(written on the plane)
So I wanted to try and keep an as-we-go account of the trip for you guys so you will have a better idea of how a Clinic Abroad trip goes and get to experience it a little bit through my words. With that in mind, I am currently 3,700 feet in the air writing this for you on the third out of four flights we have to take to get to Bequia. Bequia is a little island in the Caribbean. It’s a part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that is our destination.
Our flight left yesterday (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. out of Moline, Ill. (Moline and Davenport are part of the Quad Cities). So after seeing patients all morning in the AHC, I left at about noon to finish throwing last minute things in my bags, grabbed lunch and was to the airport by 2 p.m. We checked into Moline with our next destination being Chicago then Miami.
We were to overnight in Miami, but to make things easier, we checked our bags straight through to Barbados. Trying to make things simple, I put all of my over-night things into my checked bag. So when we were told our bags were being checked straight through, I had to dig through my bag for essentials. In this case, that included contact solution. So I was going to Miami with contact solution and a toothbrush. No problem. That other stuff isn’t necessary!
Our flight out of Moline was only a few minutes late, again not a problem. We board on our way to Chicago, which turns out is like a 26-minute flight. I tried to study for Boards a little bit, but by the time I got my book out, the plane was landing.
We got to O’Hare, grabbed some food and got to our terminal. Our layover wasn’t a really long one. Then we got the announcement that the plane was undergoing maintenance. First it was the hydraulic hose, so our 7:10 p.m. departure turned into 7:30. Then they were waiting on another part. Our departure changed to 8:30. Let me remind you, I’m pretty sure it was -50 degrees out there (slight exaggeration), so those maintenance men are out there for an hour now working on this plane, probably frost-bitten. They’re working slowly, and our departure is now 9:30.
Finally, after numerous updates of all these bad situations, the repairs are done and the maintenance men came out into the terminal to a warm welcome of applause from tired travelers.
We finally start boarding at around 9:30 on our way to Miami! We arrived in Miami around 1:30 a.m., I believe. By the time we get to our hotel rooms, it was after 2 a.m. By the time we got to bed, it was 3 a.m. That gave us three and a half hours until our wake-up call for our next flight to Barbados–6:30 a.m. came fast, and we were all on zombie status. The only thing keeping us going is knowing we’re going to be in 80-degree weather on the beach at some point today!
The morning went smoothly. We had breakfast, got on the plane and are currently en route to Barbados. Almost everyone is asleep or studying for Board exams. We have one more flight to go to get from Barbados to Bequia on a miniature plane, and we couldn’t be more excited to arrive and start changing lives!
Despite the minor delays, we’ve had a great time on our long travel days. If you learn anything from Clinic Abroad, it’s that you must learn to be flexible! It will all work out in the end. Make the best of the experience because it will be the best experience!