what i learned in my 36 hours of traveling so far

Hello from Greece!

I’ve been traveling with my friend Julia for the past couple of days and wow, let me tell ya – I’ve already learned a ton.

We left Seattle and took a BoltBus to Vancouver (since the flights from Canada were cheaper) on Friday at 10am and went through customs, and arrived to Vancouver at around 2pm. We immediately took a train to the Vancouver airport (and frankly weren’t too impressed by the airport). On the way, we stopped at a train stop to grab calzones, which were delicious and hit the spot.

We checked our bags and then waited to board. We boarded smoothly at around 6pm, where I pretty much started and finished reading The Hating Game on the plane (SUCH a good book!) The flight to London was 8 hours and overnight. I could barely sleep though because my right leg was pressed against the leg of the man next to me and there was a toddler across the aisle from us who would not stop crying. I woke up from my naps with sticky eyeballs and a parched throat. Overall though, I had a great experience with Air Canada considering it was an international flight.

We landed in London for our layover at noon (their time), and settled at our terminal. The Heathrow airport was pretty cool because it’s an open, airy space with tons of shops and fancy cafes. We bought a salad and almost sat down to eat it when I luckily re-checked our boarding time and realized we were supposed to be boarding right then and there. Eeeek, it was such a close call! We got on the much smaller plane and sat for about 3.5 hours before we landed in Athens International Airport.

This is where the nightmare begins: we went to baggage claim and whomp whomp, our suitcases weren’t there. We were told that Air Canada and Aegean Airlines operate their baggage system differently, so Aegean may have delayed the flight for the baggages. It was already close to midnight, and we needed to check into our hostel, so we went ahead and left the airport.

Julia and I weren’t sad, or angry, or annoyed about our lost luggage. We told ourselves that everything would be okay, that it would turn up. We refused to have lost luggages ruin our trip. Everything valuable was still with us, it was only everything that would make our trip comfortable that was gone. We were determined to remain positive and optimistic – and we did.

Yesterday, I realized that Julia and I are really good at looking at the glass half full – we focused on what we wanted to do that day and all the sights we wanted to see – albeit being stinky and greasy and overall not photogenic – and being extremely open-minded with one another and the culture around us. We were talking at dinner and noticed that we haven’t had much of a culture-shock; we didn’t meet anyone who didn’t speak English when we were asking for questions, and the people are generally friendly in Greece (except when late at night). But for the most part, I think it’s because both Julia and I are super open-minded and flexible (physically and psychologically, ha).

Julia and I are also staying in a 4-person mixed dorm in a hostel in Athens, and call us having a lucky experience, but we have had no issues so far. Before leaving for the study abroad programs, our directors told us to be flexible, because so many things can go wrong.

Personally, I’m excited to see what other challenges we face because it really tested our temper, personality types, and overall capability to keep going.

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