June 26, 2008 by Evin
The journey to 40 shades of green starts with one very long queue at SFO airport. Thankfully, my first flight (of three) was delayed so everyone was running a bit late and therefore being stuck in a long queue meant I was on schedule. My connections were changed to coordinate with the late arrival time of my first flight and I spent the day praying that all my luggage would meet me on the other side, intact! I brought four large footlockers, one large duffel bag, one small rollerboard carry-on, and a laptop briefcase. I was a spectacle at SFO airport and even more so at the Cork baggage claim, where one man joked “Are you moving here?”.
Interesting cultural differences are already obvious, one with regards to willingness to help a stranger and another in regards to group attitudes.
At SFO, only one person offered assistance with my massive amounts of luggage and that was when a gentleman turned my baggage cart so I could more easily reach one of my overweight footlockers to put on the scale. When I arrived in Cork and the luggage started coming around the carousel, I received MANY curious glances as I started hauling 60-some pound footlockers off and on to carts. I had three people approach me there to offer assistance.
Upon arriving in Chicago for my first connection and even in London for my second connection, there was the usual moment of everyone unfastening the safety belts and standing to face forward expectedly awaiting the chance to exit the aircraft. However, the same moment when we arrived in Cork was one filled with laughter. It sounded more like a group of old friends had reunited on the plane, and perhaps that was the case. The jovial atmosphere was so refreshing! Instead of seeing fellow passengers as competitors for a window seat or the best spot in the queue, they seemed more like people meeting at a corner pub.
My husband met me just outside customs and he was a sight for sore eyes. We went outside and a partly cloudy (or should I consider it partly sunny) day greeted me. Then it came time to load all the luggage into a taxi to get to our new home. We initially checked with the first taxi in the queue, but Conor thought a van would be better suited so the first driver as well as the second one, with whom he had been enjoying a friendly debate about something or another, suggested looking farther back. Conor found a taxi van who then drove to the front of the line and the first and second taxi drivers helped us with our luggage while the taxi van driver joked that there was “no hope in hell” of fitting all the luggage into one car.
My jet lag seems to be confused, I awoke at 5:00 a.m. this morning (9:00 p.m. California time). My brain must have thought I just took a long afternoon nap and was ready for a night on the town. Despite the timing of waking up, the sound of rain was welcome. Real honest-to-goodness hear it falling from the gutters rain!! I missed that sound.