At the time I am writing this, it is 1:40 in the afternoon, EST, and I’m watching the smog roll over New Jersey. At least I assume that’s smog. To me, there air just looks dirty.

There are people all over this airport, and I, true to my introvert self, am avoiding them all. Granted, that’s because I checked in about five hours earlier than I actually had to, just to be on the safe side, and everyone else who’s boarding the Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt isn’t here yet.

In other words, I have the recharging station to myself, and, like the pathetic first worlder that I am, I’m charging both my faithful laptop and my cell phone (whose loyalty is questionable).

I will be here for another four hours and ten minutes. I’m beginning to think I didn’t pack enough books. In order to fill up time, I’m writing a blog post which I will schedule to be published tomorrow in the off chance I don’t get a chance to post between now and Sunday.

This whole “traveling alone” thing is, as I’m sure you all have guessed, very new to me. I’m not really accustomed to layovers this long, and there’s no one to talk to. Normally not talking to anyone is fine with me, but this far from home, it’s a little strange. I’m sitting here, wondering if I’m at the right place. I know I am, but I still feel obligated to wonder.

I’ll admit, though, there’s something delicious about looking out an airplane’s window and watching the world get smaller and smaller. It’s like the whole planet becomes a model railway set, with tiny trains running on slender silver rails, and cars like ball bearings rolling down interstates like Hot Wheels tracks.

There’s the loud, loud silence that pervades an airplane cabin. No one is talking—every mouth is closed, everyone lost to their own thoughts as we take to the sky in our little tin can and the world shrinks underneath us. But the engine is roaring like an animal with distemper, making the quiet cabin very not quiet, indeed. The man next to me looked like a Pakistani version of one of my uncles—and he looked like he was anxious to get home. How I could tell he was going home, I am not sure. His eyes told me he was going home, wherever home may be for him. I hope he gets there safely and that he sleeps well tonight.

I will not be sleeping well tonight. In fact, I will not be sleeping at all tonight. That’s actually not such a horrible prospect. Not sleeping for twenty-four hours means I’ll get excellent sleep once my head hits the pillow on Saturday night. If history repeats itself, I’ll be sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a tall but narrow brick-and-stucco house, and I will have probably eaten more delicious Croatian food than my poor stomach can handle.

Almost an hour has passed, and here is my post. I have been writing in between texting my mother and texting other friends, and people are starting to gather around. People in jeans and suits and sweatshirts and tennis shoes and high heels, all heading to different corners of the world for different reasons. None of them will ask where I’m going or why, but if any of them happened across this blog, they’d know that I am heading to Croatia—or even arrived in Croatia, depending on when they read this—to teach English.

It’s hard to believe I get to do this twice.


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