Saturday, July 30, 2011

Home At Last

Being back home in Pinole feels relatively normal, yet incredibly strange.

As I stepped foot into my dusty bedroom, everything is as I had left it exactly twenty five days ago, yet the girl returning to it is anything but the same. There is a beauty in returning to a familiar place and realizing how one has changed and evolved as a person.

It was a long day of traveling: After a quick breakfast at the Georgia Tech. Hotel & Conference Center, we hurried to ATL to return the rental car and check in our baggage. We were perfectly on time for our first flight to Houston, Texas. The rush to catch the transfer flight to San Francisco, however, was slim—we made it just in time as the passengers were boarding the plane.

That of course left no room in between for us to catch lunch, so Ms. Bulls bought our luncheon on the plane to enjoy while flying high in the cloudy sky. I had a grilled chicken salad with Italian balsamic vinegar dressing, which was very delectable.

After a bumpy landing, our cohort made our way to the baggage claim, where my sister and some of Aiyana’s family were waiting. We snapped a last photograph of ourselves as we closed the book of our journey and headed home.

I have to thank Aiyana and Kye for being the best companions to travel to and experience the Southeast with. It was a pleasure having their company.

I also thank Ms. Bulls, our chaperone, for being our guardian and taking care of us, even on the days when we were busy with our studies and many activities. She always made sure we were healthy and happy, finding time to visit and check up on us.

And last, but certainly not least, I must thank Mr. Ramsey, Ms. Kronenberg, and Don for making this entire experience possible for us. It was no doubt a life-changing experience that I would have never dreamed of having, and this has opened up our eyes and minds to the world and everything it has to offer, so much more beyond what we would have ever known.

A View From Above

Everyone in Atlanta gripes about the traffic; and they have every right to do so. We were running a bit behind to go to the airport because of the roadwork, but we made it. We had a nice and informative conversation with our driver from the Hertz company that took us to the airport. Apparently he’s from the Bay Area like us, and moved out to Georgia a few years ago. I loved hearing the opinion of a fellow Bay Area person on life out here in Atlanta. He talked about the cheap costs of houses out here and the incredible amount of heat and humidity.

The first plane was a Continental Express plane, meaning it was dinky, and only three seats wide. We passengers were stopped from leaving for a few moments after we had landed, because there was a passenger that needed medical attention. It didn’t look deathly serious, but he seemed a bit woozy and pale.

We sped to our next plane, which we boarded immediately. Even though this plane was bigger, I found it surprisingly more uncomfortable than the previous compact plane. Houston to San Francisco was a long flight of about 3 or 4 hours or so.

My mom had arrived from her trip to Thailand just a few hours before I did. We got a ride from a family friend and talked about religion on the way home. It was fun to talk about and hear everyone’s opinions on religion, because everyone has very different views.

The first thing I did when I got home was to try to find my cats and get them to be excited about my arrival home. After little prevail, my mom and I then showed all the items we had brought from our trips and shared stories. I am glad to be home. It’ll take some getting used to of not having a dessert with every dinner though.

Throughout the week, Julia, Kye, and I will be posting our final thoughts on our trip. Check in soon to see our evalutation!