I Am In The Slow Mode For A Week, And Air Travel Surprises

Boris came on Wednesday, and this will be the last time before October when we are going to see each other in person. As usual, the adjustment from living solo to living together, even temporarily, is hard. This time especially, since I was unusually stressed with all the things going at work and in my professional life in general. I didn’t have time to adjust to the slower pace mentally. Our velocity of living is very different, and each time we are making an effort to reconcile these differences at least for a short time.

From Wednesday to the next Wednesday, I will have no volunteering activities, and I took one day work from home and one and a half days off. We shall see how it goes.

There was one funny thing about his arrival. O’Hare International Airport (ORD) has four terminals: 1,2,3 and 5 (do not ask me why :)). Terminal 5 is international, no matter which airline you take, the passport control and customs are located in Terminal 5. It usually always takes time to get out of it due to the long lines, even if you do not have the checked baggage. With the flight arrival time of 3-45PM, we agreed that I would leave work at about 3 PM. The CTA Blue Line, which goes to ORD is a little bit unpredictable, like the whole CTA in general, so although the stop is very close to my office, it could take from 35 to 50 min to get to ORD. Plus, Terminal 5 is the furthest from the CTA stop, so it’s a separate journey. Plus, the inner airport transit is still under construction, and there are shuttle buses between terminals, which also adds time. With all these calculations in mind, we agreed on the meeting time 3 PM and our usual meeting point. Since we both have vision disabilities, having a default meeting point helps a lot.

That was the first time he had a connection in Dublin, and I was watching the live updates on his flight. BTW, Google always knows what flight I am looking for, so I do not even need to type the number. It showed the arrival time slightly earlier than on the schedule (3-33 PM), and I decided to leave 5 minutes earlier, although we both know that this time does not mean anything. Some airlines report arrival at the point of the aircraft touching the ground, and there can be 10-15 min of cruising afterward.

I was on the CTA when Boris called, and he almost never calls the phone, because it is way more expensive than a video call. I was trying to tell him that I am still on the CTA, but then I’ve realized that he was telling me that he is on Terminal 3. And after he said so, I’ve realized that that’s what arrival information was telling me, but I chose not to believe it :).

After all, it saved us tons of time, because when I arrived, he called me again and said that he was already by the CTA station. But I was curious to find out what happened. Turned out that as he put it, “The US is expanding its borders.” If you ever traveled by air from Canada to the US, you know that the US border control is taking place in the airport in Ottawa or where else your flight starts. So when you are boarding, you are already on the US territory. The same thing happened in Dublin, and he didn’t realize that it was an actual border control, except he was puzzled by the additional security checkpoint. He only looked into his passport when it was announced that the arrival will be in Terminal 3 :). It ended up being very convenient, and now we know why the connection was three hours long!

The Trip To The East Germany (Part 3)

I have almost no pictures from our trip to East Germany. I know what I have some from Saxische Sweitzer – Saxon Switzerland, but I could not find them. Maybe they will emerge later, and then I will add them to this post. For now, I will continue without pictures.
When we arrived in Berlin, our hosts told us they would try to exchange our return train tickets, and they managed to get us an extra three days! We were overjoyed, and I will tell you in a little bit, what did I do with this additional time.

We liked East Germany. Now, when I read memoirs about the time the country was divided, people comment about the striking contrast between the East and West Germany, about East Berlin and West Berlin. We didn’t know anything about what’s going on behind the wall. We loved Berlin, and we loved Leipzig. We also loved all the other cities and towns our hosts would take us. We visited Weimar, Erfurt, and Eisenach. We had a three-day trip to Dresden, and one of these three days we visited Maison, and it’s famous factory. We roamed Saxische Sweitzer. We had an excursion to Potsdam.

We loved everything. The fact that the trams had schedules, which they were obeying to the minute. That the streets were clean and the university dorms were tidy. We loved the school cafeterias.

Continue reading “The Trip To The East Germany (Part 3)”