Car Pooling with Students

8403 miles, 15 hours 20 minutes to go.

It never gets easier when I see this display before take-off. Plus, after 15 hours, it only got me to New Jersey. Home was seven more hours in the airport and another one-hour flight away.

Thus, when the board showed that all flights to upstate had been cancelled due to weather condition, I felt happier to share a Hertz rental with two graduate students and a former colleague.

The students just came back from a 6-week internship in London. She traveled before. He didn’t. In fact, this is the first time ever that he got a passport and left the U.S. soil.

I asked what was most noticeable in London.

“Portions. The meals are so much smaller.”

“The service in the restaurants is really fast. I don’t know how they came out with these meals so quickly, for one person or for a group of us, the same.”

“People are so approachable. You stop on the street with a map, someone will come up to ask whether you needed help. I don’t get that here at home, do I?”

“The way you have to put your silverware when you are done. If you don’t put it like this, ” He demonstrated, “They’ll let you sit there.”

I asked what difference did the trip make for them.

“I was very nervous when I decided to go. I got laid off before the trip. That kind of pushed me to go for a change. Now, I feel refreshed. I feel if I can handle London, I can handle jobs. I loved it there. I can imagine working there.”

I told him about Asia. He can live here, too.

At midnight, we said good-bye. The students had three more hours to drive. They asked where might they find an open restaurant.

“I so crave for bagel with eggs. I must have it.” She wanted it even if it is from a gas station.


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