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International Center

University of Missouri

First flights

Filed in Blog, Netherlands, Scholarship, Smith Family Scholarship by on January 17, 2015

So, today is the day. The time finally came, and I said goodbye to the family right at the gate getting on the plane. There was a wheelchair cart thing waiting to bring me on board. Once I transferred out, they brought me to my seat, which they moved to first class to make it a little easier, I guess. I went to transfer out, but the arm rest didn’t move, so I just kind of had to throw myself a little. Wasn’t the most graceful maneuver, but they would have helped me if I needed it.


First class upgrade on my way to Amsterdam

Once the plane landed, I had 10 minutes to go like an entire mile down to the correct gate. They were waiting for me and I zoomed my little heart out to get there. Once again, the captain moved me to first class (bonus!). But because it’s an international flight, this first class is more like a little apartment. Everyone gets their own TV with movies, music or whatever else you can think of, the seats recline and prop up your feet, and even lay completely down like a bed if you want. There are Beats-like headphones, and a little goodie bag. The pillow and blanket they provided are filled with feathers. Of course all drinks are free, and I was brought my hot towel and “appetizer” of shrimp and avocado. I ordered beef tenderloin for dinner; but my choices were chicken coq au vin, beef tenderloin, five-cheese ravioli, or roasted chicken. I will also be having dessert. So, needless to say, I have moved in.

I did have to go to the bathroom, which was a nightmare. The “aisle chair” that I’m supposed to use is literally like a dolly with a few extra bars for a chair. To get in the bathroom (which, to be fair, they said was the smaller one) they had to pretty much force me in there. It was a little difficult, I must say. I did make a friend along the way, though, and have had a few people offer to help me despite them being in their obvious time of stress during travel, so that’s nice. But my friend is the flight attendant who has a son-in-law who is also paralyzed. But he has been using the exoskeleton and just used it to walk down the aisle for his wedding. Tear. Apparently he is going to St. Louis in the next couple of weeks for some sort of trial, similar to the one I heard about in Kentucky where they are trying to use some sort of microchip device to stimulate damaged nerves. I never even heard about it, but I would like to look into it. She said she will give me his contact information, maybe we can help each other out.


Food on the plane

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