The worldwide Augustana College experience

T-minus eight hours

So since I am short on time, I will try to keep this entry short. Right now its 8 hours before I board my flight from O’Hare and begin an unimaginable journey through France. Paris, Nîmes, and Dijon… those are going to be three main hubs during our trip… Essentially we will be sightseeing in Paris for one week, then enjoying a week near the beaches by Nîmes, and then we’ll be spending the last four weeks studying in Dijon at the University of Burgundy.

So with a 3 hour drive ahead of me and a 7-ish hour flight to deal with, you’d think I’d be laying in my bed right now, but no… I HAD to volunteer for “Ride the River” an event sponsored by River Action QC… But I’m not bitter, even though I’ve been up since 6 AM. Besides, I’d probably be to excited to sleep… Who can ever sleep the day before a plane trip? There is so much to worry about… and so many questions running through your head, like… “Did I pack enough?” or “did I pack too much?” …”OMG, what if I get stuck having to pay for overweight?” …”What if I packed too many electronic items and homeland security thinks I going to use it for something bad” …well only I have that worry… Haha

…But for now, I’m just standing here, in front of the guard post on the Rock Arsenal, standing under the bridge and guiding traffic… Haha, I really am paying attention! I’ve been here for 2 hours and no incidents yet. My only pet peeve is that the guards are staring at me all the time and the trains overhead are really LOUD! People confide in me how scared they are of driving on this bridge, and to them all I can say is, “let see you stand under it for three hours!”

The Arsenal Island is a part of the Quad Cities that has been quite a mystery to me… Maybe it has something to do with its geographic isolation from the rest of the QC… but in the short time I have been standing here I’ve come to the realization that it functions just like a small city… maybe a city within a city! I’ve seen ambulances, firetrucks and police cars pass me by with US Government plates, unlike anything you’ve seen before. There is a car show, a bike path, a golf course, a cemetary, a vistors center, a museum, a country club and housing. Everything needed to subsist can be found in here… well, maybe the car show is not necessary for survival! Anyways, coming back to the topic of my trip, I’m hoping to learn about how France functions much in the same way I am learning about how the Arsenal functions.

…and no, I am not going to miss my flight… I will be done with my shift at 10, and will go home immediately so that I can shower, shut my bags closed, and make the 3 hour drive to the airport. In hindsight I should have booked a flight to Chicago from the QCA. But, I think my parents wanted to drive me to Chicago so that they could go to Devon Ave… which we pronounce with an Indian/Pakistani twist… “Diwan” because it is the street that houses what I refer to as “Paki-town”… though some may find that offensive… Which brings me to my last point… I’m brown and proud about it, but the TSA people never seem to share that same pride… thus I will be getting to the airport way earlier than the recommended two hour because I have this feeling I will be checked more than everyone else… it tends to happen without fail… but alas, such is life.

Anyways, my shift will be over soon, and my advisor keeps driving by… so I’d rather he not see me typing on my phone again… We won’t have WiFi at our next hotel, so I can’t say when I will be posting again… but my hoping the plane has WiFi… If not though, I’ll still be happy because I’ve got a window seat!

Till next time!
~Zain

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