From baggage claim at Athens International Airport:

I know what you’re thinking: “There’s no way that she can be writing this blog post from baggage claim. She’s making all of these locations up!” False. Downloading the Google Docs app to my iPhone has changed the game. Anyway, I’ve been standing here for thirty-two minutes, so I figured I’d exert my energy into something at least mildly productive.

While I expected my travels today to be relatively quick and painless—I was so wrong. Here’s a little travel advice for that I wish I’d known circa 12 hours ago:

  • Aegean Airlines actually weighs all of their carry-on bags. I’ve taken nearly one-hundred flights across about a dozen airlines in my short lifetime, and somehow, I’ve never come across an airline that actually. weighs. carry-on. bags. Evade the $97 fee that I faced for being 2 kilos over the maximum.
  • – Three-hour flights can turn into five-hour ones when an airline insists on weighing everyone’s carry-on items (but still doesn’t begin the boarding process until, what was supposed to be, twenty minutes before takeoff).
  • – Don’t eat the food on the Aegean flights. I generally hate airplane food, but having not eaten all day, I attempted to down a room temperature (or plane temperature) mush that was ultimately not worth the tummy ache.
  • – Expect to wait at least 45 minutes before the baggage claim belt even begins to distribute luggage. I should have grabbed a cup of coffee…or started this post half an hour ago.
  • This blog post is turning into a roast of Aegean Airlines. Yikes. If I were a Yelp person, they’d be in for quite the treat.

 

***

So, my bag came. Rather quickly compared to everyone else’s actually. And last night, after hopping on two wrong busses, I finally made it to the Airbnb where I’ll live for the next fifteen days.

I’ve now got a three-day weekend to spend exploring Athens, catch up on interview transcriptions, and document remaining field notes to my computer. On Monday, I’ll begin working with El Sistema Greece and their orchestra and choir programs across three different refugee camps. I’m very excited to get back in the field and learn more from this organization over the next two weeks!

Thankful for…
1) The fact that I got here safely—regardless of how annoyed/exhausted I was throughout that entire travel experience.
2) Modern day technology—being able to FaceTime and Skype my family several times throughout the last two weeks has made all inklings of homesickness disappear; being able to Google “nearest grocery store” or “Top 10 Cutest Coffee Shops in Athens” has really made this trip so much easier…and Instragram-able; being able to stream the entire first season of This is Us has made all this time alone feel much less lonely (but don’t worry Northwestern–I’m getting my work done first!).
3) Sunshine—while it’s over 100 degrees in Athens today, and I’ve been profusely sweating since I left my apartment this morning, my trip has been nothing but sunny thus far, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!