And in the blink of an eye, what seemed like one of the longest days of our lives no longer was, and we were a grateful bunch of kids.
My study abroad journey began on Tuesday, August 22, when my lovely parents drove me to the Atlanta airport. There I checked in, sent my luggage into the conveyer belt abyss, and met up with the Claire, Abby and Hannah. Just as we sat down to catch up, we got the call that the flight which the other 20-or-so FHU students were on was delayed by two hours. This distressing news was followed by more news that if they didn’t make it to the connecting flight we were on, we were to fly to Brussels alone. After a couple seconds of disbelief and self-reflection, we convinced ourself that we could do it; if four college-aged girls couldn’t navigate their way through an airport, they may have bigger problems to handle. So, after long goodbyes to our parents, we entered into the dreaded security line and retreated to gate E30 to Brussels, Belgium.
We boarded the plane with ease and were surprised to hear the connecting flight from Nashville would arrive soon and we would be waiting on them to board our flight. Fast forward 8 hours and 34 minutes, and we touched down feeling grateful for legroom and fresh air. A small hour-and-a-half train ride later and we were officially small-town Henderson, Tennessee, students living life in small-town Verviers, Belgium.
For lunch, we went straight to the FHU facility and made sandwiches on real baguettes (which were even better than Panera’s). We tidied up our belongings and set out for an evening walk around the quaint city. The walk concluded with a pizza dinner, and with full stomachs and weary bodies, we headed back to our “home” to regroup and rest before taking on day two overseas.
As I reflect on the past day (technically two) I have a few tips for future travelers. First, be prepared for anything and everything that could come your way; traveling can come with several issues, and being flexible and ready to take anything on is key. Second, SLEEP ON THE PLANE. Especially when it is an overnight flight and landing brings you into the beginning of a whole new day. And third, always try to keep a positive attitude. I find this the most important, because after an exhausting journey, everyone is on the verge of biting each other's heads off. So I encourage you to be the one who smiles at the people who are frowning and remember you are blessed to be where you are.
- Alexa Sherman, Sophomore
Photos by Amelia Beames, Sophomore