Almost seven months have passed since I sat in that quiet room at El Cerrito High School, waiting with six other anxious candidates for the decision to be made: Who would be going to Vanderbilt that summer? Now, only six hours remain before my cohort and I meet in front of the gates of El Cerrito High School once more and we begin our journey to Nashville.
I have done a lot of traveling over the last seventeen years, going to places like Pakistan to volunteer, places like Hong Kong and Thailand to experience the culture, and places like London and La Jolla to visit family. I have even done a lot of that traveling alone. (I'm basically the queen of entertaining myself while sitting alone in an airport). But I never have traveled without a family member with me or waiting for me the moment I step out of the airport. However, I'm sure that I will be learning so much and having so much fun that being homesick will never cross my mind.
Speaking of crossing my mind, I have barely stopped thinking about packing for the last few days. We have a luggage weight limit of 50 pounds
I have been waging war with my suitcase for the last 72 hours to get the weight down to 46 pounds so that I don't pull my arm out of its socket dragging the suitcase's monstrous weight around America. I swear, I have packed and repacked the contents of my luggage so many times I could list every article of clothing I am bringing at the drop of a hat. I was also hindered by my new cat deciding that my open suitcase was a perfect place to sleep. I finally enlisted my mother's help today (I can be a little stubborn sometimes) and with the help of her critical eye (and possibly a little bit of maternal magic I am positive that my shoes did not fit in the outer pocket before she put them there) I managed to fit everything I wanted to into my bag.
Now that all of that fuss is over all that remains for me is to say my goodbyes to my family and sleep early so that I'm ready to begin this wonderful trip.