This particular story began about a week ago. If one can even put a beginning to any story. As if life was happening in sections with clearly defined beginnings and endings... But i digress. This particular story pretty much began a week ago. (Sure - I'd realized some time before (maybe 2 weeks before?) that four months of nothing but study and work might not be such an appealing thing, even if the exams in October will be huge and scary and final.)
Anyway - about a week ago I started contemplating the idea of visiting the states. I glanced at it from the side. Toyed with it. Didn't take it too seriously. After all, I couldn't afford it, money nor time-wise... I started bouncing the idea with some of the noders responsible for me even contemplating to visit a country I'd sworn not to set foot on while there was still a certain government in power.
Friday - almost a week ago - I had to return to Bern for the week-end. Why not fetch my passport? I mean - it doesn't hurt to have a passport with me - right? Even if I'm not seriously considering a trip outside of Europe? Hm... Oh and, asking my friends for a giant map of the states so I could get an idea of where everybody lived didn't mean that I'd really travel there soon, right?
Ok, I admit, by then I was pretty much set on ignoring the fact that I needed all the time available for my studies and just say: "sc**w it - I'm leaving." (At least for three weeks...)
To begin with there was a list of four people I really wanted to meet - no matter what. Jane (my sis in Chicago), Dann (the best teacher ever), Jared (who just has to come inline skating with me) and Jeremy (best proofreader and bearimitator ever). Turns out they don't exactly live too close to each other: Chicago, Dallas (w00t?! Texas!? I'm not gonna set foot on Texas... oh wait - I am...), Columbus (OH) and Auburn (AL - but close enough to make that Atlanta).
I did some pondering, then I realised that my passport was still expired. Darn! On Monday I went to talk to the nice lady behind the counter of the local civil matters office (or whatever you call that darn thing - it's very late here and I'll have to get up again very very soon). The nice lady told me that getting a new passport would take 3 months at least, an emergency passport at least 1 week if I paid 100sFr. or 3 weeks if I wanted it for free. And oh - yes - I could try and get my current one extended - within about a week's time. I'd have to send it in though.
In the meantime my list of four people had grown to a list of at least 10 people and kept growing. As did my wish of visiting the states.
I went home on Monday, wrote a letter to the passport office that I'd have to go to an unexected trip to the states soon and very desperately needed my passport renewed - I'd be very gratefull for their help.
I kept working like mad on stuff for uni, so I could afford nicking off for a while in a few weeks time.
On Wednesday morning the passport returned - extended. Cindy started jumping up and down very excitedly.
On the same day I had to return to Bern to hand in some of my work, I also went to a travel agent. I told the very nice girl behind the desk about my idea and looked at her with puppy eyes hoping that she could come up with a good solution. The whole adventure was complicated by Jeremy leaving the states on August the 11th - so I had to be in Atlanta before that.
She came up with a wonderful plan which involved a flight from Zurich to Atlanta (where I'd spend some time), then I'd fly on to Dallas (spend some time there again), fly on to Chicago (again spend some time), return to Zurich. It sounded like a wonderful plan. Until she began on checking on availability of flights. Turns out they are booked out until August 14th.
I sighed inwardly as my growing four people list had just shrank by one. Still - it was the best I could get, and leaving late would give me the time to get some studying done before leaving. I noddded and told her to block the flights - I'd think about it and let her know by Friday.
I left the bureau, strolled Bern's hot hot streets with a happy and a sad heart. On a hunch I decided to try out the travel office of our marode national airline (SWISS). I entered, told the lady my story, she started typing stuff into her computer, smiling at me, telling me that the most important point was to get my bum over to the states. Would Friday be ok?
I swallowed - erm - that was quick... Maybe. Donno. Could people even put up with me that soon? Were they willing to put up with me on such short notice? This option would make my four people list somewhat bigger again - still... Something more than 24 hours to get everything sorted? But hey - the thrill of getting away - going travelling again...
I've been missing the road lately. Walking the road with my backpack on, not knowing where I'd be the next day. Meeting great people. I haven't really travelled for almost 2 years now... Last real travel travel was in 2001 when I went to Germany all alone and met Andrew on my birthday. Who then travelled with me for a while, spent Christmas with us, almost got himself killed int he mountains by me trying to coax him up hills which were hard enough to get up to, let alone come down with all bones intact. He, who eventually managed to introduce me to E2. (There goes another story :)).
I told the lady that sounded like a completely crazy idea - but that I liked it. She said she'd give me a call the next day - with offers. I nodded and left.
Back in my flat in Bern I was exhausted - what a rollercoaster. Up and down and up and down... I also got a call from my dad telling me that the 2000sFr for a brand-new Titanium had just died. (Oh, great - so i got that money spare now :)).
I sat and thought for a while. I talked to my landlords. I talked to my parents - "oh, you might be leaving on Friday - heh - why not?" I decided to call my four people list in the states - would Friday be ok for them? I spent an evening on the phone talking to people growing more excited about the whole idea by the minute.
I spent some time jumping up and down in the kitchen. Then I started dancing to stupid old daggy music. The I went wheeee for while. thenI smiled and laughed and giggled. Then i realised the lady had not yet found a flight for me yet, and calmed down a bit.
That was last night. I didn't sleep much then. I tried getting things sorted so I could indeed pack within 24 hours. Eventually I did sleep.
This morning. I called SWISS telling them I only wanted one flight in and one out of the states, on tomorrow and one on 11th August. One to Dallas and one from Chicago. I'd work out the part in between once I'd be in the states. She said she'd do her best.
I packed my stuff and left to meet up with some people from the students' committee. Then the wait began. Midday, still no phone call. My heart was sinking... 12.56 - my mobile went off - we have a flight for you. Tomorrow 9.55am off Zurich airport. And I could afford it.
I jumped up and down, I told the lady I loved her, that I wished I could hug her here and there. She had a smile in her voice when she gave me the rest of the details.
Next thing i called my mum, then I grabbed my stuff and went emergency presents shopping. I also paid for my ticket. Grew less excited and slghtly more worried. Cos I'm nervous... And happy. And excited.
So - it's midnight here now - I'll get up in less than 4 hours so I can catch my train to the airport and pray for it to be on time. My bags are packed, most things are sorted. Jane knows I'll be finally visiting her (after five years) and she's all excited. Dann knows where and when he'll "have to" pick me up. I am shattered because I haven't slept too much lately at all.
I'm sorry this was so babbly and long and... I'm almost too tired again to parse language correctly... Oh well... Here the last details - if any of you feel like coming to pick me up - or meet me, or meet me, or give me lifts :)
FRI July 18, 2003:
0955 Zurich ZRH (Flight L3002)
1410 Dallas DFW Terminal A
MO August 11, 2003:
1625 Chicago O Hare International Terminal 5 (Flight LX009)
TU August 12, 2003:
0755 Zurich ZRH
My plan so far is the following:
Dann will pick me up at Dallas airport tomorrow, entertain me for a few days ;), then drive me to Atlanta for the w/e of the 26th (which happens to be me b'day) to meet up with Patrick and Jeremy many many more noders. (After this i have no clue what will happen. I'll just somehow need to make my way up to Chicago (greyhound?) and enjoy being on the road again. Any advice etc welcome!)
Right - I shut up now - I promise I'll keep a travel log and stuff... Bedtime now... Sorry about the lack of links. Need sleep now.
I love you all - *hugs*
Yes, there are no links - this is due to the fact that I'm dog-tired and I have to get up again in 3 hours...