Aug 29, 2006 • Karen

I've never been able to sleep on planes. I zone out, I close my eyes, my head falls forward--and I jerk up, awake. Something about the cramped quarters, I think. I've had real sleep in cars, on buses, on trains--just not planes.

But, I thought, maybe this time would be different. I'd gotten only two hours' sleep the night before and none during the day. The flight would be dark, stretching from 5:30 PM EST to 7:30 AM CEST. Surely I would slumber for at least part of those 8 hours!

Ha ha. No.

About half of the people on the plane were DISers. Hyped up about their upcoming semester and meeting fellow students, they chatted for about the first few hours of the flight. Then there were the two movies--"Take the Lead" (so-so, Mad Hot Ballroom was the same topic only far cuter) and "Mean Girls" (an actually good movie? On a plane? Say it ain't so!).

And even as the plane finally quieted down in the last three hours or so of the flight, my airborne insomnia, annoyingly, proved stronger than my sleep dep. I remember looking over across the aisle at an older man snoring lightly, empty vodka bottle on his tray table. I suddenly realized why they serve those overpriced drinks on flights.

Maybe I'll try that next time.

I ended up going about 50 hours with only two hours of sleep. Ironically, though, while this made my first day hell, I think it reset my system such that later I haven't had much jet lag.

Anyway. As dawn broke outside the plane, I was exhausted, dehydrated (damn the DHS), missing Nelson, and feeling mildly nauseous from the few bites of airplane food I'd attempted. I looked down on the endless grey nimbostratus and wondered if this trip wasn't a big mistake.

But then we broke through the clouds. I realized I was looking down at the ocean, grey-blue and calm, with flat grey-green islands peeking through the fog. The plane raced over the beach toward the runway, overpassing adorable green and gold farms with freshly-painted red houses and spotted cows. In that moment, for the first time, I was really, truly excited about being here.

This is what is known as the honeymoon phase of study abroad. We'll see whether or not it lasts. For now, though, I am in love with beautiful Denmark.