On Finally Beginning, and Emirates: A Review

It’s been a while since my last post—
There’s been a lot of
Stress
In the acquisition of my study visa.

The short story:
It took around
Eight (8) returns to the Italian Embassy,

To submit documents,

To explain my finances,

To appeal against their denial, and

To reason against their request for unnecessary and private documents.

But, with the help and support of

The Admissions Office and

The Financial Aid Office of

Johns Hopkins SAIS,

I finally received my visa
Last Saturday, August 6—

Just in time to rebook my flight
For August 9,

In order to arrive in time for my housing appointment
On August 11.

Yes, it’s pretty much been a
Whirlwind of last minute things-to-do
Those last 48 hours.

Thankfully, ever since the notice of my denial,
The day before I was originally supposed to leave (July 27),
I had been operating under an optimistic view

That I’d get my visa eventually,

That this was all just one more hurdle to overcome,

So I’d been making small preparations whenever I could:

Packing away all the things I would leave behind,

Packing up all the things I already knew I’d be bringing with me, and

Packing memories with my boyfriend to hopefully last us two years apart.

And then,
I was at the airport
(After a last lunch with both my dad and my boyfriend),
Ready to begin my journey.

Let me digress here for a bit
To let you know how my flight has been:

Emirates.

My boyfriend and I chose this airline because
It had a flight direct to Bologna,
Instead of dropping off at the Rome Airport, from where we’d have to take a train to/from Bologna.

While the original reason for us looking for an airline that has a flight to Bologna was
So that my boyfriend wouldn’t have a hard time heading home—we’d originally planned to start our trip in Frankfurt, Germany—
When his visa application got denied and my trip had to be rescheduled,
It’s a rather lucky thing that we chose this airline.

After all, not only am I now pressed for time to arrive in Bologna,
I’m also lugging around
Two years worth of luggage,
A difficult enough task alone, even more if I had to come from a far-off airport.

So, given the practical reasons for taking Emirates,
How was it as a carrier?
Let it be known, this is
My first time

On a non-budget carrier, and

On a long-haul flight.

I can say this:

Booking was quick and user-friendly online, and even
Rebooking at their office was pretty painless—

Their receptionists were all very courteous and helpful; even though I rebooked for the day before the flight, they were able to get me a reserved seat by a window.

Online check-in was easy too,

Though the excess baggage fees are
Atrociously expensive, even with the 10% discount if you buy it online prior to arriving at the airport.

The plane was big and
Fairly spacious,
IMG_4444
Complete with all the amenities:

Standard meals for both legs of the flight AND a meal voucher for certain establishments at the Dubai Airport for during the stopover, and the food was of decent taste and quantity,

A TV screen and game controller per seat with a fair amount of movies, music and games (though I’m not really the movie-watching type of person on flights), as well as a flight tracker that lets you know exactly where the plane is (pretty cool and useful, if you ask me),
IMG_4470

A complementary blanket per person, and

A really clean bathroom (though perhaps I’m not the best person to judge this as I very rarely actually use the bathroom on planes, buses, etc.).
IMG_4522

The service of the crew was good as well—
Polite, though
I was a bit thrown off when they woke me up to eat and their tone was a bit short while I was disoriented.

Also, the pilot to Dubai was really good too:

The flight itself was smooth, the only time it shook was when we passed through storm clouds which obviously creates turbulence, and

The landing was exceptional—you barely feel the bump when the plane hits the ground! It was by far the best landing I have ever experienced.

The connection to the airport for transfer was smooth too:

There were buses to take us from the plane to Dubai Airport and vice versa, and

Since the Emirates at Manila already printed me a boarding pass for both legs of my flight,
I only had to pass through a very quick security check at Dubai and didn’t have to go through another check-in procedure.

Overall, I can say Emirates
Lives up to its reputation of being a good airline.
Despite the length of my flight,
It’s been a pretty comfortable trip.

And now,
I’m finally here—

In Bologna,
IMG_4516

In Italy,

About to begin what has been
Years in the making.

I can’t wait!

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