Back from Greece, but the return home was bumpy


Skyler Jensen

Skyler Jensen explores different countries in Europe, including France.

After studying abroad for fall semester, my time in Greece is over and I am back at Park. My time abroad was amazing. I was able to visit so many Greek islands, and five other countries while on break from classes: France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Spain. All of these places had so much to see and do, but the best part of my time abroad was the people I met.

Saying goodbye to all of my amazing new friends was incredibly difficult. Some were from the Midwest and I know I will see them again. Some are on the East or West coast, so it’ll be a challenge, but I will see them again too. But some of my new friends are across the globe and I had to say goodbye knowing that our paths may never cross again.

While these goodbyes were difficult, I was ready to be back in a familiar location with my family and friends who I’ve known for years. However, it was not an easy journey back to the States. I left Greece at 7 a.m. on Dec. 20, then flew to London where I had a five-hour layover. This was definitely the best part of my journey because one of my friends was on the same flight from Athens to London and also had a long layover, so I was able to spend time with her.

Then, I got on my nine hour flight to Dallas. The flight honestly was not too bad. I took some Melatonin and was able to sleep through most of it. It was Dallas that ended up being an absolute nightmare. First, I found out my flight from Dallas to Des Moines had been delayed. I had to get my luggage rechecked anyway, so this was fine. Then, it was delayed again which was annoying, but I didn’t think anything of it. Finally, we start to board and people were already sitting on the plane when they announce that the flight is canceled. The crew had timed out due to the delays, so they legally could not work the flight. It was already 11 pm, and I was freaking out. I ended up calling customer support, got a seat on a flight back on the 22, and the airline gave me a hotel room for the night and told me to come back to the airport the next day. I was pretty upset that I would be getting home two days late, but I was trying to stay positive.

The next day I went back to the airport and ended up being told that there was one seat left on the last flight to Des Moines at 9 p.m. that night, and I instantly asked to take it. The lady behind the counter told me that there was a chance I could get on one of the two earlier flights but I would have to get on standby lists and hope to get home earlier. So, that’s what I did. The first flight to Des Moines left at 11 a.m., and I was seventh on the standby list. After four people made it onto the flight, I started to have a little hope and was praying that three more people wouldn’t show up.

Unfortunately, they called number five up to the counter and told her that she had a spot. However, then they told her that due to the extra weight of emergency extra fuel, she could not get on the plane. I knew then that I was not getting on that flight. So, I went ahead and joined the standby list for the plane that left at 4 p.m. I was fourth on that list and by the time I went to the gate where that flight was leaving from, I was exhausted and so tired of being at the airport. I was also worried that my 9 p.m. flight would be canceled because of the blizzard coming into Des Moines and praying to make it onto this flight.

The first three people on the list got called up to the counter and were given a seat. As the plane started boarding, I was hoping for some luck that another person wouldn’t arrive. Then, it was like a miracle, the gate attendant called out for a party of five to check in and said if they didn’t then they would lose their seats. After a couple minutes of waiting, she calls my name, and I finally can board the plan and go home.

I made it home safely and have slowly been transitioning back to my normal life. Sometimes I get sad when I compare my last four months to my first month back. Despite this, I know my family and my friends, whether here at Park or across the globe, are still here for me and that I will get back into the flow of things.