Sunday, June 7, 2015

Excitement and exhaustion

(By Okke Lucassen)

If there is one thing I can recommend you if you’re travelling to Kosovo it’s this: Don’t get excited. 

I mean…. Get excited, because it’s an amazing, beautiful place with very friendly people and delicious food. 
But don’t get as super damn excited as I have been for the last 7 days, jumping around, listening to Balkan-influenced electro music such as Goran Bregovich and Shantel, eating Serbian inspired food with your Serbian friend, watching documentaries on the history of Yugoslavia, checking out every single website of the organisations that you are going to attend, already getting mesmerised by the beauty of the places you will visit and the succulent looking food you will eat. Don’t do any of that… Why not? Because I did, and I have been super damn pumped for this trip for over a week now, and last night I could not sleep whilst contemplating all the inspiring things I will see, eat, and do. This morning we all got up around 7 to finish packing by putting our toothbrush in our toiletry bag after using said toothbrush to commit to dental care for the last time on Dutch soil for the next 10 days. 

At 8:26 the taxi arrives and the lovely but somewhat tired group of Chiara, Olafs, Dirk Jan, Michael, Sophia and I are on our way. Even though we are the first ones to arrive at the meeting point 5 minutes before the agreed time (9:00) at Schiphol, the other 15 members including our lovely professor Anne and her husband Eric converge with the group in the next 15 minutes. Fast forward through a smooth check in at Schiphol and we are on flight 1952 TK (Turkish Airlines) This is not just any flight, this plane is big and I mean BIG. You know those usual planes you take when you go on a holiday with three rows on either side of the plane? Yeah no, this one has three on the left, three on the right, 4 in the middle and it is loooooong!

Whilst everyone is chatting excitedly about the trip, it hits me. I am tired. I have been pumped for this trip for 7 days and now I am too tired to be excited about it. I scroll through the availability of movies on the screen that is engineered into the seat in front of me and find that the selection of movies is surprisingly varied and recent. I am tired, but my senses are heightened as I was foolish enough to drink some coffee at Schiphol airport. When we arrive at Istanbul airport, we have 2 hours to kill before we board the plane at 19:00 local time (18:00 Amsterdam time). Sleeping is not really an option, as we are not expecting a meal for the hour and 40 minutes long flight from Istanbul to Prishtina and our bellies must be filled. We eat some local Turkish sweet pastry made with apple that sates some of our hunger, though we had expected the dough delicacy to be savoury as was indicated by the sign that was above it. Boarding was supposed to start around 18:00 so we as the rule-abiding students we are, queue up to start boarding. Except…. 

There is no one there…. As time goes by I am slowly losing my mind as the tiredness keeps hitting me harder and harder. My fellow students make me more and more aware as I continue to sing classic cliche songs such as over the rainbow, and, I believe I can fly
With the final boarding of 19:00 and the delayed departure of the plane, I fall start to get drowsy. 
I think it is time for me to finally catch some sleep my dear friends. Until next time!

I do believe we can fly. 

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