Dear Family and Friends Back Home,
I woke up at 4am on Sunday, November 17th to head to the airport with the biggest suitcase they sell at the department store, a normal carry on, and my little black backpack that ended up weighing as much as my carry on (due to my MacBook from 2007 that weighs 5lbs)… LOL. I edited down my wardrobe the best I could to a “sensible” travel size. Apparently, it would be expensive to ship 4 XL bins of sweaters halfway across the globe. Oh well. Both of my parents accompanied me to the airport, and I was just feeling so excited. I had dreamed of playing volleyball overseas, professionally, since I was at least 12 years old. It felt like it all fell into place, in a special way, and I am just so thankful for that. I had a flight to Charlotte, NC with a short hour-long layover, and was then off to Boston, MA. The most unfortunate part of my travel was an 8 hour layover in Boston before I flew to London. This was only my second time out of the country, and to do it alone with an itinerary that included 4 planes and 2 trains made me very nervous to say the least. I hate the idea of not understanding things correctly and missing things when it comes to plane and train tickets, therefore I am always a little tense when traveling. So, I was just strolling through the airport in Charlotte with an hour until I boarded for Boston, and I realized I was supposed to print off my train ticket for when I arrived in Copenhagen. I had forgotten to do it, so I started scouring the Charlotte airport for somewhere that might have printing capabilities. I stopped at this store that was like a mini hotel where you rent a little bunk room by the hour for long layovers and such. The women kind of gave me a look when I asked if they let people print things there, and then said,” I guess if you email it to me I can print it right here.” She did not even charge me. (I do not know if that is pretty normal, but it felt like an undeserved kindness.)
I made it to Boston, and the 8 hour layover began. My flight that evening was the only one by that airline all day. So, I could not check my bag and get into the airport for about five hours. Trying to find a way to store my stuff somewhere and explore a little bit of Boston seemed like an overwhelming assignment. So, I just lounged in the front ticketing part of the airport for five hours. Like I mentioned before, I am a very nervous traveler especially when doing so alone. Any attempt at curling up to take a nap on the dirty airport floor was foiled by panic that someone took one of my bags. I have my father to thank for this paranoia, as does now the (I am sure) nice lady that happened to walk too close while I was attempting one of these naps only to be confronted by me jerking awake to an upright position, hand clenched and eyes wild.
As soon as they are setting up the ticketing counter for my airline I am in line. As I get up to the counter to check my bags, my understanding of my bag situation was 40kg for my checked bag, 10kg for my carry on, and a personal item up until this point. Apparently, the personal item AND the carry on were supposed to equal 10 kg… combined. Because of my lovely, vintage 15in MacBook Pro that weighs about 5kg by itself (LOL), I was royally screwed. The airline attendant tells me it will be $200 to check my carry on at the counter. Thinking I had no other option, I slowly start to pull out my credit card. As I am handing it to the airline worker, he pauses saying,”$200 is a lot of money.” He continues to say that he will let me take them both on for no additional cost, this once. I almost jumped over the counter to give him a hug, honestly. Praise the Lord!
I got french fries and salad, and then sat at my terminal downloading episodes on Netflix for the flight. This was the biggest plane I have ever been on, and there were so many people lining up to board. Luckily, I knew I had a window seat, but I was not looking forward to this overnight flight across the ocean sitting up. The blessings just kept on pouring over me, because somehow, I ended up with a whole row to myself; the only one on the whole flight, that I saw. I got to sleep, watch movies, and eat all reclined across the three seats I had to myself. Praise the Lord! Our flight got in a little late to London, and I had to sprint through the airport. Since I had a connecting flight, I did not have to go through customs. But, I did have to choose which terminal to enter. Thankfully, I chose correctly. For the first time in my life I heard, “Last call for passengers going to Copenhagen.” I am always very punctual for travel like this, mainly because it makes me nervous. But, this time, I was nowhere near my gate! I was already sweating from the choice of which terminal to enter, not to mention the fact that I was wearing so many layers to maximize the amount of clothes I was able to bring with me… LOL. But, off I go in a full sprint through the London airport. I make it to my gate just in time, and I am the second to last person to board the plane.
I make it to Copenhagen in the late morning on November 18th. The weather is dreary and the air cold. Looking out the window of the train and seeing the green fields, islands, and bridges of this little northern kingdom was unreal. If you are unfamiliar with Denmark, it is made up of the Jutland Peninsula, which points north on the northern edge of the continent, and an archipelago of about 500 islands. Copenhagen is on the largest, eastern most island. My little, new home of Nordenskov is near the western coast of the peninsula. I took 2 trains to get from Copenhagen to the closest station to Nordenskov. I nervously asked almost every person in my train car if I was on the right train, when I was supposed to get off, and if the Danish I heard coming over the speaker pertained to me. LOL. So much so that when that when my stop was up next almost everyone in the car turned to me and said, “The next stop is Bramming, that’s where you get off.” It was like I could feel all their worried eyes watching me lug my suitcases off the train and onto the podium thinking,” That poor American has no clue what is going on.” My coach and some teammates were there waiting for me to take me to a big house in quaint, little Nordenskov to settle into my home for the next 6 months.
I am so thankful to my heavenly Father for all the blessings I received in this terribly long travel day, and that the Danish people are very kind and helpful. I, to this day, have only experienced one person that was unable to communicate with me in English. I have been welcomed into the country with open arms, and it feels good. I am writing this officially one month in on my stay here in Denmark, and I am very excited for what these next 5 months have in store.
Adam James Brewster