Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ready, Set, Don't Go

As soon as I woke up, I found out that Natalie from my proctor group was long gone. Without stopping by my room, she boarded the airport shuttle for Minnesota. I couldn't believe that I missed the chance of seeing her off.  And I would have missed Joeē's departure if it wasn't for my sprint down the stairs to the lobby. This was it, we were all leaving the Hank Ingram House for our other respective homes. That's  probably why I didn't care for  breakfast. My feelings suppressed my appetite for our last meal at the Commons. 

After having breakfast and exchanging autographs with everyone, Carolyn and I set our eyes for the foosball table. For the past couple weeks, we've played foosball after almost every meal. So naturally, we were inclined to play one last time. But as soon as we placed our hands on the table, we were told to go back to the dorms. With Carolyn and I on one side, and Nick on the other, we played for one match point. After winning, we headed back to Hank. You might think it's bizarre, but I've had some of my fondest memories and met some of my closest friends through the foosball tables at the Commons. I couldn't leave things undone.

Last look of my dorm room.
Kaila's last announcement.
Packing the last of my things, my dorm room looked just as empty as I arrived. I may have been all packed, but I wasn't ready to go. Since check out was from 9:00 AM until 12:00 PM, everyone left at different times. I was relieved knowing Mr. Mannix would come for us by 10:30 PM. I wouldn't want to be in the eye of the storm for that long. I wasn't prepared to cry while still at VSA. But once Carolyn prompted to leave, I couldn't help myself. Like one of the proctors said, Session III has the most emotional check out moments of all three sessions. With three weeks at VSA, everyone has developed close knit friendships. After spending as much time as I have with Carolyn, my tears couldn't be controlled for at least 10 minutes. I was an emotional wreck. Seeing people off has never been my strong suit. I felt like I was a little kid leaving Disneyland for the first time. 

One last look of the Hank Ingram House.
After seeing several of my friends off, it was finally time for my cohort and I to leave. Although I didn't want to leave, I couldn't handle the gloomy atmosphere. While some VSAers live relatively close to each other, I don't have the same opportunity. Keeping an optimistic mindset, I plan on staying in touch with my VSA family.

Statue of Athena.
Leaving Vanderbilt's campus, our cohort headed for downtown Nashville. Although we did visit as one of our proctor activities, I didn't actually get to stop and smell the flowers you could say. Walking through the pedestrian bridge and a couple shops, Mr. Mannix educated us on our surroundings. I had no idea the massive flood in the river was only three years ago. Seeing downtown Nashville in its current state, you would have never noticed. Just like Washington D.C., I've appreciated Nashville's natural and modern beauty, with its mix of modern and not so modern architecture. They each have a certain charm about themselves, and I've been fortunate enough to exposed to both. One of my favorite Nashville sites was the Parthenon. It's slightly odd to think of Nashville having the Parthenon. Still, it was beautiful on the inside and outside. Given our later departure, it was great to see a couple more sites and use our time with purpose.

Inside the Parthenon.
Leaving Nashville, a ton of emotions were going through me. While I'll miss the people I've encountered at VSA, it's time for me to head back to the Bay Area. I wasn't very ecstatic to leave, but it was inevitable. Good things must come to an end somehow in order for other things to come along. 

 Flying Southwest, I noticed how compact it is compared to Virgin America. With less elbow and leg room, I wasn't very comfortable sitting between Keli'i and Loan. Luckily for me, connecting from LAX to the Oakland Airport, there was an empty seat between Mr. Mannix and I. Although there was a slight delay connecting, it was nothing compared to our flight woes in D.C. There were no major flight problems today, thankfully.

Before I knew it, the plane landed at the Oakland Airport within an hour. It was nice to come back to my family after being away for three and a half weeks. But while I was walking out of the airport, I unintentionally cried again. When asked by my mom, I shrugged it off. I couldn't wrap my head around it either. It may have been because of the train letters my proctor group wrote to me and being back in California. Somehow, all of us wrote a letter to each person of our proctor group. Since it's a train letter, it's meant to be read while heading home. Even before I started reading their letters I was already sobbing. I'll truly miss each of Kaila's Sailahs. 

I'm sure bittersweet feelings arise to the best of people after coming back home from an adventure. This journey in particular has struck me hard. But after a nice cool shower without flip flops and settling inside my own room, I'm doing best to cope with my torn feelings. 

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