May 23, 2009 — departure from the US
from the Rome Experience travel
journal of seminarian Adam Kerrigan
I had only been back from seminary for a week, and already I had to leave home. It was only a month since the passing of my older brother, which made leaving the family behind more difficult than usual. My parents and I made the two hour trek to the Haan farm in Lafayette, where I met with Tom and Kevin to travel to the Chicago airport. We arrived there with about three hours to spare. Once we made it to the gate, we gathered our luggage and waited for everyone to meet at Air France.
The first person I met was Jason Keas, a great guy from the Archdiocese of Denver. We chatted for a few minutes until Jeff Gardner from Missouri came storming our way. From the moment I saw Jeff, I knew he was either a former football player or gym teacher. — his hands could probably wrap around my head twice. I discovered that he used to play football for Missouri and even coached for a time.
After all the men arrived, we decided to have our last American meal together at McDonald’s. We checked in our bags and entered the terminal to wait for our flight. While in the terminal, Fr. Eric Nielsen rounded up the group to have a meeting before we hopped on the plane. He laid out the ground rules for the trip and notified us that this was not going to be just a sightseeing tour of Rome — the purpose of this trip was to develop a deeper spiritual life and gain additional theological knowledge necessary for the diocesan priesthood.
Aboard the Air France plane, I already felt I was in another world. The stewardesses greeted us in French. Unfortunately, our plane idled on the runway for a little over an hour before taking off, which didn’t help Brian’s flight anxiety. After they fixed the wings or whatever it was, we were off to Paris, France.
Unlike flights in the United States, European flights serve you drinks and food for no additional cost. I opted for the tortellini pasta with a side of salmon and some delicious pastry. After I finished eating, I settled in and watched the movie “A Beautiful Mind” . To say the least, the flight was a first-class experience.