In 2007, I took the first summer vacation by myself. It was scary thinking I would be by myself with no one to help me get around. I was flying to Poland to see family members and I only knew a little polish. I was dropped off at an agency that we paid for, in order to get to JFK , New York from New Britain, Connecticut. As we got towards New York, it started pouring. I did not know anyone else that was riding with me in the transport van, so I made friends that I would be able to communicate with so I would not be riding to New York alone. When we got to JFK, we took all of our luggage to the counter, and checked in. The problem was that, I did not know as much polish as I do now, and I did not know how to tell her that I was by myself. She said to come back around 11pm and it was only around 9pm. The people that checked me in did not even care I was alone. I stuck with the people that were on the van, so I was not walking around JFK alone. It is very scary when you are only 12 and walking around a gigantic airport without anyone helping you.
Later on, before 11pm, a lady from the van that helped me before, walked me up to the counter and told them I was alone. The lady still did not care. She told me to sit next to her and wait until she was finished typing on her computer. So, I sat there about 10 minutes. Then she took my ticket and walked me to the gates and told them that I was an underage traveler. I went through all the metal detectors and let them search through my carry-on. Then, the worst thing that could ever happen, happened. My plane was delayed about 3 hours. We could not get anything to eat or drink because it was not allowed on the plane. We had to sit and wait and do nothing. When we started boarding around 3am, everyone was cranky and the babies and children were whining. We all had the same idea, to get some sleep. On the plane, it was hot and sticky until they started moving, then the A.C. was on high. That was going to be the worst 9 hour trip of my life. The worst part is that they gave us food when we started flying. We were late when we got to Poland. I aunt did not even know and there was no way that I could have contacted her. When I finally landed in Poland, I went to go pick up my baggage. The worst thing ever happened, again. They lost my luggage. I had no clothes to change into, so my aunt filled out the papers and they delivered them, when they were found.
This experience taught me so many different lessons. It made me mature quickly and to make smart decisions about unanticipated situations. Especially, when it came to me to decide where and with whom I was going with, after the lady took my baggage. I learned to be patient, by waiting so many hours for the next plane. I chose to go by myself, so I could see how I would be able to handle being alone. I learned responsibility from being careful of who I trusted and watching my bag and myself. Flying alone was a great experience.
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