Jacksonville --> Cincinatti. Nothing very eventful.
Cincinatti --> Paris. Oh yeah. We ended up being an hour late for takeoff, for the dumbest reason in the world. The flight attendants kept counting us over and over again, "Sorry, we have to count again, will everyone please sit down?" The French woman beside me obviously understood something I didn't from all the hushed French babbling among the employees; she was laughing, and when I glanced at her, she said, "It's the babies; they can't count the babies right. One says there are six, the other says there are eight. It's funny; there are three people running around counting babies." I laughed too.
Anyway, so we finally took off, and it turns out that all the bad things I'd heard about AirFrance were wrong - it was a really nice flight. The seatback TVs were actually touch-screens - ooh, high-tech - and I watched Tootsie and The Wedding Date. The flight seemed to go really fast; however, because of the delay, a bunch of us missed our connecting flights. I ended up hanging around Charles de Gaulle airport for two hours with a girl named Katie who was heading back to NL for the second time to play field hockey on a club team there. She was cool; we exchanged e-mails, and since the person who changed our tickets thought we were traveling together, we ended up next to each other on the last flight. They also gave us free breakfast vouchers - "Get anything you want"- but it turned out that 'anything we wanted' was limited to coffee and one croissant. Too bad.
Oh, and of course, I have to talk about the drunk woman. While I was waiting in line for the bathroom, a woman in the last row saw my Florida Swimming shirt and asked about it. It turned out that she was a golf coach at University of Kentucky, heading over to the Scandinavian countries for 2007 recruiting. We were having a nice conversation, but the woman next to her kept butting in with inane comments like, "I don't think international students should be allowed to come over to America on athletic scholarships," etc. Somehow we got onto the topic of the different 'tiers' of education in Europe, specifically the Netherlands (about the top 15% go to university, others go to vocational schools, etc.), and she seized my random '15%' number and ran with it. "But 15%, can you imagine? I mean, I wasn't top 15%, and I doubt you are," she said, pointing at me.
She already had my back up, and that crossed the line into full-blown irritation. "Well, I am, actually, but go on," I said.
The Kentucky coach laughed appreciatively, but the drunk woman started in on me. "How do you know something like that? How can you know? I can't believe someone could just say something like that to me - 'I'm top 15% in the country'."
"Well, I can't believe someone I've talked to for thirty seconds would be so rude as to make the assumption that I'm not in the upper percentages," I shot back, thoroughly ticked off now.
I ended up having to list my academic credentials on my fingers before she would shut up, and when she finally conceded, I thought the conversation was over.
Not so. Know what her next question was? "If you're so smart, why are you going to Europe?"
Sigh. Or, as Catie would say, *facepalm*.
Anyway, I finally extricated myself from her, but she was apparently a horrible seatmate to the Kentucky coach (big surprise) - waking her up to ask if she was okay when she was simply trying to sleep, etc. Then she started yelling at the steward, who was yelling right back, "If you continue like this, I will not give you any more [wine]!"
"How dare you!" she raged, shaking a finger in his face. And on and on and on. I don't know how they finally placated her, but the Kentucky coach and I were apologizing to the nearby crowd on the way off the plane. "Not all Americans are like that, we're really sorry!"
Anyway. Paris --> Amsterdam. Once we finally got on the plane, things went smoothly.
Anyway, much anxious luggage-searching ensued (but I did get everything!), followed by much luggage-dragging (down stairs, onto trains, off of trains, onto buses, off of buses, and finally a few blocks down the road to UCU). I was drenched in sweat by the time I got there, but I did manage to get through check-in and move-in without too much difficulty. My roommate's name is Dia (actually Diana, but no one calls her that); she's Hungarian and very sweet.
Okay, got to go to breakfast now.