Monday, July 2, 2012

And We're Off

Normally it would take a lot more than an alarm to get me out of bed at 2:00 AM, but today was different. Today I could hardly wait for my alarm to go off. I was so excited to leave for the East Coast that the fact that we had to meet at El Cerrito High at 2:45 AM didn’t bother me. I was wide-awake and ready to take the shuttle to SFO when my mother and I finally met up with the rest of the Women and Leadership group.  At El Cerrito High, Don weighed our luggage, checked to make sure we had all of our necessary forms, took a group picture and then it was time to go. After saying our goodbyes, we boarded the shuttle and after a quick ride we reached the airport. The journey had finally begun.
Our first plane ride to Newark 

Inside, there was a buzz of activity. It was hard to believe that so many people were awake at 3:00 AM. After waiting in two long lines to check our bags and go through security we finally made it to our gate. We arrived right as people we’re starting to board, so we didn’t have to wait long to get inside the plane. The ride was uneventful, but the excitement of travel was enough to keep me awake for most of the time.

Maddie, Iris, and Molly waiting for the rental car
After arriving in Newark, we walked to our gate and we’re surprised to see that everyone had already boarded. The flight attendant told us they we’re closing the flight. We we’re very lucky to get on board. I was excited to see that I had a window seat and for the 30-minute plane ride I looked out the window the whole time. The arial view of the Statue of Liberty and New York City was absolutely amazing. When we flew beyond the urban areas, the views of lakes and rivers were even more beautiful. Once we landed, I was even more excited than before to explore Providence.

After a little mishap with the rental car service, we left the airport in a giant white van. Even though driving this car probably isn’t ideal for the chaperones, I’m happy that all of us will get to ride together. We are already starting to get to know one another so much better and I know the more time we spend together, the more we will gain from the entire experience.

Our first look at Hotel Providence 
Providence greeted us with pouring rain and a beautiful double rainbow. I know that must be good luck. On the ride to the hotel, I noticed so many differences between the East and West Coast. The biggest one is probably the weather, but there are many more. The lush green grass and trees are so different from the golden hills of California. The old brick buildings and alleyways provide a look into a time long before California was settled.

At the hotel we met up with Mrs. Kaplan. After moving into our rooms, she took all of us to a Mexican restaurant less than a block away from our hotel. I came to the restaurant feeling starving and left feeling like I couldn’t eat another bite. It was the perfect conclusion to our first afternoon in Providence. Now that I’m finally on the East Coast the opportunities seem endless. I feel like I have already learned so much and I can’t wait to learn more. 

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