Saturday, 14 July 2012

A Smooth Landing

My name is Tessa Jane Jones and I am a junior at Elon University who has the once in a lifetime opportunity of studying abroad in Australia. This is my first blog, and it is designed for family and friends to follow me through my travels and adventures, as it is often difficult to communicate to people back home. I am not completely sure what I will include in this blog. Some posts may be more formal or informal, detailed or vague, long or short, happy or sad (but hopefully mostly happy:). This blog is a part of the big, mysterious adventure that will take place over the next 4.5 months, and I am happy for anyone to read along to get a glimpse of my life Down Under. 

Today, or shall I say the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind of overwhelming emotions, excitement, and exhaustion! I am happy to say I am blogging from my bedroom at the University of the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane, Australia, but getting here was an adventure in itself. 

I left Cincinnati at 2:35 pm on July 12, 2012 and headed to Dallas, Texas. I checked my two large suitcases, both just under that dreaded 50 lb mark, and carried my backpack with some magazines, and of course my favorite stuffed animal, Bear (Original, I know. I also have a stuffed dog named Puppy).  I was all set to go on an adventure of a lifetime. I said my goodbyes to Mom and Dad at security and made my way to the gate. I got some Subway and boarded the plane. This plane ride was not the most enjoyable for me. (For those of you who don't know, I really do not enjoy flying, or airplanes, or airports, but I often make the sacrifice because I DO love to travel). Already anxious about the serious of flights about to take place, I board the smallest plane known to mankind. They packed us in like sardines and we all settled into our cramped seats. The ~2 hour flight had a bit of turbulence but nothing unbearable.

After a brief layover in DFW, we board a plane heading to LAX. Now I am seated in the middle of three seats with an overly chatty woman to my left, and a dad with an infant to my right. Now, I am typically a very chatty and outgoing person who loves to talk to different people. My personality takes a 180 when I am in travel mode. I like to keep to myself, listen to music, and simply shut my eyes and relax. The lady to my left didn’t catch on. After giving me her life story about her daughter who lives in Alaska, her dogs, and her job as a driving instructor, I rest my head on the tray table on the seat in front of me. As I begin to doze off, I feel a tap on my shoulder. As I slowly open my eyes, this lady tells me that it is perfectly okay for me to rest my head on her shoulder, since the tray table didn’t appear to be so comfortable. (I am all about snuggles with friends and family, don’t get me wrong, but this was a complete stranger!) I kindly replied saying, “No thank you” to which she responded, “Are you okay?” Needless to say, I didn’t respond and I went on with the rest of my flight. Once my interactions with this bizarre woman ceased, the infant next to me decided he was hungry, sleepy, thirsty… something! Because he would not stop whining and screaming for the rest of the 2.5 hour flight... 

One departure and 2 Advil later, it was time to go to Australia! I met at gate 41 with several other Elon friends, and we caught up and shared in the excitement during the 5-hour layover.  As our Qantas plane approach the gate, I think we were all in shock its size. One thing that ran through my mind was, how the heck this enormous piece of plane would actually become airborne and stay in the air?! 
Qantas flight 16 is a 2-story plane that travels 14 hours to and from Australia!
We finally boarded and we were off to Brisbane! With a little help and assistance, I fell right asleep, but I unfortunately slept right through dinner and was quite hungry when I woke up 10 hours later.

I managed to stay awake for the duration of the flight, and watched The Lucky One with my remaining few hours (I have a huge celeb crush on Zac Efron!) Before we knew it we were preparing for landing, with our seatbelts fastened tightly across our laps. As I looked out the window, the Australian soil was becoming closer and closer, and suddenly a feeling less than a jerk, but more of a mere bump occurred. WE MADE IT! And not to mention one of the smoothest landings I had ever experienced.
I was overjoyed to have my two suitcases and Bear (on top) with me when I exited the Brisbane airport. A smooth landing and a great day!
I was overjoyed to have my two suitcases and Bear (on top) with me when I exited the Brisbane airport. A smooth landing and a great day!
Everyone departed the plane and made our way through customs. This is when I had a freighting realization; Bear wasn’t with me. He was still on the plane and there was no way I could go back through customs to find him. Tears filled my eyes as I confessed to Haley and Alexandra my mistake. I pleaded to the people who are in charge of lost baggage to let me go back to get him, or to at least have someone else search the plane. They said they would see what they could do, but no promises. I waited at the carousel for my bags, and was relieved and overjoyed to see BOTH of my suitcases fall to the spinning carousel. Typically I am not so elated to see my luggage, but after my last study abroad experience in Italy, where I went 4 days without my bags, you can imagine the joy I felt. My happiness grew even more when I looked back to the baggage claim counter to see Bear sitting on top! His head was slouched over to the side, as it always has since my dog Skye tries to rip him to shreds every chance she can. I held Bear tight as we took our bags and boarded the shuttles that would take us to campus!

I had a full day of shopping, moving in, and much more that I will post about at a later date. Right now, I am having trouble keeping my eyes open, and I am just happy I stayed awake until 8:07 pm. I miss everyone like crazy! Look for more updates in the coming days as I dive into this adventure.

Much Love,

Tessa Jane Jones xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo


  1. Haley helped me log on to your blog. She met us at Starbucks- bless her heart. We love following your blog. Can't wait to hear how you are doing.. lots of love and hugs. G

  2. glad to know you made okay downunder. Wonder why you didn't want to rest your head on some stranger's shoulder. I'll wriet back soon. Love you, G-pa

  3. I will love following your adventures...keep us posted!

  4. Hi Tessa- what is the weather like.. it is sooo hot here. Can you understand the Austrailan (sp) dialect. Love you G & G

    1. Hi G&G! The weather is beautiful here! It was rainy when we first arrived, but since then it has been nice. It is the middle of winter here, so it does get chilly during the nights and in the early mornings, but there is a good span of time during the day where it is in the 70s! We even got to go swimming at the beach! I'm having a great time so far, and I am glad Haley was able to help you follow my blog!

  5. Hi Tessa
    It was so good skyping w/ you last week. You look fabulous. How lucky you are. We loved seeing the map you posted. It really let's us see where you are. Love, Love G & G

  6. Hi Tessa
    G & I got your postcard. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!! That was so nice of you. Here we are in the middle of August. Where is the time going. Love you, love you
    G & G