I stayed up pretty late last night, so I had trouble working efficiently this morning. I didn't wake up early enough to go grab breakfast, so I just packed my bags and headed down to the gazebo to meet with Ms. L. I had a sinking feeling all day that I left something in my room. So far, I haven't noticed anything missing, so it was probably just nerves. After spending a month away from home, it's easy to feel unprepared to return.
When we had all assembled, we took a couple of cabs to get back to the Beacon Hotel, where Ms. L. was staying. We dropped off our bags in her room, and set off for Central Park.
This was my first time going inside the park. It was really cool, but very crowded. We only went in a little ways before reaching our destination: The Boat House Restaurant. The deck we were tabled on sat right in front of a lake, filled with rowboats and wildlife; it was a fantastic view. I had a brunch of fried eggs and sausages. I think they specialized in Italian food, but they had all kinds of meals for breakfast.
We spent some time strolling through the park after eating. I wish I could have taken pictures, but my camera was in my backpack, and my backpack was in Ms. Lilhanand's room.
Eventually, we made our back to the hotel and loaded our stuff into a shuttle for the airport.
I'm not going to go into detail about either the airport or the flight. We're all familiar with the hassle of flying, and I doubt anyone wants me to explain the mundane. I will say though, that we spent about twenty minutes trading things to carry, before the flight; some people's luggage was overweight, so they had to store some of their items with other students. Other than that, everything was pretty standard.
We arrived in San Francisco at about 8:00 PM. I expected that we would be in the middle of picking up our luggage, when parents would start to arrive; I was wrong. When we came down to the baggage claim, everyone was already there, waiting for us with signs and flowers (My mom got leis for everyone). It's hard to believe that this was my first time seeing my family in almost a month. There were a lot of hugs and "thank you"s before we all went our separate ways. It's weird being away from my cohort, now. I know I'll see them all again (especially Morvarid and Aurea), but it's still unsettling.
The ride home felt amazing. I can't believe how much I missed the Bay Area: the trees, the architecture, the water, the rolling fog bank, etc. Everything about it lets me know I'm home again.
My cat didn't seem to care about my reappearance. He walked right past me when I came home, and barely took notice of my presence. I think I need to get a dog.
My dad made hamburgers for us for dinner. I spent a few hours just talking with my parents, about the trip, before heading to my room. I can't remember the last time I had time to myself like this.
I want to take this moment to thank the ILC for all that they have done for me. I'd like to thank Ms. Lilhanand for all of her support before and during this trip. She was a fantastic chaperone, and always a pleasure to travel with. I'd like to thank Don Gosney, Madeline Kronenberg and Charles Ramsey for making this program possible. They've put in a tremendous amount of effort to keep it going,and I really appreciate it. I also want to thank the sponsors. Without having ever met us, these people made the determination to be our benefactors. It's that kind of selflessness that shows the true good in people. Lastly, I'd like to thank the parents, as well as my fellow classmates. I'm so glad I got to share this experience with you guys. It's really meant the world to me, and I'll remember this trip for the rest of my life.
Goodbye, New York. Welcome home.