Running through the London Heathrow Airport is an excellent temporary cure for jetlag.
I did have a quick nap on the one hour flight from London to Belfast. But I was awake and alert again by the time we descended beneath the (very thick) cloud cover and, from my window seat, I got my first glimpse of Ireland. It was absolutely beautiful: the patchwork quilt of emerald fields and farmhouses stitched with hedges and roads that you tend to picture when you think of Ireland. I even saw a few sheep in the fields: miniscule white dots. I nearly cried because it was so gorgeous. And truly, I was tired.
Once I got off the plane walked through a short corridor into the baggage claim, I was even more delighted to immediately see two people holding a very obvious “Queen’s University Belfast” sign. Fiona and Emma, two third-year Queen’s students, greeted me cheerfully. We chatted about courses and hometowns as the rest of the group showed up. There were seven Queen’s study abroad students on the flight, six Americans and one French guy. Happily, our bags showed up as well and we were soon on a bus driving on the left side of road, through the countryside and into the heart of Belfast.
We were dropped off in Elms Village, the main residential area for Queen’s students living on campus, where most of us were staying. I checked into my room, which in my fatigue I was pleased to learn is on the ground floor of a building directly behind the Treehouse (student centre). In my room were the kitchen and bedding packs I posted about earlier, as well as many other goodies, including snacks and discount cards! I made my bed, unpacked, returned to the Treehouse to buy a few groceries with my 5 pound voucher, emailed home, and finally went to sleep at about 5 pm Belfast time.
Here’s where the jetlag really kicked in. I slept until 8pm, woke up until around 10pm, and then fell asleep and did not wake up again until 9:19 am.
This was a serious problem, as Orientation began at 9 am that morning. I dressed quickly and rushed to Elms Village reception to get directions to Orientation.
“Ah, it’s okay. Ya just got in yesterday. It’s a ten or fifteen minute walk, but you’ll get there okay.” As I was quite sore from “sleeping” on the plane from Chicago to London and booking it through the airport, I decided not to run to the Peter Froggatt Centre. I did walk briskly, aiming for the ten rather than fifteen minute walk, and ended up not being terribly late. At least, everyone had the same forgiving attitude as the kind woman in reception: “Ah, it’s okay. Ya just got in yesterday. Don’t fret.”
I am extremely grateful for Northern Irish hospitality.
Still much more to share about orientation! Unfortunately, I am not as tired as I was last night but I’m still jetlagged. My body seems to think it’s nearly 11 pm when it is in fact nearly 4 am, and I keep waking up as if I’m wasting good daylight hours. I am instead wasting good sleep hours by being stubbornly awake. But I’ve set three alarms, so no oversleeping tomorrow!