Saying Goodbye: Departure to D.C.

Authored By:

Olivia L.

I have been preparing for this exchange year since I received my confirmation letter, and I knew one of the hardest things I would have to do was to say goodbye. I am not an unprepared person so I knew I would have to mentally prepare for this moment months in advance. One tip I might give to others is to take in each moment spent with family and friends during the summer while remembering that there can be a life without them. For me, I needed to remember that I would be okay without THEM and that they will be okay without ME. In this way, it made it much easier to go away knowing that, while we would miss each other, everything would be okay. After all, it is never goodbye only see you later.

Today was the day I had been dreading most. I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning and, honestly, I didn't feel anything. I didn't have a single emotion. You wanna know why? IT WAS 4 OCLOCK IN THE MORNING!... Anyway... I started to wake up once I put my luggage in the car and my sister and mother drove me to the local airport. We were meeting my dad, my brother, his girlfriend, my best friend, her mother, and my boyfriend (the whole gang!). As we stood talking, waiting for the gate to open, my emotions finally woke up. It wasn't until I was taking pictures with my friends and family that I felt that wave of excitement that occurred everytime I thought of this next year in Germany. And yet, my heart was in my stomach knowing I wouldn't see these people in person for the next year. Once the gate opened, I hugged each of them individually. It wasn't until the last one that I started to tear up, but then I looked at their faces. They were all so full of pride and love. That gave me all the courage I needed to walk through towards security. It was the perfect goodbye. I waited at the gate to board the plane that would take me to Denver so that I could board a connecting flight to Dulles... and that was when I realized there is no such thing as a perfect goodbye.

Soon, the flight attendants told us that the flight had been cancelled due to routine matinence work on the plane. I then waited on stand-by to get my ticket rebooked for about another hour. Once it was my turn, she informed me that there were no other flights out of this airport that would get me in by today. She did, however, find a flight that would land me in DC by 9 p.m. so I took it. My mother and sister then picked me up to go home while waiting for my to drive me the four hours to Denver airport. My dad was the one who drove me to the airport for my interview so I felt it came full circle with him being the one to see me off for the year. Because of the cancellation and my dad wanting to walk me to, it took longer than usual to get through the airport, about 2 hours. Upon arrival at the gate, my dad and I parted ways and I had the same flood of emotions I had early that morning. As I was waiting in the airport, I started writing this blog... but unfortunately I went to hit save and because I didn't have any internet it deleted all of my work. Woops! Then I got another batch of exciting news! The airport was having a ground delay, meaning every plane on the ground would not be departing :))))). At this point I started to become a bit frustrated, but I didn't let that take hold of me. Instead, I remembered all the reasons that I felt this year would be beneficial, and how a few silly flights would not deter me from my studies. Before delay, it was scheduled to depart at 3:55, but instead it left the ground at 5:40. 

I was very glad that CBYX has systems in place for situations like mine. Before today none of my flights had been cancelled or delayed so I didn't have any idea what to do. CBYX gives you emeergency contact information for such cases so that they know when you're arriving and let you know how they are going to pick you up. Lily, the CIEE employee, was very understanding about my situation and kept a calm, pleasant demeanor. While today was not ideal, I am glad I went through it. It taught me how to learn in a quickly in a situation that I do not fully understand. This day gave me a good insight to how I will deal with future predicaments within the CBYX program year. It also forced me to realize that I cannot do everything on my own and I don't have control over every situation. I am a bit of a control freak so it was nice to be reminded of these things before I ventured on this new journey. I encourage all CBYXers and anyone considering this program to learn this lesson.