Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tempting Fate

Long before the crack of dawn I was roused from my sleep. It had taken me quite a while just to fall asleep but when I did, it felt like an eternity. Waking up, I realized, “This is it!” Despite the early hour, I became wide-awake and was more than ready for departure as my parents drove me to the rendezvous at El Cerrito High School.

Everyone arrived at seemingly the same time. As Don weighed my luggage, I was confident that it would be much less than the restriction of 50 pounds. Much to my dismay, it tipped the scales at 47.2 pounds, the heaviest out of the whole cohort! The thought that I would have trouble packing when we returned crossed my mind, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Then the time came to say our final goodbyes. My family isn't one for emotional displays, but I know I will miss them. A million thoughts were racing through my head as I boarded the airport shuttle. Did I leave anything behind? I must have run through my expectations, worst-case scenarios, parents’ instructions, and the trip itinerary in my mind close to a thousand times by the time we pulled out of El Cerrito.

Disaster struck when we arrived at the airport. Turns out, I had tempted fate a little too much: my luggage was actually two pounds over the limit! Frantically, I opened it and grabbed the first thing I saw that would fit in my carry-on: my toiletries kit. Without thinking, I shoved it into the extra carry-on and moved on. I didn’t realize anything was wrong until we got to security, whereupon I was informed that I was carrying containers of liquid all above the 3-ounce limit. Truly dumbfounded, I rushed back to luggage check-in, where I checked the bag with its offending contents, waited through security again, and managed to meet the rest of my cohort at the gate just minutes before the boarding process began.

SFO at dawn
Once on the plane, I had a chance to calm down and unwind. I sat with Taylor and David, and was fortunate enough to get a window seat. The view of the Bay Area at sunrise was truly spectacular. That first leg of the plane ride, from SFO to Denver, however, was highly uncomfortable. The seats were cramped and hard to rest in, and most of the flight was offset by the near-freezing temperatures in the plane. Despite the fact, I was somehow knocked out for most of that flight. After landing in Denver, we made a quick transfer to another plane, bound for Providence. Something that struck me about Denver was how different the landscape was, with flat grassland as far as the eye could see, and snow-capped mountains on the horizon.

Providence at a first glance
Although the second flight was scheduled for around four hours, it felt like forever. I passed the time by going over my research of Yale University and playing cards with my seatmates. Eventually, we were able to get our first glimpses of Providence through the clouds. Most of what I could see was highlighted by green.

Ultimate Packing Challenge Complete!
The weather outside was surprisingly a lot cooler than I had expected, overcast and slightly windy, but I didn’t care—we had made it! After landing we were faced with the biggest challenge so far: fitting all of our luggage into our single rental car. Through a tough game of Tetris, we managed to stuff everything in, with barely any room left for us. For the whole car ride I had to sit in the middle with my legs crossed—not the most comfortable position to be in during rush-hour traffic. However cruising through downtown Providence, we got to enjoy some of the scenery, including the river that runs through the city, and various parks throughout. I’m so glad that I get to spend my summer in this beautiful place.

Getting to the hotel was a huge relief. I think Nick and David agree when I say that we got the best room, a suite with two huge beds, a couch and two TVs, and more than enough space. After settling down quickly, we met up in the lobby to go to dinner. Since this trip is all about getting exposed to new experiences, we dined at the Cuban Revolution. All I can say is that the food there was…different. 
Blogging Party!
So much has happened today. I still find it hard to believe that I'm already fending for myself. Tomorrow it’s another early wakeup call, and then we’re off to discover Wesleyan and Yale! Finally here in Providence, Rhode Island, I can hardly wait for more to come. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Ying-An,

    I love that photo of the group blog.

    If someone your size was feeling cramped on that plane, try to imagine someone my size crammed in one of those seats.

    Check the blogs later where I'm going to challenge the scales used at the airport. I'm still pretty sure that my scales are reasonably accurate and not 4-5 pounds off.

    As much as it was a problem as it was for you with the liquids, I can use it as a teaching tool for future ILC travelers. I thank you for that.