Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And Here We Go!

Sometimes, I never understand why I am early.  It is a good habit to pick up, but it deprives me of sleep most of the time, especially when it comes to ordinary events and circumstances.  Nonetheless, there was nothing ordinary about today.   It was the longest day of my life, and one of the best I have ever had.  Today was the day we left to start our adventures.

My day actually started yesterday – I was busy figuring out what to do on my last day in California.  Over the course of that escapade, I managed to deter myself from sleeping at all, which was not a good idea. 

Fast forward to Mel’s Diner, at 2 AM – the food was good and I was nervous.  Or rather, I felt a little sick, though I did not really understand why.  A month away from home seemed like a momentous undertaking, an opportunity that would only come once in a lifetime.   And yet, the facts had not hit me yet, I still had two hours before I left for the airport.

At El Cerrito High School, I gathered my things and put them to the side.  The shuttle arrived and the group gave their goodbyes, goodbye to all the parents, the siblings, Mr. Ramsey and Don, all of whom helped along the way.  As the headlights flashed by the quiet city, it had not hit me yet.
San Francisco International was the same as ever, crowded and the service seemed a bit annoyed.  As we boarded the Delta Airlines flight and crammed into the aisle seat, things seemed all too surreal.
My memory of the flight was very vague because I slept through most of the four hours on the way to Minneapolis.  The connecting flight between Minneapolis and Chicago’s O’Hare Airport was the same.  Sleep is very appealing on long flights such as these.

From O’Hare to the L Train, the heat and humidity was starting to get to me.  However, the nice company on the train and the air conditioning kept me content.

After another connecting train, we left the subterranean world of transit for the sweltering city above.   Once the unrelenting heat, the thick humidity, the towering skyscrapers came into focus, it finally hit me.  I was here, and this story was beginning.

Once we found the hotel and freshened up, the group met up with two WCCUSD alumni who lived in Chicago, Stephanie and Donielle.  They gave us a little bit of insight on the educational differences between Chicago and the Bay Area, as well as great places to go.

Giordano's Famous stuffed pizza was fabulous.
We spent time at the world-famous Giordano’s for their deep-dish pizza.   Dinner was very filling, with a huge stuffed pepperoni pizza split between Kevin and me.  The pizza was incredibly good but a bit too much.  Shades of this morning’s breakfast rose throughout the dinner.

When dinner was finished, we resolved to visit Millennium Park.  However, the weather was not working with us as thunderstorms and rain came down, soaking all of us.  It was incredibly fun.

Now that the day was done, everything is beginning to sink in a little more.  Soon enough, sleep will come again and then, we set off for Northwestern, and the next chapter of this amazing adventure.

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