Today our adventure officially began. We met up with Don at El Cerrito High School at 4:15 AM. He handed out the loaner items, weighed our bags, and reminded us of the expectations of the trip (blog everyday, stay in contact with your chaperone, etc.) After that, Don took a cohort picture. (See his blog for the photo.) Around 5:00 AM, our airport shuttle arrived, we said goodbye to our parents, and we were off to SFO.
At SFO, I was pleasantly surprised: Bag check in, security, and boarding went smoothly. There was virtually no line at check in, and when we went to the security checkpoint, they redirected us down the hall to a separate, faster checkpoint. By 6:15, we were in the terminal. We got breakfast and waited for our 8:00 flight. The food in the terminal was quite good (and of course quite expensive). I had a delicious breakfast sandwich with egg, cheese and bacon.
Soon enough, the attendant announced that Flight 1 to Washington D.C. (Reagan National) was now boarding. As we looked at our tickets for our group letter, we realized that we were scattered across the airplane. I got seat 19A. At first, I was sad to have gotten a window seat. I have flown enough to realize that window seats are overrated. Yes, you get to look out the window, but everything starts to look the same after a while. Additionally, you have to ask the 2 people between you and the aisle to get up if you need to go to the bathroom. Fortunately, the back end of the plane was relatively empty, so seats 19B and 19C were not taken. Just after 8:00 AM, we taxied out of the gate and waited for the runway to be available for our take off. Within 10 minutes, we were ascending to cruising altitude.
I have never flown Virgin America before, but it was one of the best flying experiences I have ever had. The seats were very comfortable, there was plenty of legroom, there were electrical outlets under the seats, and the crew was very friendly. The only bad part of the flight was the baby a few rows up from me that occasionally cried. Other than that, the flight was very quiet and peaceful.
Five hours and 5 minutes later, we landed in Washington D.C. We got our bags off the carousel, and stepped outside. The instant I stepped outside, I started sweating, but it was only 78 degrees and cloudy. For the first time, I felt high humidity. The air felt so much thicker and heavier than in California. I couldn't imagine exercising in this weather, as just from standing outside you feel like you need to take a shower. Now I understand why people want to live in California where we have low humidity.
|The bus we finally caught to go to dinner.|
The Chinese restaurant was, to my surprise, underground. They had one little door on the street that lead straight to a flight of stairs going down. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere was very pleasant. However, the most important part of the meal was desert. More specifically, the fortune in my fortune cookie. It read "They can because they think they can." This reminded me of just how true this statement is, and how much it relates to the ILC.
|The fortune that lead to my epiphany.|
Tomorrow we get to go to the University of Pennsylvania by train. We have just received word that Mr. Ramsey will be joining us for this expedition. I am really excited to see the University of Pennsylvania's campus in person, to see the Liberty Bell, and to eat a Philly cheesesteak in Philadelphia!!