Monday, April 14, 2014

Boston: How to Travel When Everything Goes Wrong

a recollection from my trip 
Hello lovelies! I hope you are all having a fantastic week! I should be at school right now but I decided to take the day chilling at home and catching up on a lot of work that I missed. On Wednesday I went to San Francisco Airport for my late flight to Hartford, Connecticut. As the title implies, absolutely everything went wrong on this trip. It was my first trip alone and my goodness, just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. So follow me on my journey to learn more about what to do when a) your flight is extremely delayed b) emergency pitstop in Texas c) luggage gone missing and more!
So Smith College was nice enough to give me a free ticket. This really limited the flexibility for me to book my own flight. The original flight was supposed to go to Washington Dulles (in D.C.) and then fly to Hartford, Connecticut. While that in itself sounds painful, I was willing to take that step on my first flight alone. The Washington flight was delayed severely and I was left without a connecting flight. After much pleading and begging at the self help desk, I was given a ticket to New Jersey and then another connecting flight to Boston. The Bradley International Airport at Hartford is extremely small and so there aren't very many flights. My options were to either stay at the airport overnight or take the flight to Boston. The school is about 2 hours away on bus from Boston. I was upset but that didn't seem too bad. When I landed in New Jersey, I realized that the flight to Boston had already left. I was crying at one of the cafe tables because it seemed like absolutely nothing was going right. I called the flight agency a million times to try to figure out what to do. I was put on standby for the 10 AM Boston flight and scheduled for the 12 pm one. It was maybe 8 in the morning and staying at the airport for that long seemed like an awful idea. So the flight agency booked me a ticket for the train.

Somehow, I managed to get on the Amtrack from New Jersey to Penn Station in New York and then finally to Springfield, Massachusetts. That was a struggle in itself since I am TERRIBLE at directions and feeling secure in my decisions. I even had to pay $10 more to the conductor on the New Jersey transit because he didn't understand how an e-ticket worked. I payed $3.50 for an outrageously small amount of soup at the Penn Station because I was kind of hungry. I saw this pretty attractive guy at the station but a las, he had a girlfriend. We were on the same train and everything too. I still think trains are pretty romantic. I thought my bad luck had ended when I met a small group of people from New York all traveling to Smith College.

That's when I get the call telling me that my luggage is not in Hartford (where I shipped it first..) but rather in New Jersey. My luggage had EVERYTHING in it, from pajamas, to toothpaste, to a blanket. I was on the phone for about 2 hours with United Airlines and the travel agency trying to secure it. In the end I managed to convince them to ship the luggage to Boston so that my parents could pick it up the next day. The admin people at Smith were so kind and I made do with some of my host's pajamas and a sleeping bag one girl wasn't using. 

In drastic situations such as this one, it's important to keep calm and to always keep moving. Time is really of the essence. Since I've never really been on the East Coast, I had to constantly ask people if I was traveling in the right direction. Make sure to keep some extra money on you so that you're not kicked out of the train in some strange stop. If you know anything about me, you should get the sense that I'm not a spontaneous person. I like knowing exactly where I'm going and following the plan. This trip was a painful experiment in being flexible and ready for anything. 

The college was beautiful! I'm sorry I don't have any photos from that. I think Smith is really the right place for me. My parents, and counselor, really want me to go to Berkeley but I felt the warm fuzzies at Smith telling me it is the right place. If things turn out the way I want them to, I will be attending Smith next fall. 

I toured around Boston on Sunday and my parents dropped me off at the Bradley International Airport for my trip back home. The trip to Philadelphia went according to plan and I was crossing my fingers that nothing else went wrong. Get the gist yet? Well... the monitor said the plane was to depart on time but an app on my phone said the plane was supposed to arrive in SFO by 1 am. I was NOT OKAY with that. I had school the next day and homework to be done. People were giving me all kinds of mixed messages but in the end, it was supposed to land at one (like my app had originally stated). The plane was being diverted to Texas for refueling due to the bad weather (tornadoes and thunderstorms in the mid west). We boarded an hour later than supposed to, and I was just feeling very frustrated. 

Surprisingly I met a guy on the plane who was sitting right next to me. He had finished touring NYU. He was really nice but in a way that was like "whoa, you're WAY too nice." Like he kept mentioning how lucky he was to be sitting next to me and how he'll remember this moment for a really long time. When the drink cart came around, he ordered another one of what I ordered just so I could have it because he already had one. He also offered me half his sandwich to which I politely said no. We talked sporadically (I was really tired..) and he comforted me when I thought we were all going to die while being stuck in a thunderstorm. I've never had that experience before. I did fall asleep on his shoulder because people's shoulders tend to be way more comfortable than the seat. He added my on Facebook and asked for my instagram. 

So I got home at 4 am and you can expect a musings tomorrow! That was one crazy trip. 

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