When my day began at around 2:00 AM, I was nothing more than a nervous wreck. But, honestly, when you're as nervous as I was and running on only four hours of sleep, you can hardly blame me. Thoughts like "What if my luggage is overweight?", "Did I forget something?", or "What if I get arrested at the airport?" And the more I tried to reassure myself that everything would be okay, the more anxious I became. Luckily, when my mother woke up, she was able to calm me down with some encouraging words and a nice hug.
My mother and I arrived at El Cerrito High School at 3:40 AM and began to unload my suitcases. As it turns out, I really was worrying for nothing, as my suitcase ended up weighing only 32 pounds. Not too long after my luggage was weighed and set aside with the others, the airport shuttle scheduled to take us to San Francisco Airport soon drove up towards the school.
However, our "shuttle" was the complete opposite of what I was suspecting. From what I was told beforehand, I was expecting our shuttle to be a van, and definitely not a stretch limo. I couldn't believe it--not only was I heading to New York City, but I would be spending a portion of my journey riding there in a limo. It was at this point, that I was sure that all the hard work, stress, and sleep deprivation was definitively worth it. We celebrated the arrival of shuttle with two group pictures--one simply in front of El Cerrito High and the other in front of the limo.
Soon, it was time to give our last goodbyes, and I as gave my mom one final hug I came to realize something--this trip is my first time ever being away from home. The realization was a bit unnerving at first, but now I see it as a form of encouragement. This is my opportunity to prove to my mother, the Ivy League Connection, and to myself that I'm an independent, responsible young adult who is capable of handling herself.
When we passed security and arrived inside our airport terminal, Mrs. L had us pick up our breakfast and lunches at an in-airport restaurant. I enjoyed a breakfast pizza topped with eggs, bacon, and green onions, a 7-Up, and, unfortunately, due to a mix-up in my order, no lunch. After everyone had bought their food, we settled down for a quick breakfast before finally boarding our plane at 6:45 AM.
Personally, I think that plane ride was nice. Since we were seated together, Lenny, Adrianne, and I managed to bond over things like broken remote controls, wind turbulence, current events, bad reality television, and a lack of a goodnight's sleep.
Our plane landed in New York at about 11:00 AM and after gathering all of our luggage, we were picked up by another airport shuttle, but this time it's destination was not an airport--it was our hotel, Hotel Beacon.
|My hotel room!|
As soon as the shuttle pulled up to the front of the hotel I knew that Hotel Beacon was going to be one of the most luxurious hotels I would ever see. And as expected, the interior did not disappoint.
We were then divided into groups of two--Morvarid and Aurea, Lucas and Lenny, and finally Adrianne and myself. Not too long after getting settled into our assigned rooms, we were off again as we were scheduled to dine at Keens Steakhouse for the night.
To get to the restaurant, we took the Penn Station subway, located only a few blocks away from our hotel.
New York's subway system is certainly a lot different that what I'm used to back in the Bay Area. Compared to BART, it's quicker, more crowded, and a lot more intimidating.
After the subway ride came a walk to the restaurant, and on the way there I found the scenery breathtaking. We were even able to catch a few glimpses of some other places that we'll be visiting such as Madison Square Garden and Times Square.
When we arrived at Keens Steakhouse, we were quickly seated and served. For an appetizer, Mrs. L had ordered everyone a batch of oysters, whereas I had order the short rib for dinner, which, despite it's name, was absolutely huge. Because of my large entree, I barely had any room any side dishes and even the idea of dessert made my stomach hurt!
After dinner, we quickly returned for the hotel room and went over tomorrow's schedule. Afterwards, we all returned to hotel rooms for the night.