Friday, September 30, 2011

Overseas Travel Adventures

24 September 2011

The days before my departure were a whirlwind of catering, packing, and working in the barns. The day before I left, Chris & I did a full afternoon of trimming goat hooves. Then it was a long night of trying to stuff 3 weeks of clothes in 2 bags. I am the type who takes 2-3 bags for a weekend trip. I once took 9 pairs of shoes for a 3 day Farm Bureau conference. Packing for this trip was quite overwhelming as I tried to imagine every possible scenario. Shortly after 3am I went to bed, as packed and as ready as I could be . . . and quite exhausted! Preparing a farm, a Farm Bureau, and this farmer for a trip is not an easy task (and one I underestimated).

Goatherd Facebook status: “For all visitors to Harrison Farm, please be alerted that The Grandmother will be unsupervised while I am in Germany. This means she will be highly medicated, her guns will be fully loaded, and she is threatening to bring my death dog into the house while I am gone. We will know perpetrators by their DNA . . . since half their face will be in my dog's jaws!

My alarm woke me at 7:30am, in time for a quick power shower. I dressed in my airline glamour ensemble and gave my old-old-old cowboy boots a good polish, just in time to panic that I could not find some of my Euros. (I should not be trusted with anything.) Thankfully, Christopher arrived early to motivate me to get moving AND made the excellent suggestion of looking in my (unlocked) Goatmobile for the Euros . . . great success!

I woke up Grandmother, hugged the dogs, and waved to the chickens. There is nothing like a long impending absence to remind one of how dearly they love the life they have built. Dear Lord, please bring me home safe to my family & farm. Chris took me to Starbucks for my pre-flight coffee. We arrived to the airport and he held my hand – literally and figuratively – through the check-in process. I got my first passport when I was 16, and FINALLY for the first time ever, I actually had to show someone my passport. Lovely! The TSA agents were super nice; I especially liked the gentleman who checked my ID, and then completed me on my manners. From my brief conversation with him, it sounded as though manners were rare. Two thoughts: Americans are losing respect for manners and individual TSA agents have been de-humanized due to the public’s perception that they are the TSA conglomerate. Americans, wake up! Take back your society and your government!

My flight to Newark went smooth. Thanks to my wonderful Grandfather for passing down the Harrison “ability-to-sleep-anywhere” gene! A nice nap definitely helped me.

Message From Lauren (one of my peeps from UF) “Have a great trip!!!! Don't get sold for any less than 50 goats. Know what you're worth!”

Goatherd Facebook Status: For my loyal followers eagerly awaiting travel updates (that's both of you!): I have made it safely to Newark! I am attempting to lay low in Jersey, so The Goatherd's star power & bulging biceps don't make The Situation jealous . . . GTL: Goats, Travel, Liquor.

In Newark, I met up with my fellow Fellows. Tracy works for American Farm Bureau out of Washington DC. She has the kind of naturally beautiful face that looks good even after sleeping on a plane all night. Chad is with Colorado Farm Bureau and raises cattle. He is tall, funny, and intelligent . . . a more-refined Sean Haley of the farm world. Shane operates a ranch in Colorado. He is warm, straightforward, and looks like a roughstock rider (which he was!). They are all super nice . . . and they are all married parents!

The flight . . . my first overseas flight! It would have been better with Chris to look after me. I lucked out and got my favorite seat on the plane: back row on the aisle, near the bathroom. Luckily, the couple which was sitting in my aisle with me was young, slender, quiet, and stayed seated. I slept on and off. I also did some reading from a new book I bought on Quanah Parker and the end of the Comanche war nation. I did not find the change in time to be difficult, but I did dislike sitting upright for 8 hours and trying to sleep.

It was worth it, however, when I landed in Berlin!

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