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Alyssa’s Expat Life—The Kindness and Downfall of Strangers

Feb 15, 2014   //   by astahr   //   Alyssa Stahr, Blog  //  Comments Off on Alyssa’s Expat Life—The Kindness and Downfall of Strangers

As I’m sitting at the airport reflecting on my last morning in the United States for a year, I am reminded of how kind strangers can be—and also what jerks they can be. I don’t expect the common man on the street to know my situation. That I just ended a whirlwind week of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, parties, three moves and saying goodbye to my beloved Maddux, family and freakin’ awesome friends. (Seriously, I have the best friends in the universe.) There has been laughter, tears and a host of anticipation. So, you can probably imagine the emotions that I am feeling while traveling to the airport in my final morning before flying for 36 real-time hours to Jinan. I don’t expect strangers to know this. But, I do expect them to open their eyes and see that I have a crap ton of luggage.

I have a total of four huge bags, my hoodie, my coat, my scarf, my laptop bag, all the while keeping track of my passport, my phone and my brain. The people at the Renaissance were wonderful, and I waited in line for the shuttle with people who were going on a mission trip to Guatemala for the 13th time. They too had a ton of luggage, including medical supplies, yet helped me with my luggage by hoisting it onto their big cart and helping me onto the shuttle.

As I made my way off the shuttle, there were no Delta representatives, no carts, no one to help. I get that it was 4:30 a.m., but if flights are flying, you would think that workers would be working or carts would be at the ready. I had to make two trips in, leaving a lone bag by the door for probably a total of 30 seconds until I figured out a way to hoist it all into two arms. A Funjet lady says “Ma’am you can’t leave that there, they will confiscate it.” I said, “Well I only have two arms, so you can either help me or shut up.”

I was reminded of Funjet when I went to Mexico for my friends’ wedding last month. The travel agent was probably the dumbest, most inefficient person I’ve ever dealt with, and then when we got to the airport, the annoying representative tagged all of our luggage with these big, plastic Funjet luggage tags, even though it was already tagged, so her “people” could find us. I don’t recall Funjet’s “people” greeting us in Mexico or helping us with our luggage at all. It was purely for Funjet’s advertisement purposes, and after today’s run-in, I don’t see myself taking a tropical vacation with their company anytime soon.

Note: The Delta agents at the desk were nice as well; the one that demanded I check-in at the kiosk before hitting the full-service check-in counter, while I had already been waiting in line, and who could clearly see that I was struggling with my 100 pounds of luggage, wasn’t.

Anyway, I digress. This is Alyssa’s Expat Life, not “The Trials and Tribulations of Funjet,” and I just found out that I will start my teaching workshop the day after I land! Shane, the school representative, has confirmed that he’s picking me up at the airport just as expected. I get in 10:30 p.m. tomorrow night and am due at the school at 2:30 p.m. the following day for a week of training. Even though jetlag is sure to be an issue, I’m excited to jump right in, learn and to be given expectations for my time at Always. Plus, I’ll be meeting all of my fellow teachers who will be going through the same thing as myself. And, just as I am filled with a ton of mixed emotions right now as I’m boarding, I will probably feel exactly the same in a year when I leave these strangers-turned-friends I’m about to meet in a couple of days. Bon Voyage!

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