We met to leave the Backpacker hostel at 8:30AM. The sun had been up for a couple hours so many of us had been awake for awhile. Zurich was busy with commuters to work as we walked to the train station. The sun was out and it was a beautiful morning. David had left earlier to make sure he had enough time to maneuver his bike through the train and onto the airplane to Dublin. We met up with Sheldon in the train station, as he had stayed with a friend the night before. So seven of us caught the train to the airport. We said goodbye to Mike who was heading to Sarajevo at the airport. We checked in, had breakfast and headed to the gate. We met up with Jonathan and Sreoyshi, who had stayed near the airport, at the gate. So in total Libby, Amanda, Cat, Sreoyshi, Jonathan, Sheldon, Kenneth, and I headed to IAD on United. The flight was uneventful and I watched 3 movies and read my book. It was odd to spend so much quiet time without talking. We had spent so much time in community, so to sit next to a stranger for 10 hours was the beginning of my adjustment back to Blacksburg.
When we arrived, we collected our bags and went through customs. We dropped our bags for re-check to ROA, except for Sheldon and Kenneth. We then went through security and after that we said good-bye to Sheldon and Kenneth who left IAD and were getting rides home. Sreoyshi was held up in immigration due to some missing signatures, but joined us about 30 minutes later. For the next 6 hours we amused ourselves with reading, walking through the airport, eating dinner, and sleeping. We finally boarded for ROA and arrived a little after 10PM. Jonathan’s wife, Cat’s husband, and Libby’s friend were there to meet them and take them home. My husband landed about 15 minutes later from Boston via Philly and Amanda, Sreoyshi and I joined him in the car service his company provides. We dropped Amanda off and then Sreoyshi. After 23 hours, I finally made it home at 12:30AM.
Readjustment to life in Blacksburg has been tougher than I imagined. I left as a graduate student and returned as a graduate. I left in Spring and returned in the Summer. As I try and process the trip as well as the changes in my own life, I am left feeling a bit out of place. It has been wonderful to see my beautiful children and their social calendar has kept me moving since I returned home. It might be a couple more days or weeks until I fully adjust to the new phase in my life. But what a way to make the transition with this amazing trip to Switzerland. I am truly grateful for Dean DePauw and the opportunity that she gave me to be a part of this life-changing trip.