First day on the island was January 14th. I woke up at 1:45 AM, so I could get ready and come to the airport 3.5 hours before the flight. Why? So my precious cargo wouldn’t get “lost”…A.K.A. detained if there would be no room for it on the plane. Coming a bit early to the airport is better than having to wait for your luggage to arrive…it can be several days before it gets to the island. Indeed, I ended up being something like the tenth person to check my luggage.
I ran into an SGU friend, said goodbye to Valerie (girlfriend) and my mom, both of whom accompanied me to the airport at the expense of their own sleep. I did the whole security check thing, met some new people, and made my way to the plane.
I was quite nervous as I thought about what I would soon be undertaking. It would be my first time away from home for such a long period of time. Unlike many, I have never studied away, nor have I worked outside of New York.
I stepped onto the plane, found my seat, and felt a glimmer of happiness at its close proximity to the plane entrance. The condition of the plane didn’t get me that excited, however. The engines made the cabin rattle, and as I looked out the window at the wing, it almost looked like it was attached to the airplane by Elmer’s glue. It wouldn’t stop shaking during the flight.
I sat in the aisle seat and made friends with a girl and a guy, both first-term medical students like me. The flight wasn’t too bad. Air Jamaica actually served breakfast. The choice was between French toast and a cheese omelet. I ordered the French toast, which ended up coming with a mysterious sausage, one which I duly eschewed. Landing was a bit frightening, as it always is for me. I have a vivid imagination and I often imagine how things would go if they went awry. But then we exited and the warm air hit me. There was no gate like in JFK airport. We had to make our way down a ramp like you see in some of those movies.
Punch rum and seltzer…that’s what greeted us when we arrived at the airport. That was a taste of Caribbean hospitality, I guess. Then there was the long snaky line to get processed. Then came the baggage hunt. Luckily, all of my luggage made it…most likely because I was one of the first to come to the airport. I guess the early bird gets to keep its suitcase. After that hassle came customs check. Grenada charges customs tax on all electronics, food, and other random, seemingly untaxable items…surely, to make money. The line was long and looked like it was moving at a rate of one person per 15 minutes…with tens of people on the line. Customs charges 5% on electronics and for those with cheap laptops, it’s always practical to bring a receipt of the laptop purchase to prove that it’s a cheap computer. Otherwise, customs chooses how much to charge, and trust me, it’s not pretty, so I’ve heard. They ended up charging me for my laptop, my wireless mouse, and my laptop bag…that’s right…laptop bag…I don’t know why either. I mean, it happened to be on the same receipt as my laptop…but my bag? C’mon. The total bill was $37 US dollars.
After customs, students would have to come out of the airport and take a taxi to campus. First, they’d have to get their assigned dorm room from volunteer SGU student staff. My luck being what it is, I had to wait another 20 minutes because they couldn’t figure out which room I was supposed to be in. After a couple of labored phone calls, it was discovered that I belonged to a room on the second floor of the newest dorm: Super Dorm 6.
Another first termer and I took a taxi back to campus. The taxi guy drove like a maniac. The hilly terrain only made it stand out more. There were a couple of times that I wanted to yell at the driver for being on the wrong side of the road, but then I remembered where I was…the fact that the steering wheel was on the right of the vehicle made things even more clear.
What can I say? The Island looks great. Grenada to New York City is like Stacey Dash on the cover of King magazine to Stacey Dash in Clueless.
Okay, so let’s bullet point. Got to the dorm…tipped the taxi driver… that first termer helped me find the RA (he’d been on the island before)…got my room keys…dragged 4 bags to my room (super annoying since I was tired)…keys wouldn’t work (you have to finesse them in just the right way)…I knocked…both my roommates were there…I went straight for the water…I felt so thirsty and famished that i had a headache….I drank the Brita water and took an Advil…I felt slow and weak…called Val and mom…ate a turkey sandwich…most importantly: thought to myself: WTH am I doing here?
Ready for more short phrases? Doesn’t matter, here they come. I got some stuff out of my bags…met Rasty (the guy who wrote the ultimate guide for first term)…went to two bars…saw stars for the first time in years…saw a loose and scary-ass Rottweiler…got followed by another smaller dog…and then went home. Some things are out of order, but that’s pretty much how the day went. There’s not much reflection, but that’s okay because this post was strictly detail duty.