Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A thousand places to see

I've spent the past 24 hours in places I have never been. My flight from Norfolk, VA into the formidable JFK International Airport in New York City was short and cramped, but when you're in the business of moving bodies to the Big Apple, you don't waste time on creature comforts. In reality, I had an open seat next to me, and the lady across the aisle was amusingly and easily distracted from her Kindle. She was kind enough to offer some suggestions for my New York sightseeing. I'm just thankful I didn't get such a long layover in Istanbul, where you can't leave the airport.

So in the past 24 hours, I've seen the infamous NYC subway system, Rockefeller plaza, Broadway, Times Square, Famiglia Pizza (delicious, by the way), the Empire State building (where I ate my last American meal with a former William and Mary student and old friend), the inside of a spacious Turkish oversea airliner, minarets, the Mediterranean, and the most impressive collection of duty-free cigarettes that must possibly exist. I haven't even reached Georgia and I've already been in two cities I've always wanted to see. I'm definitely picking up a tourist visa and escaping into Turkey for a weekend once I get settled into Georgia.

Oh, that's right! I've got another two hour flight ahead of me, after which I will finally arrive in my yearlong "home country." I couldn't be more thrilled, both at the prospect of living in Georgia and the promise of a hot shower, a warm bed, and terra firma beneath my feet. I've been following the other teachers' blogs, and needless to say I'm jealous that I won't get to spend as much time in T'bilisi as they have. Still, it's all very surreal, and I'm glad for the extra time spent at home.

Goodbyes are always difficult, but I never find myself too upset when I'm about to leave for a (relatively) long time. Not until I'm at my gate, that is. That period between security and takeoff is a world unto itself, existing solely to challenge those nervous about flying, or to give respite for tired red-eye passengers. It's never pleasant for me -- it's simply far too unstable to allow anything but daydreaming, and daydreaming leads to sadness, and sadness hangs heavily when you're about to fly.

Just a tip: try not to get a layover longer than a couple of hours, if you can help it. That is, unless it's in New York (and you have a friend living there). Then maybe chance the subway and go see some amazing architecture.

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