Starting to pack at 6:30 p.m. the night before a trip that’s three weeks long? Not good. Especially when you’ve never flown nor left on a long trip before. Right up to the minute we walked out the door, I was packing, unpacking, checking, and rechecking the contents of my suitcase and bag. To begin with, I didn’t even know how to pack! Where was I supposed to put this, or that? Do I put this in my suitcase, or carry-on? After almost twenty frustrating minutes of failing in my attempts to pack, my mom finally agreed to help, and help she did.
Within an hour, everything was rolled, folded, and shoved into my bags. That’s not to say, however, that everything fit perfectly; to fit everything I needed into my suitcase, Mom and I crammed clothes, towels, and everything else into my bag until there wasn’t even another centimeter of space. To make matters worse, we discovered a huge rip in one of my outer pockets that rendered even more space useless. In the end, though, everything I needed to bring was eventually shoved into my bags.
After the packing fiasco, I showered; later, my family ate dinner. And, after not sleeping for nearly twenty-four hours beforehand, I was practically falling asleep on my feet. But I couldn’t let myself drift off just an hour before we needed to leave, so I kept myself awake as best as I could. Before I knew it, Mom was standing up and announcing that we needed to leave. She and my dad ushered my sister, Ella, and I out the door and into the car. A few miles down the road, I realized I had forgotten something: my toothbrush. A few minutes later, we stopped at the Shell station so I could pick up a new one. My mom ran in and returned a few minutes later laughing; apparently, she wasn’t the only person making a pitstop for a toothbrush at three in the morning.
Within the next ten minutes, we arrived at the middle school. It looked as if we were a few of the last ones there, with the staff parking lot almost full. Once my dad had parked, I hopped out of the car, slung my backpack over my shoulder, and picked up my suitcase. We gave my money to the banker, marked my suitcase with the red duct tape, and, at last, Ishtar went over roll call. Afterwards, I said my good-byes, and we were off.
The bus ride seemed to take forever, though it was only a few hours. I couldn’t sleep throughout the entire ride, regardless of the fact that I was completely exhausted. Near the end, I was delighted to be off the bus; however, it was just to be exchanged for a few hours of waiting outside the airport. There, I truly became bored. After waiting outside and moving through security, again we waited for the plane to be ready to board. A few friends and I went to the bathroom together, and all of us were strangely fascinated by the covers which automatically changed.
Then, we moved to the plane. It was there that I started to get nervous about my first flight. Finally, though, I was able to fall asleep for what felt like a few hours. When I woke up, we were over the clouds and the feeling of nausea faded. I realized I was starving soon after waking and dug through my bag for the protein bar I packed for lunch.
Soon, I fell asleep again; when I woke, we were landing and the feeling of nausea was back strong as ever. Once I was off the plane and in the airport getting my suitcase, I was feeling better by the minute. We waited around outside the airport for a half hour or so, and after we took school buses to the church.
So far, Alaska hasn’t been what I expected; at times, I forget that I’m even here and it feels as though I’m still in Michigan. I’ve had an amazing time so far, though, and I’m looking forward to everything we’re going to do.