drop off point. The crowd got off and started walking into the building and down the halls. Most of the signs were in German and English now.. but it doesn't really help if you don't know where YOU need to be! 
After a few minutes of walking we came to customs. .. I handed my passport to the polizei and smiled. He was so mean looking and just stamped and passed it back to me lol.. I was NOT prepared for that! hmmf haha .. I walked through the gate feeling accomplish and grown up! ... Then I realized I still had another leg of the trip to go. Where the heck is my baggage?!! 
You will find that following the crowd ACTUALLY works to your benefit here lol
I watched as the conveyor belt started and grabbed my luggage as they came around one at a time. Now what?... 
I just started walking toward the exit. HOW WOULD MIKE FIND ME IN THIS HUGE AIRPORT?!!... Stay tuned! 

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