Sunday, July 17, 2016

Until We Meet Again

I had barely slept, yet I still managed to wake up around 6 AM to say goodbye to Valeria and Salvador, who had early morning flights and had a shuttle picking them up at 7 AM. I walked over to Valeria's room on the third floor and then we went to Victoria's. Many of the rooms were already emptied out, so the halls were rather depressing, Victoria and I helped Valeria take her luggage down to the Balch bus stop where the shuttle would come. Connie came a few minutes afterwards, and then Salvador with his luggage and Doug, Aziz, and Harrison.. The walk over to the bus stop was difficult for all of us, Victoria and I cried a lot. It's just more sad since they're from different countries and the likelihood of seeing them anytime soon isn't much. It took us a while, but finally we let them get on the shuttle. 
Absolutely the worst picture ever due to tears, but Salvador on the far left and Valeria on the far right with  Victoria next to Salvador and Connie next to me
With the only Jordanian I know, Aziz!
We went up to RPCC to have one last breakfast. It was a strange feeling, because it's usually up to 14 of us eating together, and it was only 6 of us that morning, but that's also because Keith and Tommy were still asleep. When we were done with breakfast, we went to finish packing at our dorms. Aziz was going to be the next one to leave, so I tried to get done beforehand. Around 9 AM Victoria and I went to Donlon Hall to bade Aziz goodbye, which was another tear-filled goodbye since he's from Jordan. I waited with Harrison, Doug, Eva, Hans, and Victoria until Victoria and Eva had to leave too, more tears. I think I lost track of how often I cried. 

Mike came by with the hotel shuttle and Diana, Kachi, Shuxin, and I left our baggage with him and I finished getting ready for the graduation. I went back up to Donlon since Hans and I were in the same class so we were just going to walk over to the graduation together. Tommy and Keith were awake by then, so I got to hug them goodbye along with Doug and Harrison. We walked over to the graduation and on our way to Kennedy Hall we found Rachel and her parents. They took a really nice picture of us by the foot bridge.
Last time seeing this bridge and falls for a while
Super awesome and kind TAs Rubin
and Armands
We got to Kennedy Hall and Sam put us debate kids in alphabetical order. Sam, Rubin, and Armands walked us into the hall and we waited for the ceremony to start. The director of the Summer College program, Jim Schechter, opened the ceremony. The Green Cities instructors were the first one to introduce his class and talk about their accomplishments. Then, the Design Immersion instructor did the same, but they were a little more smooth with the process. Debate and Rhetoric was next. Sam went up and he invited Rubin and Armands up too. He asked all of us to come up on stage to make it easier for him to hand out the certificates of completion. One by one they called our names and we went up and shook their hands and went back into our spot in the line. After about 25 kids, we were done. After us the Inspiring Leadership course instructor called up his class. Then, it was Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Finally, the Small Animal Practice (Vet School) received their certificates as well.

My professor Sam Nelson
The director closed the ceremony and thanked everyone, and we all got up and went outside. My class met at the bottom of the stairs and took a big group picture, in which none of us looked at the same camera because there were about 10 to 15 cameras taking pictures simultaneously. We proceeded to take singular pictures with Sam or both Rubin and Armands. Little by little, everyone started leaving and I hugged so many people. Afterwards, I found Diana, but then I went to Jameson to try to find my friend Connie. I ended up going to Bear Necessities with Shuxin, Kachi, and the other Diana. While we waited in the lounge for Mike to arrive, I ran into Keith again, who was on his way out with his friend from his hometown. I got to hug him goodbye again. 

Mike arrived around 1:30 PM and we went with him to the Balch bus stop to wait for the shuttle. I found Maya from my class waiting for the shuttle too. Then, the shuttle picked up even more Summer College kids at RPCC, so I got to see Hans again! The other Diana was taking that shuttle as well. It was about an hour drive to Syracuse, and I fell asleep with Shuxin's neck pillow. Big thanks to Shuxin. The airport process was actually probably the smoothest, but before I went through TSA I hugged Hans goodbye and I was starting to cry again. Seriously, this was such an emotional day.

We boarded our flight to Atlanta, which was really short. Sitting next to me was a couple, but they were either sleeping or writing notes in a book, so I didn't really talk to them. Behind me was a super adorable baby, who was crying, but as soon as he tried to poke my shoulder and I turned around and said hi he got really quiet. I was really amused by him during the time I was awake on the flight.

Excuse the social media app
quality with Valeria!
Our arrival to Atlanta couldn't have been time any better. We rode the subway type of train to our terminal and had time to get some sit down dinner. We ate a place called Sojourner's, and it was supposed to be southern style food. I got a beef buger and some fries, which isn't really out of the box but it was really good, and it definitely filled me up a lot. We went to our concourse and we were waiting there, until I had to go to the bathroom and while I was walking there I ran into my friend Valeria who I had seen last that morning! I knew she had a really long layover in Atlanta, but didn't imagine we'd be boarding at the same time just a few concourses away. There wasn't much we could catch up on after only 12 hours, but it served to reassure that there was a possibility we'd all see each other again.

It was time to board the plane to San Francisco. We were already out of Ithaca, but this meant we were really going home for good. This was a much bigger plane than all the ones we flew on, and it had really cool blue lights. For some reason, neon lights make everything better. I sat next to Diana on the flight, and right behind us were Shuxin and Kachi. This was a 5-hour flight and there were free movies, so I had an entertaining flight planned for myself. The lady next to us didn't do much talking either, but she was going to San Francisco to spend time with some family. Before I started watching movies, Diana and I got to catch up since we didn't get to always hang out at Cornell. I was watching Rushmore on the flight when Diana pointed out the lightning outside, we were barely thirty minutes into the flight. There was more turbulence than on any of the other flights, but I don't think any of our flights were actually rough. I was on my second movie, The Big Short, which was recommended by one of my friends because it's about the 2008 financial crisis, when I fell asleep. I should've seriously invested on a neck pillow of my own. The sleep wasn't comfortable.
I was serious about the cool neon blue lights
Finally, we landed in San Francisco. It felt so strange, being back home after such a long time that did not feel like a long time. We got our bags from the baggage claim, where Kachi and Diana found that their bags were damaged. We walked outside and Mike called the shuttle. We walked all the way to courtyard 1, where we found the shuttle. In not too long, we'd be at El Cerrito High School again. In no time, my sister was there to pick me up. Don snapped a picture of the cohort all together, I hugged the girls goodbye. and I was on my way home.

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