Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How Many Bags of Quarters Does it Take to Get a Limo?

Last night I had gotten home a little later than I might have expected, eating at a restaurant until 10 p.m. and then going to Target afterwards was not what I had in mind at all. Even when I finally came home, I still had some school work to finish up on so unfortunately, I slept late but I still have the energy to continue on throughout the day (fueled by again, the excitement within me)!

After waking up at 2 a.m., I decided that I had more than enough time to get ready and arrive at El Cerrito High School (by 3:20 a.m.), so I went back to sleep for about thirty minutes. It was such an amazing power nap and I felt really refreshed, and ready to go instantly. I got out of bed, went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and then changed into jeans, a v-neck, and a utility jacket to layer up. I grabbed all of my stuff and started to head out to the front door, until I saw a container of delectable blueberries and could not help myself from bringing a Ziploc bagful.

My mom and I left the house around 2:50 a.m. and turned out to be the first ones to arrive (out of my cohort). I greeted Don, who then had us sign papers and given me four tags with my name on one side and phone number on the other. Afterwards, he weighed my suitcase, which came out to be 35.5 pounds, and instructed me to set my bags down on the side. By then, the other cohort members were all arriving around the same time, having the same process repeated with each of them. Once we had finished weighing luggage and signing papers, Don handed out little Ziploc bags of quarters inside (for laundry money), a hardcopy version of the itinerary, and contact information to each of us.

I saw it coming, but the next thing you know, it is picture time! We had many shots taken of us with the Vanderbilt scroll, flag, Jenny, and each other! Don even got us to pose with the $10 quarter rolls.
Me (on the far left), Hummd, Gwennie, and Arnold

I noticed that after we had finished up with everything, Don said that we were still waiting on the driver. I was briefly confused for a second because I thought that we had other means of transportation to the OAK. I discarded this train of thought to focus on things that were going on at the moment, such as, grabbing some plastic bags for future wet towels and Redvines licorice. As I was standing around (a little cold), I noticed some headlights that were actually headed into the school driveway, and a wave of relief had flown over me. There were headlights from other cars, but one by one it was just a false alarm when they passed by the school. We all look up to see a long, white limo drive up the curve.
Gwennie, Hummd, me (on my tip toes), and Arnold with the nice limousine.
All of our reactions were quite similar, with exclamations and outbursts of "Is that limo really for us?!", and I cannot forget the fact that everyone was taking pictures of the vehicle itself instead of us going into it! Gwennie got into the limo first, next Jenny, then I followed, feeling the humongous blast of AC in the car. It was even colder than the temperature outside! Gwennie and Hummd immediately found the controls to switch to the heater.

The limo ride to the airport went by a lot faster than I had expected, but half of the time, we were all gushing over how incredibly awesome and unexpected it was that the Vanderbilt cohort was able to have a limo take us anywhere at all. Once the vehicle stopped and parked, the chauffeur got out and unloaded our bags for us. We proceeded with our luggage and stuff to check in the express way, and headed over to the other side to go through security check. I was really confused at how it would work at first because I had not been through this process ever since the first grade, but I did not believe how intense it felt. I separated my laptop from my stuff as told, then took off my shoes, watch, and emptied my pockets to run through security, and immediately had to gather my stuff again and also put my belongings back on. After that part was over, we headed upstairs to get food at Jamba Juice, use any bathroom breaks, and wait until we were being boarded. 
My Acai Energy Bowl (contained bananas, blueberries,
strawberries, coconut shredding, and oats)
The plane's acceleration
with one of my smart filters.
I was lucky enough to get a window seat and see the view. The lift-off process was like a rollercoaster to me and it felt very exhilarating! It was basically my first time flying so the whole experience was really new and different, but in a good way. The flight went on for a few more hours until we landed in Houston, Texas. After landing, one of the flight attendants mentioned that one of the pilots was flying his family on the same plane also. We got off of the plane and headed straight for retrieval of our luggage. Then, we found our super shuttle and ended up at the wrong hotel, so we ended up walking a few blocks to get to the correct one. 
My view from 10,000 ft in the air of Houston, Texas.

Once we got to the hotel, we dropped off our stuff and headed out to Local Foods for lunch using the shuttle, and walked on the way back. We had some time for a break until meeting up again for dinner, which we walked around to a french store with crepes called Sweet Paris. Dinner was really filling, but we could not help ourselves to a dessert store nearby, the Chocolate Bar (great pick Gwennie!). It was a long, but great and memorable day, encouraging and motivating me even more to take on the rest of the trip (and this is only the beginning).
Chicken Enchilada Crepe
(for dinner)
House Smoked Salmon
Sandwich (for lunch)

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