After months of planning, and many good-byes, we parted ways from our parents, who stood waving outside the Boston airport security line--unpacked our two computers, removed our shoes and belts, emptied our pockets, warned the luggage screeners of the baby food and sippy cup of water, and then repacked all of these items-- and made our way to gate A15 two hours ahead of scheduled boarding only to learn (after an hour's delay) that our flight would not be leaving until the following day at 5pm- roughly 21 hours later than it was originally scheduled.
All 270 passengers then made their way (after retrieving their checked luggage, of course) to the airport Hilton where we were given rooms and meal and travel vouchers.
The following morning (after spending nearly an hour and a half in line to recheck our luggage and spending about $70 for an hour's worth of time at the aquarium) we returned to the airport, went back through security, and arrived at gate A15 two hours early to have the flight delayed another four hours. Through it all, we joked with the other passengers, heard stories of their lives and the things (or people) that were bringing them to Amsterdam (or their final destination), learned of their hidden talents, made new friends (especially Eleanor), and watched each others' luggage (and each others' children). I found it heartwarming to see the tenderness and goodness that being stranded in an airport brought out in people.
And despite all the delays (and needing to, literally, run from one gate to the next in Amsterdam) we made it from Boston to Arusha, Tanzania just two hours before midnight on December 31st, 2009.
Tanzania or bust.