March 12, 2017

Getting to Ireland (Day 1)

I will be spending my RIT Spring Break in class... but in Ireland. Traveling to the country is a small class of 13 students and our Irish born professor Angela Kelly. I currently know one other student in the class, and am eager to bond and be inspired by the diverse talent sprinkled throughout our group.

Professor Angela Kelly and members of the class enjoy the free snacks offered by the airline while waiting for the news about our flight.

Professor Angela Kelly and members of the class enjoy the free snacks offered by the airline while waiting for the news about our flight.

That is, if we get there.

Please notice it's Sunday, March 12. Well, we were supposed to leave Friday morning, but the New York weather surprised us with a snow storm, forcing us to get on the next possible flight two days later: this morning. We all arrived to the airport promptly at 8:30, excited to finally get this trip underway. When our professor arrived she headed straight to the desk to check us in...and stayed there. We all watched from afar as she talked on the phone, then to the clerk, then on the phone...eventually we hit a time where there was 45 minutes until our flight. It wasn't looking good. Finally she came over to us, a stressful glint of a tear in her eye. She then explained our situation: Our airline made a snafu when re-booking us, so we had seats...but no reservations. Long story short, we were not getting on this flight. After a lot of discussion, we reached our new plan:

Monica Gustin revises our new travel plan in her journal in the Rochester International Airport.

Monica Gustin revises our new travel plan in her journal in the Rochester International Airport.

1. Split up into two groups.

2. Group 1 (my group) takes a taxi to Buffalo.

3. Fly from Buffalo to Boston.

4. Meet up with Group 2 in Boston, (they'll fly there from Rochester.)

5. Fly from Boston to London.

6. Fly from London to Dublin.

7. Take a 3 hour bus from Dublin to our cottage in Ballyvaughan. Boom!

And that's what happened. Kind of.

When my group reached Boston, we ran to get our luggage from baggage claim, and then booked to the other side of the airport to check in again and get our boarding passes. At this point, there's just over an hour until our flight.

Laura Randall sits in the Logan International Airport in anticipation for our flight to London.

We reach the desk, get through our line, get our bags checked and - no reservations. After pushing from our behalf, the desk clerk found a solution and got us boarding passes. 30 minutes until our flight leaves, and a long unmoving line at TSA stood between us and our gate. By some miracle, a second lane opened up right in front of us and we scooted to the front, got through TSA, made it to our gate and immediately boarded. The second group was separated from us on a separate flight, and we learned that we'd be waiting for them in Dublin.

Our small group of 6 filled the last two middle rows of the flight, cheering and causing question from the flight attendants, who quickly learned our story and gave us extra brownies and peanuts. (Thanks Delta)

After a smooth layover in London and a quick flight to Delta, bringing our trip to 26 hours and 5 hours, we finally made it to Dublin. We all got our luggage and set up camp on the cold ceramic floor where most of us slept for three and a half hours until the second group made it.

Walking to our gate in the London Airport.

Walking to our gate in the London Airport.

After a much needed sleep on the three hour bus ride to our cottage, we finally reached our final destination just in time to get some quick dinner in the village, and get to sleep. All in all, the travel added up to over 30 hours...but hey, it makes for a much better story!

Waiting for the second group in the Dublin Airport.

Waiting for the second group in the Dublin Airport.

January 21, 2017

On Jan. 21, thousands of men and women gathered at the Women March held at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. This was one of hundreds of marches honoring women around the world on the day following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.