As an extrovert, I’ve made it my mission in life to get to know everyone I meet. My mother says I've never known a stranger.
Flying from Omaha to Chicago
The campanile begins the chime at 3:15 AM. Well, not really. It's just my phone alarm that I've programmed to remind me of my favorite piece of Iowa state tradition even while I'm away.
My phone alarm sounds again at 3:20 AM, reminding me that I'm still in bed. Finally, I maneuver around the dog (who clearly doesn't want me to leave) and roll out of bed.
I pull on the clothes I left out the night before: navy slacks, a colorful tank top, and a purple suit jacket. They're all cute, semi-professional, and, most importantly, comfortable. I head downstairs and pull on my shoes: little black booties, and then steal a watch from my sister's collection.
My next alarm goes off, signaling that it's 3:45 and time for me to leave. Am I ready? Of course not.
I still need to apply minimal makeup, including mascara. Only, I have to sneeze. Instead of long, curly lashes, I have creative looking eyeliner. Sorry, I’m not including this photo.
Officially behind schedule, I scramble around for six or seven more minutes before grabbing my keys and heading out the door, phone flashlight in hand.
I drive from Ceresco, Nebraska to Omaha in pitch black. Next thing I know I'm in... Iowa? Following Google maps isn't always the best plan. However, I eventually make it to the airport and leave my car in daily parking.
Inside the airport, I head through security. My right heel sets off the full body scanner and gets a part down. I don't know what my heel thought it was carrying, but I had know knowledge of it.
The security woman also examined my watch (that Id forgotten to take off) and told me it was pretty. I smile and thank her rather than saying, "I stole it from my sister!"
Within the next hour, I'm sitting on a plane, asleep, and on my way to Chicago.
Adventures in Chicago
I arrive in Chicago at 7 AM and spend a few minutes charging my phone and Googling cafes near the consulate's office. (Yeah, I know. Probably should have done this before I left, but hindsight is 20/20.) After failing to find a cafe on Google maps, I search Starbucks. Guess what? There is literally one across the street from the consulate.
I catch a cab from the airport and make friends with the driver. He was from Asian and had been in America for two years. He arrived without knowing any English and was entirely self-taught, which was very impressive.
I work at the Writing and Media Center at Iowa State, meaning that I have a lot of experience communicating with international students, or in this case, taxi drivers. My best advice for anyone is to always be friendly and genuinely interested in other people.
Applying these beliefs to my own life, I was able to explain to my taxi driver that I had a meeting at 10 AM and needed a ride back to the airport immediately after so that I could make it on my 1 PM flight.
[Side note: not a single one of my friends from Chicago believed that I would make this flight. I love proving people wrong.]
After several minutes of conversation, my taxi driver agrees to pick me up after the meeting with the consulate. Grateful to have that dilemma solved, I run inside, kicking myself for forgetting an umbrella as it was pouring rain.
I then spend the next several hours stressing about every little thing that could go wrong during my meeting about my Greek visa.
Stay tuned for - Part Two: Meeting with the Consulate