…And they’re off!

As in, I’m off to England and starting my big, beautiful adventure! After some of the most tiring, emotional, and overpacked (yes, this is also a luggage pun) days of my life, I am actually on a plane that is taking me to my temporary home. My connecting flight is in Dublin, my current location, and I’m already extremely aware of my accent. And outfit. In my leggings and IU spirit shirt (not to mention American flag socks) you might as well put a stamp on my forehead sayings I’M NEW HERE, OKAY?

Leading up to this moment, I have had too many heartbreaking goodbyes to count. Tuesday night was my last Campus Life for the school year, and I’m so thankful to know I have such wonderful people praying for me. They have been quite a blessing for me these past few months! Wednesday night, my sister threw me an American themed goodbye celebration. Foods included but were not limited to: cheeseburgers, tater tots, pizza rolls, macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, and chocolate chip cookies. It was delicious, to say the least. Friends and family all came out to celebrate my adventure, and I know I’m blessed to have that sort of support. Thank you to everyone who came, saying goodbye wasn’t easy for me.

Thursday was the hard day. I had stayed up after my celebration Wednesday night making all 23 of my students goody bags and ended up working on them until 2.30 AM. So on four hours of sleep and high emotions, I went to school not ready in the slightest to say goodbye to Room 20. We were very close, and I learned more from them than any college class I took. We read Oh, The Places You Go (which I’ve based my attitude on for this adventure) and they each signed my copy.

We ate cupcakes on IU plates and napkins (expect Miss Stahl’s, of course SHE HAD TO EAT FROM A PURDUE PLATE!). We worked on our puzzle, talked around the room, and just enjoyed being with each other. At the end of the day I read them the book Wish You More, and it was a very emotional moment and one I will never forget. I will leave the details private for just Room 20 and me (although I will say we went through all the tissues I bought for the day). When we were saying our final goodbyes, the buses had to wait for our class to stop hugging to leave! I know my Room 20 kiddos will be reading this, so I just want you all to know that I love you and I miss you already!

Thursday night I went to dinner with my parents, Katy, and Kacy. I think I was so emotionally drained from the morning that my body decided it couldn’t produce more tears if it tried! I said goodbye to Kacy and see you in 20 days to Kate. Those goodbye didn’t hit until after they left, and I miss them both already.

Friday morning was a blur. Between packing, flight arrangements, and final details, my mind was a brain shaped pile of slime. Ben came home late the night before, so once I had everything packed and ready to go, he was my last goodbye. I was, of course, a sobbing mess, and he was trying to be tough and make a joke, so I know he was feeling it, too. I’m gonna miss that kid, and he’ll miss me, too (regardless if he says it). All that was left was the drive to Chicago with Mom and Dad!

Sidenote: Chicago traffic is horrendous. I’m lucky I made my flight.

Once we pulled up to the airport and grabbed my bags, I said bye to Dad. Another sobbing mess. Mom and I went inside, checked my bags, and got my boarding passes. She walked me as far as she could before hugging me a couple dozen times while we cried and cried. Not even ashamed. She’s the best, she deserves all the tears.

And then I was on my own!


Flight #1 from Chicago to Dublin was first. I read 50 pages of a book, talked to some nice people, watched Storks, and worked on some school work. I had a middle seat, which I’ve learned I have too much leg for. Also, I’m too polite to ask to go to the bathroom unless they’re getting up. Departed 5.15 PM Chicago time and landed 5.15 AM Ireland time. No sleep. But I figured I had a one hour flight from Dublin to London left and I could tough it out!


My flight was canceled because of damage on one of the engines of the plane found last minute by an engineer, so I’m stuck for a bit in the great country of Ireland. I am now flying into Heathrow instead of Gatwick, which messes with my train plans, which messes with my host family’s arrival plans, and which ended up costing more money. HOWEVER! I am not one to dwell on these things. I would have rather they found the damaged engine 5 minutes before the flight than find out when it’s too late. I have no connecting flights or driver arrivals that I have to make in time. Plus, now I can say I spent a whole 4 hours in Ireland! Woohoo!

So far, I have spent some time in the gift shop and grabbed myself a couple souvenir. I treated myself to a wonderful pastry and coffee (free with my I’m-sorry-the-plane-died-on-us coupon) and am sitting at a high rise table thinking about my already crazy adventure.

From here, I’ll go to Heathrow, take a couple of trains down south, meet my host family, return to their home, and most likely sleep until dinner time. I’ve been awake since 8 AM Indiana time, and it is currently verging on 5 AM. By the time my plane lands, I take the train, and arrive at my home stay, it will most likely be noon at home, 4 in England. So what I’m trying to say is…PRAY FOR ME!

Things I’ve Noticed So Far:

  • I can hear my accent.
  • The toilets are a weird rectangle shape. At least at this airport.
  • They have advertisements for sheep farming and it meant a lot to me.
  • Everything is green or orange. EVERYTHING!
  • They served corn beef and hash for dinner on the plane and it was actually delicious and very Irish.
  • I have met 4 other people from IU here in Dublin, whether they be graduates or current students as well.
  • On a lack of sleep, if it try to zone in on something far away my eyes get blurry and it’s like it’s foggy inside.

Okay…that’s enough. I think I’m delirious. Wish me luck!


***UPDATE! By the time I actually posted this, it has been 24 hours since I woke up today/yesterday/tomorrow. I don’t even know anymore. But I’m in London and I’m safe and I’m happy!


6 thoughts on “…And they’re off!”

  1. This is brilliant! So excited for you and can already relate to so many things you have written about that you can only really appreciate when you have to live an experience like this!! The lack of sleep travelling from USA to UK (coming back is not so bad!), hearing your own accent (when you didn’t even realise you had one!) and feeling very conspicuous everywhere you go!! What an adventure, what an experience, what a lesson!!! Praying for you to have the most amazing time and the very Best of British!! The Sylvester family


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