As I approached Pinole Valley High School this morning, half-asleep and half-awake, it still hadn’t hit me that I was embarking on an adventure of a lifetime. Even now, although I am fully aware of the implications of this trip, it all feels very surreal and unreal, that I would be at a luxurious hotel in rainy Providence, Rhode Island with the best and brightest of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
As we left from PVHS this morning, I couldn’t help but notice that despite having only 3 hours of sleep the previous night, I felt more awake than I had been in a long time. Not even the fact that the driver of the shuttle to the airport seemed slightly off could damper my spirits. At the airport, Ms. Bulls treated us to a breakfast that although was not terrible, wasn’t terrific. On Southwest Flight 231 from Oakland Airport to Las Vegas, I sat on the aisle seat next to William Chong and we played cards with Andrew Gabriel. Upon arriving at Las Vegas, I wasn’t surprised to see a whole host of slot machines and the jingle of money being lost. Above that din, I was surprised to hear that our flight from Las Vegas to Providence was delayed due to weather conditions. Already, I was afraid that we might not even make it to Providence, let alone succeed there. But sure enough, as we boarded half an hour later and late, my hopes began to rise faster than the airplane could lift off. During the seemingly endless journey, card games once again reigned supreme, at least until the slumbering giant of drowsiness and sleep took over as I unwillingly fell asleep.When I woke, the familiar sun-drenched skies of California and the West Coast had transformed to cloud-laden darker skies of the East.
Upon arrival at Providence, we got our luggage, and then waited for transport to our Hilton hotel. After a long wait, we all piled into a mini-van, which was filled to far more than capacity in terms of luggage. To keep a long story short, having a 50 pound suitcase on your lap isn't as pleasant as one would think. Upon arrival at the Hilton, I was overwhelmed by the niceness of the hotel.
For dinner, we went to the shopping mall, and I consumed a bacon cheeseburger and a strawberry shake. On the way back, we attempted to find a Walmart, but ended up helplessly lost. After struggling to make our way home for an hour, we finally drifted home to prepare for a fitful rest.
I am truly excited for tomorrow to visit New York and Columbia, and I owe many thanks to Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Kronenberg, Don, and all of the sponsors for helping make this trip possible. I also would like to thank my parents for their support, and to say "Hi" to my brother. Thank you!