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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Departure day was here, and today was probably the last time I’ll be in Philadelphia, unless I get accepted into UPenn. I stayed up rather late last night because I still had to pack most of my things. I ended up finishing packing mostly everything at around 2:30 AM, so I was dead tired. Luckily, I didn’t have to be outside of the Quad until 10 AM today, so I had the luxury to sleep in a little. The problem was, however, that I woke up at around 6:30 AM for no apparent reason. Chiamaka had called me a couple minutes before I had woken up because she wanted to get the laundry detergent, but my phone was on silent, so there was no way that that was the reason I woke up. Anyways, after I gave her the detergent, I was able to fall asleep again, but I periodically woke up. I eventually gave up at around 7:30 AM, and I just continued to pack the rest of my things.

I finished with everything by around 8:30 AM, and I was already dressed and ready to go for the day. I had a lot of free time at this point, so I just walked around the hallways and said goodbye to those on my floor. I first went to Catherine’s room and I just talked with her for a little bit. Then, we all hanged out for a little bit in Shirley and Kalpana’s room before I finally had to go outside of the Quad. They made my days in the dorm very noisy, but also very fun. I’ll miss seeing them running around the hallways before our floor time. I actually became really close to all of the girls on my floor, and it’s sort of weird to think that I won’t see them anymore, but who knows what could happen in the future.

The ending is just like how it all started

I went outside at around 9:45 AM, and Jun and Elexis were already standing outside. I returned my keys, and one by one, the rest of the cohort came outside. Mr. Hillyer didn’t come until around 10:15 AM, so we just stood in the shade. While waiting, I saw my RC, Kerri, and I said my goodbye to her. It was so sad leaving everyone that I had known for the past three weeks, but I was also excited to finally be back home, so I was having serious mixed feelings. Once the shuttle arrived, we all got in and headed to the airport.

When we arrived, we unloaded our things and did our usual airport routine. First, we went to check-in our things, then we went through security. Jun was the only one that had been TSA approved, so she had an easier time than me. When I was putting my luggage onto the converyor belt, one of the workers kept pestering us to push our luggage forward, but he didn’t exactly say up to where. Even when all of my luggage was through, he still kept pestering us, and the whole time, I was just wondering why he didn’t do it himself since he was just standing there. It doesn’t really matter anyways because it can’t be helped. I went through the metal detectors, but then they asked to “pat me down.” It wasn’t a big deal but I just thought it was unnecessary since they just touched my back and let me go.

After everything was clear, we all went to eat lunch at Chickie’s and Pete’s. Since I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, I was glad to be able to finally eat food. My meal here was essentially my final meal in Philly, but at least it was delicious. We were all done eating at around 12:40 PM, and since we had some time before our flight, we decided to go to some of the shops and buy some souvenirs. I ended up buying just a magnet because everything was so expensive, but it’s the thought that counts.

Phoenix from the sky
We then went to our gate at around 1:10 PM, and we only waited for a short while to board the plane. Since we were in the B section, a lot people had already boarded, so I just sat with Joanne in the very back. It was a pleasant flight because I was just asleep for the first half of it, and the rest of the time, I just watched a movie with Joanne. We landed in Phoenix, Arizona at around 4 PM. I was still wearing my Penn sweater at that time, but once we walked out of the plane, I could definitely feel that Arizona heat. It was 108 degrees when we had landed, and I was glad that we just stayed in the airport because I wouldn’t have survived without the power of air-conditioning.

Our flight back to Oakland was delayed a bit, so we just wandered around the airport and ate at Barrio Cafe. Since we were in Arizona, we finally got a taste of authentic Mexican food, and I certainly missed it when I was in Philly. We began boarding the plane at around 6:15 PM, and I ended up sitting next to Jun and Elexis. This was going to be our final flight together, and it's a little bittersweet to think that this was going to be the last time we're travelling together. Our ILC journey was finally coming to an end, and since most of us were seniors, we would be going our separate ways very soon, 

At the Barrio Cafe
Last flight togther
We landed in Oakland at around 8:15 PM, and we all grabbed our luggage one last time and headed for the shuttle. We all did one big group hug while waiting, and I was becoming more and more sad at the thought that we would be all separated. At least I was finally back in the Bay, and I think I missed the weather the most. I felt the cool breeze when we had gone outside, and I knew I was finally home. During the shuttle ride, all of us were experiencing jet lag, so we were sort of dead the entire time. When we finally arrived at El Cerrito High School at around 9:20 PM, but in Philadelphia, it's already 12:20 PM, so everyone wanted to go back home. When we got out, Don was the first to welcome us back, and then our parents soon followed. I hugged my mom and my dad as soon as I saw them, and in no time, we left to go back home. But before that, our cohort took one last group picture, and I hugged everyone one by one. We would still be able to see each other around, but it definitely won't be the same.

I arrived back home at around 9:45 PM, and I felt relieved to finally see my own living room again. I was especially happy to see my dog again. I talked a little bit with my parents about my trip, but I couldn't stay up anymore, so I went right to bed by 10 PM. Today was definitely a great day because I was finally able to see my family, but I was just sad that everything was finally over. Of course, I would never forget all of the memories I've made, and all of things I learned, as well as the friends that I had met along the way. I'm truly glad to have participated in the ILC, and I'm also glad that I am back in my home sweet home. 
2015 UPenn Cohort back in California

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