Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Full Day Back in the Bay

Yet another great day has been experienced thanks to the ILC.

While it was great, it was also sad. In all honesty, during the longest nights at UChicago, I doubted I would miss Chicago. Yet I keep catching myself comparing everything about the Bay Area to Chicago.

I woke up, made sure everything was properly packed, and spent one last quick breakfast at the Dining Commons (I had my usual croissant and decaf lotus blossom green tea for old times’ sake). I said my last goodbyes to some of the last people I saw on campus—Kaitlyn, Maria, Lulu, and Wister. In this case, I’m glad social media exists. I wasn’t half as sad as I would’ve been, since I know they’re always a message or email away.

One last picture with Kaitlyn!
Our cohort took one last picture on the UChicago campus and headed to the airport via shuttle. Alie gave me a present for my birthday! It was this delicious chocolate cupcake and the sweetest card telling me how excited she is for my future and to feel free to come to her anytime. That, with the card the cohort gave me, was enough to make my birthday great. 

The card from Alie!
The card the cohort gave
The delicious cupcake from Alie!

After getting a quick breakfast of breakfast tacos and a green tea frappuccino, we surprisingly found one of Vicky’s Contagion classmates waiting at the gate to Phoenix (where we had a layover)! We all instantly started talking about what we thought about the Insight program while waiting to board. Once on the plane, I read a bit and slept for most of the time.

We landed in Phoenix, grabbed some Panda Express, and waited to re-board. Once again on the plane, I finished some ILC work until the plane landed.
Sorry Don, I have to post at least one of my airplane wing pictures on a blog!

I was so excited when the plane landed!! The only thought in my mind was that I’d be able to see my family again!

We waited for our bags to arrive, took pictures, talked to Oyin’s and Jimmy’s parents, and talked among ourselves before splitting up. We all agreed to meet at least once a month to catch up with each other. I’m glad we made plans. Even if we didn’t, though, I still think our cohort would have found a way to make sure we all see each other again. I find it funny to think of the very first meet up we had at Mountain Mike’s when we all acted really awkward, and compare it to how we are now.
Our last photo as a group (for now)

My sister and dad picked me up from the airport. When I saw them, I squealed and ran to hug my sister when she came to help me with my luggage. I ran into the car and tried to hug my dad and sister as best as I could from the back seat.

The whole ride from SFO to American Canyon (where our church is) was spent talking about the trip. I wasn’t even able to cover half of what happened at UChicago! Like I told my sister and dad, it’ll take a couple days for me to finish talking about my full Chicago experience.

I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I saw them again. Once we were parked in our church in American Canyon, my dad and I got out the car to hug each other (after about a month! That’s the longest I’ve ever been away). I went upstairs, where I squealed when I saw my mom through a crack in the doorway and jumped to hug her.

After attending the AY (Adventist Youth) portion of the worship, I saw my friends and other church members, who wished me a happy birthday and gave me lots of gifts! They’d planned a party! They had me do an impromptu speech on what I did at UChicago and what I thought about it. Besides that, they sang me Happy Birthday (how embarrassingly nice) and made me pose beside (the best) towers of cupcakes, which the kids crowded around. It was so great to see the kids and my friends and church members after all this time.

As much as I wished to stay, talk, and eat, I decided to go into a quiet room to do the extra credit assignment for my Biotechnology class. Thankfully, I was able to do it in about 45 minutes, then went back to socializing.

It was a great party. What I’ve noticed about myself after this ILC trip is how much more social I’ve become. Though I’m not yet a social butterfly, I’ve definitely gotten better at socializing.

We arrived home late. I kept comparing our house to South Campus. My room—where were the huge windows? The rocking chairs? The living room—where were the multiple chairs and sofas? The foosball tables? I’m fine with my bathroom and (fully stocked) kitchen, but I couldn’t help that when my dad said, “We’re home!” I also thought of UChicago.

According to Jim Valvano, it was a full day—I laughed when reunited with my family and friends, thought about Chicago and how different I am now, and (almost) cried when I saw my family. I can’t believe I’m back from almost a month long trip to UChicago; it seems like nothing but a too-fast, incredible dream.

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