September 18, 2012
It was a quiet car ride to the airport. Amissa was crying most of the way after parting with Giuseppe. I felt just as strong about leaving the boy but was driving and could not release. We arrived at LAX.
Even with all my research and planning, we overlooked one detail. Amissa was unable to travel on a one way ticket. Forced to purchase a $780 return ticket, we were allowed to proceed. I parted ways with my father. It was not as emotional as I thought it would be but there were still tears. We walked up the stairs towards the security check. I imagined what we looked like as we disappeared into the crowd.
We waited no more that 15 minutes to board our plane. Row 36. A 24 german-physicist sat on the aisle seat of our row. His name was Toby, short for Tobias. He was returning to Berlin from a three-month research internship in Washington D.C.. Amissa sat by the window as Toby and I got to know each other. I asked him about his favorite sites in Europe. Throughout the flight, he told me about top spots. Dresden, Germany: A once beautiful city, now rebuilt, bombed by the Allies in WWII as revenge for the Germans for destroying one of their cities.
He said not to miss the Grunes Gewolbe in Dresden. A museum that houses precious gems and manmade wonders — such as, a cherry seed carved with hundreds of different faces. He then went on to talk about Middle Age Hanze cities, supposedly the first cities in the world, considered so because of innovative trade routes. Tallinn, Estonia was also highly recommended. The Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. The Hostel Castle in the Black Forest, Sachische-Schwaz-Bastei, and Villa Borghese, Rome.
We also spoke about his internship in synthetic biology. he spoke about STEM and their achievements transplanting DNA. He also told me that there is now the technology to create a vaccine for a swine/bird flu-like virus within 24-72 hours of a breakout.
Aside with conversing with Toby, I watched Brave, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Intouchables, and started the Avengers with Amissa. The entertainment system on the airplane was very impressive. Definitely enough content to keep you entertained for a ten-hour flight. We constantly drank water. I had a tea. We ate roasted almonds, spaghetti, salad, cheese & crackers, and bread for our first meal. Amissa did not wake me up for ice cream. We had goldfish/ tortilla chips. Two hours before landing, we were served breakfast — eggs, potatoes, yogurt, fruit, cheese, and bread. Our flight with KLM was a positive one. During the ten-hour flight, we saw the sun set and rise.