Apparently, it's true what they say: "If you travel with someone, you can do anything else with that person easily."
Over the last 10 days, I learned so much, but one of the biggest lessons that I learned was that if you can travel with people who are basically strangers and leave the trip with them being some of your closest friends, you really can do anything. I say the word "basically" strangers because we did have a class together before this trip that met once a week on Friday mornings. However, sitting in class with people and listening to them present is definitely not the same as developing close and personal relationships with them. Three days before the trip happened, we didn't know each other's names- which is crazy to me looking back on it!
With this group of ladies (and a few gents), we saw the world together. Well, we saw the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic- so not the entire world. The first "bonding" activity was the joy of experiencing 9 hours on a plane together. It was pretty awkward in some cases where you looked at the person you were sitting next to and realized that you had 9 hours to bond. Me? I got placed sitting next to my professor and her son- which was an entirely new experience.
The second "bonding" activity included us missing our flight from Frankfurt to Poland. We ran like banshees through the Frankfurt airport to our terminal only to be told that we couldn't get on the plane. If it wasn't for that experience, I'm not sure that we would have bonded in the way that we did. Shared (kind of bad) experiences truly do bring people together. On the plus side, we had more time to discover what food Frankfurt really had to offer. You can imagine my sheer delight when we came across a pastry shop!
We also took lots of walking tours. I'm not talking about a half hour of sightseeing, I'm referring to going from 9 am- 3 pm on your feet exploring the city with a tour guide. Now, it was super cool to see all of the sights. However, through all of this walking, we were able to talk and also bond in the feet aches, hunger, and slight sickness that was floating around our group for the entirety of the trip.
Now, the most exciting/ stressful part of the trip came when we were going from Poland to Prague on an overnight train. I thought it would resemble something similar to the Night Bus from Harry Potter... I was wrong. Very wrong. Included in the *tiny* car were six beds, with three stacked on top of one another. We somehow managed to fit 5 people and 5 very large suitcases inside of this train car, but with everyone being motion sick- it was a long night. I'm grateful for this night train because we all got extremely close to one another that night, seeing everyone in an uncomfortable situation.
We also conquered things like the train system, finding our way around, and the currency. When going out to eat, the server always put everything onto one check and left us to figure out the math. I don't think I've ever done that much math and converting in my head in my life. It was a struggle, but we got it down. There were language barriers too, where we had to adapt to only saying very simple phrases for those who hardly spoke English.
Did we conquer the entire world? Maybe not. But we did figure out 3 new countries and how to navigate life in them. The United States is a piece of cake.