Thursday, June 29th, marked the exciting and long awaited #ILE17 departure day. Bags were packed, countdowns dwindled to “0,” and nerves and anticipation were in the air. Students were looking forward and eager to embrace the special four week adventure that they were about to experience on the ol’ sod.
The US #ILE17 Team of Taryn, Casey, Miles, and Tyler had meetings in the morning to get prepared for the journey. They headed to Boston Logan International Airport and met Hannah from Illinois. She was the first to arrive at 10:45 AM, followed by Peirce from Pennsylvania at 1:00 PM.
The group set up camp across from the Aer Lingus Ticket Counter and hunkered down for the long day. The ILE Staff would check in students as they came and give out the new #ILE17 t-shirts, colored in a nice maroon hue (Perfect Galway representation mind you.). Anna T. from Ohio was the next to arrive at the airport and then Abigail from Michigan. Students continued to trickle in for the next few hours with their families, while continually sharing “getting-to-know-you questions” with each other. They even filled their stomachs with some Chinese and Mexican food, Burger King, and caffeine from Dunkin’ Donuts.
John Paul from Connecticut was the last student to arrive with his family and then the #ILE17 Group was complete with the American contingency. Taryn gathered the group and they decided to take a few traditional pictures-commemorating the momentous occasion of our exciting departure day. Then it was straight through to Security. Getting through TSA proved to be a little difficult when a few jars of American peanut butter were confiscated. Not naming any names… (Cough cough, Abigail and Lauren).
Once past Security, the group was able to spot our Aer Lingus 747 with the iconic three leaf clover on the tail-headed straight over the pond to the Emerald Isle. They made their way to Gate C21 and dialed a few last minute phone calls to friends and family, before filling their tummies with even more delicious American grub. Potbelly seemed to be a popular stop for some hot sandwiches with quite a few of students and staff.
The group boarded the plane, buckled their seat belts, and got settled in their seats for the evening. They turned on their in-flight entertainment and nestled in for the five and a half hour flight. Favorite movies for the voyage were Beauty and the Beast, Collateral Beauty, Hidden Figures, and Moana.
A meal was also served enroute and Garret said his pasta was scalding hot that he almost let out a piercing scream. He stifled it in, as he didn’t want to wake up his fellow passengers in slumber, but said he definitely burnt his taste buds. He doesn’t think he will be trying the airplane food on the return flight. Many of the students also caught up on some much needed shut eye, as they knew that it would help them with their jet lag the next day. About an hour before we landed, a glass of orange juice and a blueberry muffin were served for breakfast. All in all, it was a great start to the day and the flight was very smooth with friendly skies. Only a little turbulence at the end, which made Taryn happy, as she doesn’t like to fly when it’s bumpy.
About 8:15 AM Irish time, students were able to catch their first glimpses of the green patchwork quilt of fields on the island of Ireland. They were so thrilled to have done some epic time traveling and couldn’t wait to see what the next day had in store for them.