Well the decision had been made, eventually, and I was off to Kansas to start a position as a postdoc in Mark Holder’s lab in Lawrence, Kansas. Now if you don’t know where Kansas is, it’s pretty much smack bang in the middle of the United States and pretty much in the middle of no where. I suspect most of you wouldn’t have even heard of Kansas if it wasn’t for the Wizard of Oz. Certainly from the comments I had from friends before I left that was pretty much all they knew. Needless to say there were no such thing as a direct flight from London to anywhere remotely near Kansas so instead I’d be flying to Kansas City via Washington, DC. Just to confuse matters Kansas City isn’t actually in Kansas. Well at least the Kansas City where the airport is, isn’t. That’s in Missouri, just the opposite side of the river to the, smaller, Kansas City that is actually in Kansas.
My flight was leaving Heathrow at midday and my parents were kind enough to give me a lift to the airport. However my Dad’s a bit of a worrier when it comes to catching flights so despite my suggestion that we should aim for 9 and that would give us plenty of leeway in case of traffic we end up leaving Clacton at a little after 6. As I’m sure most people reading this know that does not make for a with-it Daniel! Needless to say we got to Heathrow with lots of time to spare, about 8:30, and after a healthy McDonalds breakfast it was time to say good-bye to my parents and start travelling.
Can’t remember much about the flights if I’m honest. I’ve done enough trans-altantic flights in my time that they’re all much the same. I obviously got through immigration OK as well as I was soon in Kansas City airport waiting for my luggage. My new boss was picking me up from the airport and I was hoping he’d spot me based on the fact that I’d have a lot of luggage as the best photo I’d seen of him was this rather flattering photo – he’s the one in the Hawaiian shirt in the front row, second from right. However there was no one meeting anyone at all. Turns out that thanks to the Continental / United merge he’d gone to the wrong terminal. By the time he’d corrected his mistake it was easy for us to spot each other – we were pretty much the only people on the terminal concourse.
Having met up he took me back to his house where I would be staying until I got somewhere to stay. Amazingly I managed to talk to him for the entire 45 minute journey rather than fall asleep. Once I got to his house I met his wife, two kids and his mother-in-law. Turns out she was visiting for a few days and that Mark’s wife had picked her up a couple of hours before from the same airport he’d picked me up from. Apparently she pretty much got back and Mark left. By this time I was rather tired so I chatted a bit and packed myself off to bed.