Sunday, July 30, 2017

Oh no...It's THAT Time

I woke up in a panic because Lindsay and Raqeeb lied to me saying it was 6:30 AM. It still hadn't struck me that we were leaving and would never be seeing any of these people ever again. I ran to finish my final packing and say a final goodbye to Jared, Olivia, and Kara. When all four of us headed down to the lobby, it still hadn't struck me that I was never really going to meet these faces again.

When we got to the airport, all four of us were very sluggish. My body felt weak since it was busy trying to fight the germs in my bloodstream. That didn't work out too well with the tons of luggage I had with me.

The inside of our shuttle
We grabbed breakfast at a news shop that had a cafe. I got hot tea to aid my sore throat, and, trust me, the hot tea was hot. It made me start thinking of the case where a woman sued McDonalds because their beverage was too hot and damaged her skin horribly after it spilled.

All four of us pretty much just slept on the plane ride because we had time to be tired. Personally, so much had happened in the past three weeks and since I was very sick, I pretty much slept through the whole ride. The plane was very cold, and even with two layers of jackets I was struggling to keep my body heated. This quite obviously made my immune system worse, and I woke up feeling even more sick which I didn't know was possible.
My mom's hair looks redder than mine

While walking towards baggage claim, we noticed Raqeeb's jacket had Olivia's hair since she wore it sometimes. This started a conversation of realizations about where Lindsay's and my hair could be. We concluded that David must be faring the worst since all of us were in his room multiple times so now there must be so many long strands of girl hair everywhere.

After some struggle at lifting our suitcases at baggage claim, we then headed outside to find our ride back home. When a big shuttle/limo/van appeared, we were all confused. There was enough room to fit everyone in the ILC program. It was a huge jump from a cramped airplane, and all five of us could probably even have slept comfortably across the van.

On the way there, Lindsay and I talked to Jared on the phone and we just debated about a hypothetical world. In the end, the simplified conclusion was that Nick would be dating Mac, and I would be dating Lister.
Us FaceTiming Kara
In the three weeks away, I had almost forgotten how bad Bay Area traffic was. I had gotten a little too accustomed to the quicker transportation in Chicago. When we finally did reach ECHS, all four of us ran out and hugged our parents. It was a beautiful and emotional moment.

After some quick pictures, Lindsay and I decided to FaceTime Kara before we had to separate. She had reached home and it made me really sad that I would no longer be able to talk to them all like before because of the distance.

I was then quickly taken home so I could get some medicine and sleep to feel as close to normal as possible. Currently, as I write this, I am not only suffering from germs, but also from sadness at having to see this trip come to an official end. 
Could not have wished for a better cohort

Home At Last

It seems like everyone woke up at 5:30 AM today, so, surprisingly, I was the one who woke up the latest out of all of us. I set my alarm to wake up and get out of bed at 6:00 AM, since last night, right before I went to bed, I picked out the clothes I was going to wear today and just wore them to sleep. I didn’t have to change in the morning, so that saved a lot of time.

It was somewhat weird waking up to an empty room on the other side. Michelle had left yesterday, and it was strange to see the shelves and desk on her side bare of her things. It made me realize how much I’ve gotten used to having her around, but luckily, I didn’t have much time to dwell much on it as I brushed my teeth, took out the trash, and checked for anything I might have accidentally left behind.

I struggled with my luggage all the way down to the lobby, getting down there at exactly 6:45 AM. For a moment, I panicked and thought I was the last one, as I didn’t see Raqueeb, Lindsay, or Jahnvi yet, but apparently, I was the first one. Glancing at the time again and figuring I could make it, I made a mad dash up back to the fourth floor to see my room for the last time. I also went to Kara and Olivia’s room to say a quick goodbye to them. Kara also came down later to see us off in the lobby.
2nd floor lobby. I'll miss this place. 
By around 7:00 AM, all of our luggage was loaded onto the shuttle, and we were on our way to leave Chicago at last. During the ride, I messaged Karla and said my last goodbye to her (even though we already technically did that already last night). She wished me a safe flight, and I thanked her for being an awesome friend the past three weeks.

The flight was fairly uneventful. We managed to find seats in the back of the plane that allowed us to sit together, with Lindsay, Raqueeb, and I sitting in one row, and Jahnvi and Ms. Sciacca sitting in the row right next to us. Raqueeb basically slept the whole flight, while Lindsay slept a little and then just started watching something for the rest of the flight on her phone. There were babies sitting nearby us again, and whenever I wasn’t sleeping during the flight, I was mostly making funny faces at the babies; it was so adorable when they laughed or smiled back.
Walking to get our luggage
While we waited for the luggage, we noticed Raqueeb’s messy hair and strands of blond hair on his jacket that could only be Olivia’s. They shared the jacket so often during these past three weeks, I had no idea the jacket was actually Raqueeb’s; I had always assumed it was Olivia’s.

We were in for a big surprised once we got all of our luggage and took it outside to wait for our ride back to ECHS. I’m sure we all went, “No way!” when we saw the enormous limo-bus-shuttle pulled up. I wondered for a brief moment whether there was another cohort that Don has kept secret from us all this time that was coming back today and that we were supposed to pick up as well, because I could not make of sense of this humongous vehicle. The vehicle (I still don’t know what to call it) easily fit all of our luggage in the back and still had three rows of seats. I got the whole back row to myself. 
Limo? Bus? Shuttle? Van? What are you?
Unfortunately, I got a little carsick on the way back. Lindsay and Jahnvi called one of their friends, and I listened to parts of their conversation, which sounded quite entertaining, but mostly, the whole ride was just woozy for me.

At last, we arrived to ECHS, where I saw my family there already. I was still a little out of it because of the carsickness, but we all got together for some last group pictures. Hair was flying all over the place again, and it was like déjà vu from all the previous times we have taken group picture – except this was the last time. It was a little sad, parting with people I’ve spent three whole weeks with and have gotten to know for even longer, but I’m finally home, and I’m happy to be here.
Last time taking group photos

Is it Really Time for Goodbyes?

Let's pretend this blog was posted 24 hours ago. That would make life a little easier.

I woke up to the sound of screeching and banging on our door at Yerkes. Lindsay and I had told Jared to wake us up at 8 AM in case we didn't. Apparently Jared tried knocking on our door, but all he heard was alarms and no sound from us. So, he sent everyone else who was up, and it pretty much sounded like mob outside our room.

Lindsay and I ran as we finished packing and made it just in time to the lobby so we could all head to the bus. Mac left early as he got picked up by his dad since he lived right nearby. This left Nick a little sad and empty as the two of them had been best friends. Lister then gave me a really cute hot pink notebook as a gift, and it's so pretty I don't even want to use it. 

The bus ride back was very quiet. Everyone had stayed up as long as their body could handle so they were all knocked out asleep in the bus. I think I'll admit that Lindsay and I were both so used to staying up that we may have forced Jared to stay up with us for a little too long. Oh well, at least we spent the night having fun.

Nick (left) and Jared (right)
Unfortunately though, it was that night that I began feeling a little sick. I brushed it off thinking I would be fine the next day, but when I woke up in the morning, it only got worse. I then brushed it off again thinking I should be fine if I just napped on the bus ride to UChicago. Instead, once again, it only got worse.

We were starving when we reached the dorms. Nick, Jared, Lindsay, Kara, and I decided to go to the food trucks to get something. I really didn't feel like taking out some money from my purse, but I agreed since Nick said they would be selling some vodka sauce and I really wanted to try that out. (Nick and Lindsay had been talking about vodka sauce since the day before, praising it to be the best thing in the world).

Kara, Rafael (left), Hamilton (right), and I
We didn't end up finding any vodka sauce, but we did find a really good sandwich named Mac, which I actually bought because it sounded great. We all then headed back to the dorms and ate in the lobby. I decided that I would try to grab some coffee from the cafeteria and maybe that would make me feel less sick. "I'll be back up in 5 minutes," I told them.

I ended up finding people from law class: Donna, Aaliya, Stella, and Arthur. I sat with them and somehow showed back up the lobby a good 30 minutes later and everyone was gone. Then, I somehow ended up with Lindsay, Jared, and Nick at the Museum of Science and Industry.

MSI was actually a lot like our Exploratorium, but just had a lot of cooler exhibits that were expensive to get into. During this time, I realized something funny: Jared and Lindsay had the exact same sense of humor, and Nick and I had the exact same sense of humor. So that made the trip at MSI even more hilarious.

We made it back to the dorms just in time to say goodbye to Michelle before she left. It was really sad to see someone so close leaving, and it made the end of this trip real. I admit I may have almost started crying but instead I just gave her a long hug and later headed back into my room to finish packing.

Afterwards, Lindsay and I went to Nick's room since that's where Jared and our new friend Juvia was.

David and I 
I then had to go back to my room to grab my phone charger, so I told them I would be back in 10 minutes. But then, I ran into Kara, so we went to Raqeeb's room, and then Building C to meet with Hamilton, Matus, and Rafael. We went to the third floor to grab food, down to the ice cream social, and then to the ping pong table. I finally then went back to Nick's room a good hour and half later. Nick then said he had to shower so I said I'll just come back half an hour later since Lindsay and Jared were watching comedy videos that I couldn't fully understand. I once again found Kara and then we visited David, and then Raqeeb. I took a quick nap because I felt very sick and tired, so Jared, Lindsay, and Nick had to come up to find me. Oops.

After taking some pictures with them, it was about 4 AM. I was feeling way too sick and knew I had to get up early. I decided to email Don, and tell him I really needed a pass. I'm still sorry about that Don, but at least I got to properly say goodbye to everyone who had made this trip unforgettable for me. 
To the best class <3

I'm Back!

Well, today was the last day of our time in Chicago. I used up all my feelings yesterday, so today's departure was kind of anticlimactic. We left the dorms at 7:00 AM, way too early for me to feel emotions, and there weren’t very many hiccups in our departure.

Said goodbye to the view from my room and my roommate, George.
I had to wake up at around 5:30 AM if I were to leave the dorms on time. More or less, we all managed to be out the door and in the shuttle by around 7:00 AM. The shuttle taking us to the airport wasn't outrageously big, but it was pretty high off of the ground; getting into the seats kind of reminded me of the climb to get into bar seats.

The flight itself was also smooth, besides takeoff. Based on our experiences landing in and taking off from the Midway, we concluded that it must have an especially short runway that caused the steep ascent/descent. We were pretty much perpendicular to the ground the whole ascent. When we flattened out, the ride was decent, and the smooth landing pretty much confirmed our suspicion of the runway size.

Coming back to school from the airport was the most out-of-place thing that happened today. Instead of an SUV, which we have used up until now, we had this huge mini-bus/limo/shuttle come for us. The inside felt like an armored car, and when people would look at the windows it looked like they were sizing us up for the kill, when they were probably in all actuality just checking their hair in the tinted windows.  

The outside (top) and inside (bottom) of our vehicle.
Nothing really went wrong on the way home. We just showed up everywhere we were supposed to be at the scheduled time, and then were transported to where we wanted to go. The whole process was actually peaceful, and it was such a big difference from the hectic nature of life at the campus.
Pictures with the Chicago family...
...and my biological one, too.

It's Weird Being Back

I started getting ready around 5:30 AM. Though we wouldn't be leaving until after 6:45 AM, I didn't want to rush my morning and feel like there wasn't enough time for anything. I wandered around the building and it's likely that most of the elevator movement from 5:30-6:15 was me trying to see everything I could for the last time.
The first goodbye this morning was with Jared. Jahnvi and I had said goodbye to Nick late last night, but since I ended up typing my blog about the last day on the sixth floor where Jared's dorm was and since I left my backpack in his room, he was naturally the first goodbye.

Next I said goodbye to Olivia and Kara. They had told us all to wake them up to say goodbye, so we said our goodbyes and promised to try and stay in contact before I went to grab my bag from my floor and head down to the lobby. Considering that I've spent a considerate amount of time in the last three weeks with Kara and Olivia it was hard to think about the fact that they wouldn't be around me, and that I wouldn't have my studying randomly interrupted by a bored Kara.

Once my bags were downstairs and I was officially checked out, I thought it would completely settle in that we were leaving. It didn't. I was still thinking that we would get on the plane go somewhere and come back to the dorms to see my friends again.

I had another opportunity to say goodbye to Kara when she helped Jahnvi carry her bags down, so I gave her another long hug and promised to bother her sometime later in the day.

After getting to the airport and to our gate, Jahnvi and I ended up calling Jared to bother him while he figured out what to do until his afternoon flight, so we talked to him until we had to line up for boarding.

Though I was most definitely sleep deprived I only managed to sleep for 2 hours of the 4 hour flight, which was annoying. I spent the rest of the time watching Netflix episodes I had downloaded on my phone and looking out the window. On the plane ride in the rows in front of us were two sweet babies, who actually didn't cry very much and were very playful, which made for adorable baby laughter throughout the flight.

Once off the plane it finally began settling in that we were in California not Illinois and that we would not be going back to UChicago, at least any time soon. That moment was terrible. Dorms in a way force social interaction and make it 20 times easier to make plans, because everyone is within the same general area. Without the connection of the dorms I started to get nervous about our friendships holding up.
When waiting for bags we noticed two things. One: Raqeeb's hair was all over the place. Two: Olivia's hair was on the back of his jacket. Throughout the trip Olivia and Raqeeb often borrowed each other's jackets, and until we left campus both Cecilia and I thought the jacket was Olivia's. It had her signature blonde hair on the back of it which really could come from no other source. 

The vehicle we took on the ride to El Cerrito HS was gigantic. There was a question on whether it was a shuttle, a limo, or a bus as it most definitely had room for our luggage, us, and around 12 imaginary people.  On the ride back Jared called me, because he was bored at the airport waiting for his flight to board, so Jahnvi and I talked to him about conspiracy theories and a very hypothetical situation. 

When we got off the bus/shuttle/limo at El Cerrito HS we all hugged and said hello to our families before taking pictures and realizing that this was where we parted ways too. I hugged and said goodbye to everyone before Jahnvi and I realized that we wanted pictures together and wanted to Facetime Kara together one more time. We talked to Kara for 5 minutes and she showed us her room and told us about her day since getting back to Indiana. Jahnvi and I hugged again before parting ways and heading home, our experience at UChicago was over.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

It's Really Ending

My day began when I heard knocking at the door. More accurately, Jahnvi heard knocking on our door and got up to answer it. When she opened it to reveal a group of our friends and fellow classmates outside the door, I woke up. I'm thankful for the fact that at some point during the night we told Jared to wake us up at 8 AM, otherwise our alarms would've continued to blare until Charlotte our RA, came to find us. 

We had to say goodbye to Mac before we got on the bus to leave, as he lives in Wisconsin, so it wasn't logical for him to go all the way back to UChicago before leaving. This was a sad moment, though Peter J had left the night before, there wasn't such an obvious moment. In this we were all standing with our suitcases only to realize that though Mac had all of his belongings, he wouldn't be coming with us on the bus. Mac is essentially Nick's best friend from the whole UChicago experience, so he was the saddest to see Mac go.

On the bus ride back, we had a bus that seats 40, meaning there was room for both Jahnvi and I to sleep across an entire row, so the ride back I took the opportunity to sleep. 

Upon arrival back on campus MA a commuter student who actually saw his house go by as we drove back to UChicago, left. This left all of the students in the dorms to head back inside and try to get used to not seeing the same people for 16 hours of the day. 

As it turns out, we're all very bad at this. It wasn't long before Nick had contacted Jahnvi and asked what we were doing for lunch, and we decided to go down to the food trucks parked right down the street from where our class was to get food. Jared, Nick, Lister, Kara(she knew none of these people), Jahnvi, and I went down to the food trucks before eating in the second floor lounge where we could see who was leaving campus today. It's sad to see people walk down the hall with all of their belongings they brought with them, and usually an entourage to see them off. These three weeks have felt both like a lengthy and minuscule amount of time, and the friendships we've made has made it feel like we've known each other longer than less than a month.
(Left) Nick, (Center) Jahnvi, (Right) Jared
Jared wanted to go to Adler Planetarium, but none of us wanted to spend money both on the trip there, but also on the planetarium itself. Instead we decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry, so I did end up getting to go after all! MSI reminded me greatly of the Exploratorium when we first went in, with interactive activities and games and interesting exhibits. We mostly wandered through the exhibits and played with the interactive games we thought were interesting. On the way back we stopped at Medici's for delicious milkshakes.

Throughout the trip to MSI and back, annoyingly enough Jared and I found that we have ridiculously similar senses of humor. It's annoying in the fact that we didn't begin actually talking to each other until a few days ago, so we're finding on the last days that there's someone else with this sense of humor. The odd thing is that we never would've found out if Jahnvi and I hadn't heard Jared and his Yerkes roommate Ben talking and stroke up a conversation with them. If I were to do one thing differently during this trip, it would've been to move more around the classroom in the beginning instead of sitting in the same place, so I could socialize with more of my classmates than just those in the area directly surrounding me.
Michelle leaving :(

Immediately after getting back from MSI Michelle was leaving. We had a prolonged goodbye due to her not filling out a necessary form, and waiting for her mom to pick her up. It was a sad moment overall as she was the first of my immediate friend group to go, so now I was a part of an entourage saying goodbye to a friend. She lives in the Bay Area also, so unlike with most of my classmates, it's not actually impossible for me to see her again, but that fact that I can't just go up one floor or go across the building and find her is a strange concept. 

I spent the rest of the evening wandering around with Jahnvi and saying bye to people before settling in Nick's room to watch John Mulaney comedy routine's with Jared, Nick, Juvia(one of Nick's friends), and occasionally Jahnvi and Kara. At one point we said goodbye to Lister as it was unlikely we would see her in the morning, which was a  blue moment for us all. We went down for the ice cream social for a second before continuing our comedy show entertainment.
A necessary picture of Jared trying to pack his bag.

Last Day Feels

I don’t really know where to start this blog. Everything that I did, no matter how routine it may have seemed during the session, was weighted down with the knowledge that I might never do those things here again. There were so many people to say goodbye to and so many of those goodbyes felt more final than I’d prefer. Usually when I leave summer programs, I don’t feel the same sense of melancholy that I did today.

The day started off fairly anticlimactically. My group did our presentation; it went very smoothly. We finished with exactly one second before the time limit of 20 minutes. Everyone’s part sounded so much more polished than yesterday, and we all executed so well. It was clear that we had all practiced after our rehearsal last night. There were 4 total presentations this morning, including ours, and when the last group finished, we went outside to take group photos.
The Metacognition group!
During the photos, I couldn’t help but reflect on everything that we’ve done in the class this session. I remembered the first couple of days, when we were getting exposed to the ideas of spacing and interleaving and learning how to find research articles. I reflected on the seemingly countless days in between the beginning and end of the class, where I was so pleased to get a check-plus on my first response paper, which I spent hours in Mansueto working on. Even the most recent days came back to me in a wave of nostalgia; the finalizing of our procedure, the execution of our project, the collection and analyzation of data. Along the way, I became progressively close to my classmates, Kate, and Marjorie. I’m going to genuinely miss this class; not only have I learned a lot about how our brains absorb and understand information, but I also learned what it’s like to participate in a discussion-based, smaller classroom. This course was an invaluable experience, and I’m so glad I got to be part of it.
Class photo.
After class, which ended at lunch break, I went to Shake Shack one last time with Olivia. The Shroom Burger, with all of its gooey goodness, will be a regrettable absence from my stomach for the foreseeable future. We went to the London House after lunch, which has a public rooftop restaurant, and looked out at downtown Chicago for the last time this summer. Although I spent most of my time on campus or near it, I also traveled to downtown fairly frequently, and it’s a really beautiful area that I won’t forget.
Until next tine, Shake Shack.
I spent my time after lunch packing, saying goodbye to people, and just chilling out in the dorms. During this time, I started feeling sad about leaving again, but this time I remembered all of my experiences in the dorms. All of the late nights I spent out in the common area writing papers or reading academic journals because George was in the room sleeping, the times I would randomly run into a bunch of people that I knew in the bathroom, cooking in the kitchen with friends. This place has been a really great place to live, and it’s also helped me to grow as a person.
Chicago is such a pretty city.

Kate and I before saying goodbye.
It’s taking a while to set in that the program is actually over. This time tomorrow I’ll (hopefully) be at home in bed, but right now I can’t help but think about all of my experiences from the orientation to this point. There are so many emotions that I’m feeling, and I can’t put them all into words, but what I can say is that my participation in this class and overall trip has been so memorable, enjoyable, and (most importantly) educational. I learned about practical responsibilities, I got to talk with people from all over the world, I was able to feel what it was like to attend school away from home, and I got to explore and research a subject that I’ve had no previous exposure to.
I'm going to miss seeing this sunset every evening.