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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An Eagle Soars to Houston

I woke up to the sound of a low but very annoying chirping of my alarm. I reached down to grab my phone to shut off the ear piercing noise. The time read 2:21 a.m, excitement rushed through my body. Immediately, I jolted out of bed to wake my mom yet, to my surprise she is already awake. Stumbling around in the dark trying not to wake my sleeping sisters and grandma, I made my way into the bathroom. A splash of cool water to fully take me out of sleep-mode, started my normal routine of brushing my teeth and washing my face, etc. Next, I proceed downstairs to make my mom some coffee to help get her out of sleep-mode too. 

The smell of Folgers fills the kitchen and the aroma finds its way into my nostrils. It was captivating. At that moment I realized I was behind schedule. It was 2:35 a.m when I started the coffee, it only takes 5 minutes to make a cup.  Which isn't bad but if you plan on leaving at 2:50 a.m that throws you off schedule a little bit. 

I made my way back up the stairs with the small cup. I was still in my pajamas when I gave it to my mom.  After, she took the cup I rushed into my room to start getting dressed. I quickly put on my clothes, made my bed and "fixed" my hair. I raced down the stairs to find my mom sitting in the living room sipping her coffee.  

We grabbed my luggage placed it in the car and made our way to El Cerrito high. We got there at 3:10 a.m. the first people I saw were Don, Rudy and Justeen. My mom and I unloaded my luggage, then rolled it over to where Don, Rudy and Justeen were standing. Next, Joanne, Jun, and Chiamaka arrived. John came shortly after Chiamaka. After, everyone had arrived Don has my mom and I sign two forms. 

He then, begins to weigh our luggage. At that moment I was a little nervous because I didn't pre-weigh my bags.  The recommended weight was 42 pounds, I felt that one of mine weighed at least 50! The moment of truth arises.  Don made his way to my luggage,  he pulls out a small hook like tool. Placed it to the handle and dangles the duffel bag slightly above the ground. "26 pounds" he called out, next is the one I was nervous about. (The one I believed weighed 50 pounds.) He repeats the same process for this bag too.  "37" he exclaimed,with a sigh of relief I wheeled it over to the luggage pile. 

We then headed over to a large wall to take our departure picture(s). The reason I pluralized it, is because Don had to take several practice shots before taking the perfect one.  One thing, I can say is that the photos Don takes always come out perfect in the end.  
On our way to Houston!!!!!!!

Next,  we went back to the luggage pile area to see that the airport shuttle had arrived. Right then and there I knew there was no turning back.  Don went over the itineraries before he gave us the okay on saying our goodbyes to our parents. I hugged my mom twice and she told me to have fun and that she loved me.  I said the same to her as I boarded the bus.  

I sat in the first row ( from the front) next to the window, to my immediate right was Chiamaka, and to her immediate right was Justeen. In the row behind us was Jun, Joanne, and Rudy. The ride to the airport was long.  Yet, it was fine because we talked the whole ride. Our conversations ranged from field trips to boxing to how we are. I found out that Justeen is cranky when she gets hungry and Chiamaka she gets really tired when she doesn't eat.  I shared with them that I'm not that much of a morning person but I'm not straight up rude or mean. 

We finally made it to the Oakland Airport we were flying Southwest airlines. Our luggage is unloaded and we proceed to the check-in line. We then enter the airport and made our way to the security check line. the line was so long like always but, luckily for Jun and I we had TSA Pre. Which allowed us to go to an entirely shorter line and place our carry on bags through the scanner an walk through the metal detector without having to remove our shoes or anything like that.   

When John gave us our boarding passes he told us exactly what gate to go to so we weren't stuck waiting for them on the first floor. We walked up the stairs to find our gate it was on our immediate left but then I saw Starbucks, I knew that we had to go get some and it didn't take much convincing to get Jun to come along with me. To be totally truthful she is the one who wanted Starbucks, from the time we left El Cerrito high. It was worth the wait. We waited for 20 minutes and ordered our hot chocolate. I never tried their hot chocolate, all I can say is that I'm happy I did. 
As we waited

Finally, we head to gate twenty-five, the last door we had to enter before we got to Houston. By that time the rest of my cohort had made it out of the security check. Then, we boarded our plane.
Last sight I saw in Oakland
It took about 15 minutes before we actually took off . At the beginning of the flight I was sort of uneasy but as we continued I got used to it. Our flight took way longer than expected. The expected time was only about 3 hours and 30 minutes but it actually took closer to about 7! At first we were flying on schedule but then of course something happens. A thunderstorm over Houston. The flight attendant said that we would be doing some circling because of the storm. We circled for I don't know how long but it was long. Then, the pilot said that we were heading to Austin, Texas because we were nearly out of fuel.The plane had decreased in altitude so I assumed we were going to be landing yet again that was not the case. The plane shoots back up into the air fast. The flight attendant says that we will be landing in San Antonio,Texas this time.

The flight finally lands and we sit for only about 30 minutes then we take off. Onto Houston I thought to myself as the plane lifted into the air. It took what felt like an hour to get to Houston. We finally, landed at 2;15 and were directed to the baggage claim. At that time everyone was hungry and hot due to the weather change. We pick up our luggage and make our way to the food court, trying to figure out if we wanted to eat there or wait until we got to the hotel. We decided to eat at the hotel. Great choice might I add. After, the decision was made we went out to the airport shuttle. from there we were driven to our hotel. 

The hotel was gorgeous it was a very tall, elegant type building in the medical district of Texas. As I entered into the building I was mesmerized by the shear peace of the place. It was also very cool inside compared to the humid outer air. When we made our way to the check in desk I looked around out the beautiful building thinking wow I never thought I would be in a place like this. John gave us a moment to decide how we were going to workout the roommate situation. It wasn't very hard because we just played rock,paper scissors for the rooms. I ended up sharing a room with Justeen which was cool because that means I got my own queen sized bed. No chance of a roll-a-way. 

Justeen and I made our way to our room which was on the 11th floor room number 6. With this being such a fancy hotel we rode a beautiful elevator. We then reached our room to find that it was beautiful. A living room space, half bathroom near the door, a bedroom, and a full bath. We quickly, placed our luggage down and made our way back downstairs to meet John. 

When we got downstairs John asked us what we wanted to do because we had missed our tour of Rice due to the weather delays. He then said lets meet back in a few minutes because its still raining, so we headed back upstairs. Waited a little while then came back down to find John saying we aren't going to be able to do anything because of the rain. So, yet again we head back upstairs only for Justeen to get a text from him asking if we wanted to eat. Her and I were both hungry so we went down and walked over to the hotel restaurant. 

In ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich which was more like a burger. It was delicious and so huge I couldn't finish it all. After, everyone finished eating we noticed that the rain had decreased a lot. John proposed the question that if any of us wanted to go walk around Rice he was down to go. As a group we all agreed to go and do it. 

It was still sprinkling a little bit although it was still humid. But, we pressed our way around the university. The campus was beautiful it was full of green grass and lavish trees that shaded the area perfectly from the hot sun. I really enjoyed the walk that lasted for only about an hour and a half. I just wish that the weather conditions would have allowed us to attend the tour. Overall, I had an amazing day full of new experiences and I am grateful.   

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