Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And Today Is The Day

Waking up to my alarm clock at 2:00 A.M was easier than I expected. With only 3 hours of sleep, I expected to snooze my alarm at least 5 times. However, I awoke with excitement and with a lot of adrenaline. Today was the day I left to Atlanta, Georgia, just the beginning of my month long trip. 
By 2:30 A.M, the whole house was awake and rushing around in order I could get to El Cerrito High School by 3:50 A.M. Usually what delays my family is the constant fighting for the sinks, the early morning arguing, or the Bay Area traffic. However, the hold up this early morning was the picture taking. At least 50 pictures were snapped before we even left the house. Personally, I hate taking pictures, especially when it's the same picture taken 5 times over, but on different devices. Today was different though. I wanted to take pictures and be able to remember the beginning of my trip. 
From left to right, my sister Katherine, me, my mom May, and my dad Dennis
After a 10 minute drive, we arrived at El Cerrito High School with still 20 minutes to spare. However, being 20 minutes early is still not early enough to beat Don and even my fellow cohort member Justice. 

Unloading my few bags took less than a few minutes and before I knew it, it was time to say my good byes to my dad and sister. Instead of saying "Good Bye", I always say "See you later", because it allows me to remind them that I am going to return safely and I will see everyone again. 
After the departure of my dad and sister, my mom and I strolled up to Don and began signing papers and adding name tags to our bags. Once the rest of the cohort arrived, Don weighed everyone's bag, mine weighing in at 41.5 lbs, and gave us a brief speech. I would like to thank Don and everyone else who supported and helped contribute towards the ILC. 
My cohort gathering around Don to listen to his infamous speech
The moment the airport shuttle pulled away from El Cerrito High School at 4:51 A.M, a lot of events happened very quickly, back to back. The drive to SFO airport, bag check-in, and getting through security, took less than a hour. By 5:50 A.M, my cohort, chaperone, and I were sitting in front of our plane eating breakfast. by 6:30 A.M, we were boarding our flight, Southwest, to Atlanta, Georgia. 
My fellow cohort members arriving at the check-in station.
Being my first airplane ride ever since I was a baby, I was very ecstatic and excited. I ended up sitting away from my cohort due to the fact that I wanted a window seat and I was interested in meeting someone new. My interest in meeting someone new on the plane ride slowly died as a middle age man sat down and ended up sleeping the whole trip. To the left of him was my chaperone, Chan-Law. The take-off was amazing and it felt very different. Being lifted off the ground felt like a roller coaster ride that lasted 4 hours. Once the plane reached an elevation of 7000 feet, seat belts were allowed to be taken off and people were allowed to stand up. However, I was not worried about my seat belt or being sore and needing to stretch. My eyes and attention was focused on the beautiful view outside my window. Flying over the white, puffy clouds made me feel like I was in a new world. Seeing the tremendous scenery, made me question myself which state I was in the further we traveled. 
The beautiful view outside my window. Is that space at the very top?!
Our flight landed roughly around 2:45 P.M eastern time. My body clock did not adjust to the 3 hour difference, but one can tell by the attitude and looks of workers that they have gone through a long day already. 
The walk to baggage claim felt like mile after mile after mile. Eventually, we made it to luggage claim 4 and we all claimed our bags. By 3:20 P.M, we were on a shuttle headed to Holiday Inn Express. 
Check-in went very smoothly and we were able to settle into our rooms for a complete hour. At 5:20 P.M, the cohort was called down for the taxi ride to Centennial Olympic Park. Upon our arrival, we decided to eat first, than walk around and sightsee. Thanks to Yelp, we were able to locate a restaurant named Ted's Montana Grill. The food was delicious and the ambiance was pleasant and welcoming. Our meal was quick and before we knew it, we were walking the streets toward Centennial Olympic Park again. After the big meal, our walk slowed down tremendously. We strolled around the park, passed by Coca Cola World, Georgia Aquarium, and enjoyed catch with the Justice's frisbee.
Cornell cohort jumping in Centennial Olympic Park
Our cohort was picked up at 8:00 and got back to the hotel at 8:20. With a quick shower and clean up, everyone met up at Justice's and my room to watch the Warriors game. Go Warriors!

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