On the plane leaving Philadelphia! Destination: London! Excited but nervous!

My arrival at the airport was definitely different than previous experiences of mine.  The airplane stopped at a gate that was just off the runway but not attached to the actual airport itself.  So they had the passengers slowly getting of the airplane by stairs that were pushed up against the door of the plane.  They had to have passengers come off in groups as shuttles came to transport us to the airport. Once I arrived to the terminal I made my way to customs to receive my visa. The line was very long but luckily it moved quickly. I have to say I was pretty nervous about making sure I did everything right but I showed them what they needed, I got my visa stamp, and off I want! Next was baggage claim and I had this very nice English man help me in finding my bag.  From there I had to walk to terminal 3, I’ll note that I was in terminal 1, to find my group that was picking me up! This is where I started things began getting difficult and I let it get the best of me.  I thought there was a train to transport people to terminal 3 but I was unable to find one and by following the signs ended up walking the whole way there.  At this point I realized I might have packed too much because it wasn’t easy for me to transport all of my luggage on my own, but I didn’t have a choice. I eventually made it to terminal 3 but then ran into the next issue of not being able to find my group.   This got me stressed and frazzled because the group was supposed to be leaving the airport at noon, and it was 11:45am. Although I knew they would wait for me I don’t like being late for things.  At this point I began to panic and breakdown because I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have change to work the payphones to call my on-site director. I didn’t have Wi-Fi anymore because I only received it for 45 minutes and I started my time when I arrived so that I could inform family that I made it safely.  I had another English man see me struggling and he came to talk to me and attempt to help but that only made me embarrassed since I was tearing up and so I toughened up and told him I would find them! I went to go ask this one group I saw for help because they were sort of watching me put the sign I saw this girl hold up wasn’t the group I was a part of.  I went and asked anyways and it turned out it was my group! I finally made it to where I needed to be thank goodness! It turns out at the end of the arrival instructions it said to look for this bag rather than a sign, and the bag was clear as day but I didn’t read that far into my instructions to know that was what I was looking for.

There were about eight other people there and we had to wait for one more before we could leave!  Unfortunately, she never showed up and no one was able to find out why so our site director decided we’d leave while one other girl working for the program stayed behind.  We then had a van transport us to where we would be staying; most of us were staying in the same dorm except for two other girls who were going to be staying someplace else.  We got our oyster cards set up, which are cards needed for unlimited travel on buses and the tube! The tube is the underground train system here! After, we all went to our local pub with our on-site director so we could get something to eat and get any question we had answered which was nice.

Flying all day Friday and then arriving in London Saturday morning was extremely exhausting and after my first day I couldn’t wait to go to bed! I’m excited to see what adventures this trip brings though!


2 thoughts on “Arrival!

  1. Wow! You had an exciting arrival. In spite of all the challenges, you did it–you asked for help, you walked forever, and you connected with your group. I look forward to your future posts. Michele

  2. Alyssa,
    I also had some very frustrating experiences in the airports, especially with communication issues so you are definitely not alone! I was so worried that I was the only person having trouble with this all and I teared up on several occasions. I hope now that you have gotten settled in and have hopefully gotten some rest things are going better for you!

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