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Journals from Vienna, Austria

2014-08-14 Amazing race: Linfield style

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At Portland airport,

A traveler should plan on arriving at the airport early. Our group had to wake up and be ready to go to the airport before four in the morning and leave our homes at night.  It takes a while depending on whether or not you are driving from Salem, Oregon or flying from out of state. Once we arrived at the Portland airport, we had to go through the process of having our bags checked in. If we were to compare this process to the obstacle course on the Amazing Race, then checking in our suitcases or backpacks would be a detour. 
Why would checking in our suitcases be considered a detour? It’s easy, because it requires two people to work together to get the suitcase to meet the requirements of weight allowed. One person has to tell the other whether they are over the weight limit or just the right weight, while the other person has to dig through their entire bag to find any more items that would be deemed unnecessary to the trip and throw them out. It’s a hard job but it’s one of the sacrifices that you make to travel abroad. 
After that, you have to go through security, considered a fun multitask. Here is what you do: you take off your backpack, while taking off your shoes. Then you throw the shoes into a box along with another box that has any electronics that you pulled out from your backpack. You go through security and you quickly put your electronics in your bag with one hand, while using your other hand to grab your shoes and drop them on the floor. And you rush out to meet everyone else but rushing out can lead you to a lot of trouble. 
For example, after our group had gone through security, I was straggling behind and rushing to catch up with them. When we started walking towards our gate, I suddenly realized that I was missing the most important thing: my passport and boarding pass. It scared me. I called to the nearest person to say I was heading back and I ran quickly back to security with my side bag banging my knees. I picked up plastic boxes to find that long white paper and little blue book. Luckily, I found them quickly and rushed back to meet up with my group.  
We were then all ready to go on the plane, ready to fly, only to find out that even if we, the passengers, were ready, the plane might not always be ready. We had a five-hour delay to Dallas, and this problem would cause us to be late for our next plane and might delay our group further from reaching Vienna. However, Linfield students and Amazing Racers have one thing in common: they improvise. A couple members of our group discussed the issue at hand with an airline employee and we found a special deal: We would take a plane from Portland to Amsterdam. It would be a long flight, but it would get our group to Vienna earlier than expected. Therefore, we took the deal. 
We departed later than expected and flew for ten hours straight. It wasn’t bad; the group did three major things while on the plane; sleeping, eating, and watching movies. After we landed in Amsterdam, we hit a roadblock, an issue that might or might not be easily resolved. While walking through Amsterdam airport, we went to the boarding pass machines to get our passes for the next flight. Yet, no matter what we did, we could not get our boarding passes to Vienna. We quickly solved that problem by bringing up the issue with one the employees at the airport; we were then, given instructions on how to solve the problem and we followed them. It helped us immensely. 
Next, the group boarded the plane straight for Vienna at 10 am. It would only take us about an hour or more to reach the final leg of the race. The small plane offered us some relaxation from the rush we had faced earlier in the day with classical music and great hospitality of the stewards and stewardess. 
The plane landed in Vienna 15 minutes before lunch time. We had arrived in Vienna more than 6 hours earlier than what we were expected to. We may have come across a lot of challenges to get to Vienna, but it makes us more prepared for more of the detours and roadblocks to come. 
It’s day one of the 2014 Vienna Study Abroad.
Jade Boyd

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