While the news was still fresh in my brain, we still had to prepare for our flight to Jacksonville, Florida that was happening in a few weeks. The shock was still flying around in my mind… and tears would roll down my face from being so overwhelmed. It was time to put a checklist in place…
As I could only bring one family member under the NHS, we decided that the most realistic person to come along with me would be my older sister Parris, you can read her experience here. It was the quickest two weeks I had ever experienced, packing had began and before we knew it… we were on our journey! Everything besides food and drinks was going to be paid for by the NHS: flight, transport, accommodation… everything
We had an early morning flight, so our taxi driver picked us up early. It was an emotional send off, but we were excited at the same time as this was new for both of us. Me and Parris aren’t the best of flyers, but we had each other and that’s all we really needed to get through this.
We reached Heathrow airport, and the moment had felt so surreal. We sent off our luggage, passed through security and had a spot of breakfast just before flying. I’m surprised that I even managed to eat something, usually I pass on the idea.
We boarded the flight perfectly fine, and found our seats. Luckily, the seat next to us was vacant so we had a row to ourselves. A mixture of emotions was running through my mind but mostly anxiousness. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought though. Unfortunately, just as we were about to take off, they turned the plane round and found that the plane wasn’t ready to lift off the ground. So they took us back to the tarmac, needless to say, we were on the tarmac in the plane for 7 hours… paperwork, and getting the plane fixed takes a lot of time!
They gave us the option to leave the plane, but the majority of us wanted to get going. So we finally took off! The flight was smooth, and as we reached America, a storm was brewing in the skies. We were so fed up with the long journey that we weren’t really bothered by the lightening – it was quite interesting to watch while in the air!
We missed our connecting flight to Jacksonville, so we stayed the night in Washington D.C – which is something I thought I never would say. The night was filled with tossing and turning. Me and my sister both struggled with home sickness on the first night, and we couldn’t wait to get to our apartment in Jacksonville the following morning.
It had been quite the journey so far, so we were keeping our fingers crossed for a smooth flight the next morning. We ate breakfast around 5am, our body clocks were so off… I enjoyed my first American pancakes!
This flight did go a lot smoother, we were initially worried because it’s the smallest plane we had ever been on before. The journey didn’t take long either, about an hour and a half. And before you knew it… we finally landed in Jacksonville.
We were greeted by a chauffeur, and a limousine – ready to take us to our apartment. All thanks to the fantastic organisation between the NHS and the team in Florida. They corresponded so well, making sure we got here safely. We were now in the hands of the Americans. And it was quite the experience I will never forget! I felt so blessed to be having this treatment as I know you have to fit a certain criteria.