International Travel

Yesterday my mom and I left our house at 11:30 am, stopped for lunch, and were at O’Hare by 2:30. Luckily curbside check-in was available because I had A LOT of luggage. As soon as the American Airlines employee lifted my bag he said, “Well this is overweight.” I just laughed and told him I knew, because Luke bought me a Samsonite luggage scale a few years ago for my birthday (seriously the most useful gift!).

$320 later I had my official boarding pass in hand (yeah, seriously that’s how much it cost to check my bags!). My mom and I chatted for awhile and then it was time to go through security!

My flight to Miami was excellent – on time, one empty seat in my row, watched The Mentalist the whole way. Then I had a 3-hour layover in Miami. I stopped for dinner and had my last meal in America (grilled cheese with tomato and guacamole, yum!), and then proceeded to locate a charging station. I got into a good Spanish conversation with some Spanish-speaking folks (I don’t think they were Argentinian, based on the accent — more on that later) about Nook vs. iPad and they never asked where I was from (score!)

The flight to Buenos Aires was PACKED with Argentinians who came to the US for vacation over their summer break. I was surrounded by children ages 5 and younger and began to visualize the 4-am part of the flight where they get stir-crazy and start whining. Luckily these kids were the best and slept THE ENTIRE TIME. Midnight until 10 AM. Amazing.

I can’t sleep on planes so I watched 3 different movies, played games on my iPad, tried to sleep, paced up and down the aisles, and chatted with the Argentinian woman next to me.

Full disclosure: I had never had a conversation with someone who spoke Argentinian Spanish until that moment. WOAH. Even though I was prepared to understand “vos” and the “juh” sound for “ll,” I was seriously struggling with my listening comprehension. Not a good feeling. But as we talked more I started to get used to it.

Once in Buenos Aires I was exhausted and as soon as we got off the plane it was summer. I was wearing jeans, boots, a MU t-shirt, a MU sweatshirt, and my winter coat. It was 90 degrees. Part of the airport is not air conditioned because they’re renovating it. Yuck. After finally making it through immigration and then getting a luggage cart (free! yay!) it was time to wait. I started to panic that they lost my bags but I am proud to announce that all of them arrived, only one bag damaged (not bad considering how much I shoved into each suitcase).

Then it was time for customs. I had to take all my suitcases off the luggage cart and run them down a conveyor belt. The man working customs asked me where I was from as he saw how much I had. I said America, but quickly explained that I would be moving to Salta and that’s why I had so much stuff. He smiled and said okay (he was totally judging at first).

After making it through there it was time to find transportation to the city. The international airport in Buenos Aires is located pretty far outside the city (like Barajas is to Madrid). So I went with a company that took credit cards and had good reviews online. The great driver, in addition to not killing me in the insane traffic (more on that later), also loaded all my luggage into his van and all the luggage into my hotel to the front desk. Yes, I tipped him with the pesos Sara gave me before I left (thanks again! Came in handy!).

Up to my room I went, exhausted and disgusting. It took 24 hours from leaving my house in New Berlin to getting to my hotel room in Buenos Aires, but at least I made it and not a single bad thing happened!

More on first impressions of Buenos Aires later.

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