It’s unimaginable to know that I’m back in the Bay Area. Back to my family. Back to my friends. Back to my house. Back to my mother’s cooking. Back to my little sisters’ banter. Back to my room. Back to my bed. And most of all, back home.
As I awoke at 7:30 AM to obtain my laundry from last night, the impact of my departure started within my gut. Folding my clothes, I was allowed some thinking time to reflect upon my time in New York. Never before did I expect this experience to change my mind about my future. I’ve been immersed by many different people, from those I can tolerate to those I can develop strong relations with.
So after my last shower in the Columbia dorm, on the eleventh floor of the Carman building, I was interrupted through my changing and packing by a knock at my door. To my pleasant surprise, it was Brittany, the Texan girl I befriended at the program. She informed me that she was leaving for the day to be with her mother who flew in the night prior, so I said my good-byes in my room. I granted- yes, granted, because I don’t hug people often outside of my family- her a very affectionate hug. That good-bye was probably our last, unless I decide to go to Texas one day. Hopefully we’ll all keep in touch with her and teach her a few more things about California slang.
A last minute look to my ex-dorm and a talk with my residential advisor Jennifer, and I was heading down to meet the rest of my cohorts at the university entrance near Amsterdam. There I saw Morvarid, Tomi, Adrianne, and Rowland, the SoCal boy we befriended at the program. We all waited patiently for the others to arrive, first Ms. L then Lenny and Lucas. Following a few last minute pictures at the gazebo, of the cohort and Rowland of course, we said our good-byes. If Rowland were to ever come to the Bay Area, or we were to go to the Los Angeles area, we all promised to contact each other. As where Brittany lives in Texas, Rowland is only a few hours away from us; therefore seeing Rowland is more doable.
We grabbed a cab to the Beacon Hotel, where our adventures began. While sitting in the lobby I was reminded of our daily meetings in the same room to congregate for all the fancy dinners during the first week. It’s amazing to know that was only a few weeks ago.
After waiting for a few minutes for everyone to come back down, we then headed down to Central Park to have brunch. The walk there was quiet, whether it be from fatigue or deep thoughts, only each person will know. Well at least for me it was more thinking, taking in my surroundings and knowing that I won’t see this part of the country for a while. We then entered Central Park to have brunch at the Boathouse. The view from our table was beautiful- well at least mine since I sat directly facing the lake.
As brunch ended, we killed some time by relaxing at the park. While everyone else was enjoying the sights, Morvarid and I had a vender analyze our handwriting to evaluate our personalities. At first I thought he would just generalize our personalities but what surprised me was the way he was able to interpret us accurately. He was able to reveal aspects about myself that I did not expose during our talk. So after a probing talk, we relaxed even further on a few park benches.
And then we departed for the airport. After my good-bye to New York, I boarded the plane to welcome the Bay Area with open arms. The plane ride was faster than the first time, which is very peculiar since the first ride was shorter. During the first few hours, we all knocked out once the plane was in the air.
A few hours later and I was jumping with excitement in my seat. After twenty-six days in New York City, I’ve finally arrived at SFO. Coming home and getting the kind of welcome home greeting was the highlight of my day. Prior to my arrival, my best friend Lynda informed me that she couldn’t meet and greet me at the airport. When I heard the news, I wasn’t that bothered because she explained it was a family issue. But to my pleasant surprise she was there to greet me – well more like tackled and hugged me to the ground. There we were, two Asian girls on the floor, one laughing and one tearing up. You can probably tell which one I was. That surprise and the greetings I received from my family members made it all the better. Not only did I receive greetings from my family- yes I count my best friend as family- but from parents of the ILC cohorts. So after our good-byes and hugs to each other- Adrianne was excited that I finally hugged her- we all went our separate ways. But this is not good-bye for any of us; some time, whether it be sooner or later we will reunite. I will be eternally grateful to the people who made this trip possible; Mr. Ramsey, Don Gosney, Ms. Kronenberg, Ms. L and of course the sponsors. This experience was once in a life time; now I can check the ILC off my bucket list!