Hi friends! It is Wednesday June 28, 9:16pm local time as I write to you guys aboard an airplane headed to Copenhagen, Denmark. Currently, we’re somewhere above Canada, headed north.
I made friends with the little girl sitting right in front of me in aisle 41! Her name is Natalia, and she is the most talkative, energetic and outgoing three-and-a-half year old I have ever met! She actually spent the last 15 minutes sitting on my lap in her adorable Christmas PJ’s, watching “Beauty and the Beast”. Her exhausted father used this window of opportunity to take a much-needed power nap. Unfortunately, my two brothers, seated on either side of me, were engaged in some violent movies involving guns and blood, and I had to shield Natalia’s curious eyes from the gore. I’d hate to taint and corrupt the mind of a child so pure and innocent. Indeed, I marvel at the goodness of a child. There is something magical about a child– in them, you see an ethereal being, not yet tainted by the darkness of life’s evils and cruel realities. Looking into Natalia’s big green eyes, I now understand many parents’ insistence on sheltering their children from all things bad. Unfortunately, by force of nature, a child’s innocence is the fastest to go. I really do believe everyone is born good and pure, though, like a fresh white rose petal. Slowly but surely, as time goes on, the petals fall and the white rose withers to brown. By college, I am sure most young adults are stripped of their childhood innocence. Then you look at drug dealers, pedophiles, terrorists, murderers, and ask how these humans came to perform the evils they have. It’s our circumstances and ideologies shaped from external influences that dictate our actions and mold the people we become. I do not believe that humans are born with a predisposition for evil. I simply cannot believe that.
Anyway, Natalia has been the highlight of my plane ride thus far, though, the flight has not been half bad! It is my first time riding with Scandinavian Airlines, and I am thoroughly pleased with the in-cabin service. Greeting us at our seats were a bottle of water, a blue blanket and blue earbuds. The flight attendants were all super friendly and graciously accommodated the young family seated in front of us, who was traveling with an eight-month-old baby boy and an uncontrollable Natalia.
Dinner was served a couple hours ago. Unlike Cathay Pacific airlines, which offers a (limited) variety of dining options, this airline served every passenger the same meal of mildly spicy salmon and bok choy atop steam white rice; salad with thousand island dressing; a toasted bun with a frozen block of butter; cream crackers; and chocolate-glazed cheesecake. The meal itself was pretty good, but I am far from satiated.
I watched about 75% of the critically acclaimed movie, “Hidden Figures”, which dramatizes the true story of three colored women in the 1960s, who, in all their mathematical genius, helped NASA successfully land the world’s first man on the moon. Along the way, these women faced countless racial and gender barriers that would have halted most individuals. Beyond countless odds, these three women, through indefatigable tenacity and an internal fire demanding justice, not only proved their worth to their white male colleagues and superiors, but also inspired millions of young women and racial minorities to transcend their circumstances. I plan on finishing the movie after I’ve finished this post.
While we were checking in our bags, I did have a couple air-head moments that merited a thorough self-scolding. I insisted on printing out our luggage tags, as I wanted to learn how to operate a kiosk with ease. Air-head moment #1 happened when I tried to scan our passports on the scanner. No matter how long I held the passport in the position indicated, the barcode would not scan! As my dad quickly pointed out, I was not placing the passport in the correct scanning area, which explained the dilemma. So I printed out 5 luggage tags for our five checked bags. All was swell until I began tagging the bags. Ready for air-head moment #2? I disregarded the instructions explicitly printed on the tag telling you to cover the “red box” with the adhesive, and made up my own method of sticking on the tag. After that, we had to keep part of the luggage tag as a receipt, but I handed the receipt to my mother, thinking it was trash. There’s air-head moment #3. As if things could not get worse, I mistakenly tagged a carry-on luggage, and had to take off the tag and put it on the correct bag. I’d say air-head moment #4 was the most face-palm-worthy of them all. Definitely not one of Belicia’s proudest moments. Thankfully, we went to the airline desk and got everything sorted out. It’s through mistakes that I learn, though, and I now know how to: a) print out luggage tags, and b) stick on a luggage tag. Seemingly no-brainer things, but when you’re so used to having your brother or dad take care of these tasks, you never give yourself the opportunity to learn self-sufficiency. So, I’m glad I screwed up the way I did today, in a low-stakes situation (we arrived at the airport three hours before boarding, so time was not a big issue). I hope to screw up more in the future, so I can emerge more knowledgable of what NOT to do. I think that’s the beauty of being in college– you are in a new environment facing a higher level of independence, but because you’re young and still learning, you are allowed the flexibility to make relatively easily-forgiven mistakes. Imagine going straight from high school to the real world. I’d be clobbered dead out there! Which makes me all the more grateful for my chance to go to college, not just to earn a degree, but to learn maturity and professional development.
It is now 10:31pm, local time. When we arrive in Copenhagen, it’ll be roughly 2:00pm origin time. To my understanding, we will check in to the hotel, freshen up and catch up on some much needed sleep. To make this trip a more educational experience, I plan on doing extensive research on the major cities we will visit, including Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; and St. Petersburg, Russia. Oh man, am I excited to see Northern Europe! I’m especially eager to watch the Russian ballet– not sure which ballet company is performing, but Russians have dominated the field since ballet’s inception.
I may go freshen up now in the tiny airplane bathroom, which, to my pleasant surprise, is cleaner than expected. Gonna try to take a nap, as it is nearing bedtime, but the prospects are unlikely, with a wailing baby sitting right in front of us. No malice there, just calm resignation to reality. Man, traveling with baby triplets must have been a nightmare for my parents!
Origin time: 2:51pm
Greetings from Copenhagen! I’m currently sitting in the lobby of Crowne Plaza hotel, a little ways off from the airport. Dad, Mom and Austin are at the front desk, checking in, while Chris and I are keeping watch of our seven pieces of luggage. Man, am I eager to get to our hotel room and freshen up.
The flight ended pretty uneventfully. Natalia and her baby brother ended up falling asleep, and I took a quick nap as well, after struggling for a bit to find a comfy position. I woke up to the smell of warm bread, just as flight attendants were passing out breakfast trays. We had a quick filler meal of strawberry Greek yogurt with granola; ham, lettuce and Swiss cheese; bread with (again) frozen solid butter; fruit salad; and orange juice. After breakfast, I finished the remainder of “Hidden Figures” and started watching Tim Burton’s timeless classic, “Beetlejuice”. The plane landed before I had a chance to finish this eccentric Burton-esque horror-comedy, so I’ll have to watch it on the way back.
So, Copenhagen. What stood out to me about Denmark’s capital was the luscious greenery of the city, peppered with black and orange rooftops of Danish houses. Even while the plane was landing, I caught a glimpse of the green backdrop, and thought, “We really are in Denmark now.” The landing was a bit shaky, but the point is, we arrived safely and soundly.
And now, for a moment of boy-crazy indulgence. Also seated in front of me, right next to Natalia’s family, was a young man with a slight beard, looking dapper in his smart-casual business attire. He was playing with Natalia, and I heard a distinct British accent in his voice. If you know me, you know that I’m into men with light facial hair and exotic accents. This guy fit both criteria. I stole glances at him throughout the plane ride, and totally would have struck a conversation with him, if my parents were not seated next to me. Lol. Once we landed, he got a chance to turn around to face my direction. We shared a brief, knowing smile with one another, partly referencing the silliness/cuteness of Natalia, and (at least for me) memorizing the other’s face for keepsake. Welcome, friends, to the world of Belicia’s fantastical dreams, where a girl meets a handsome, kind, intelligent suitor on a plane, falls madly in love with him and ends up staying in Copenhagen forever, where she resides in his 15-acre mansion and lives the rest of her life following her dreams, whatever they may be. Andddd… *snap. Back to reality. Probably never going to see this man again in my life, but hey, a girl can dream, right?
It is now 1:08am here, and I’m going to get some rest for tomorrow’s self-guided tour. Looking forward to exploring more of Copenhagen tomorrow!