Well, wasn't that a lot of travelling?! I thought I was able to scrape by without having to worry about headaches from riding plane but right before descending into the Ocean State, the throbbing pain kicked in. That unpleasant pain limited my ability to finish speaking with the lovely lady which sat in the aisle seat of my row living in Omaha (but originally from San Jose). Thus, the contents of the blog may be a bit primitive and it is likely that the blog will be altered a bit later on.
The night before was spent feverishly making sure that all the items were placed in an organized manner to facilitate today as well as when I return with a decent amount of extra stuff. The last morning spent at my house before the transformative journey was spent by having a lovely and rather lively breakfast at 2:50 in the morning. I dashed out to get to El Cerrito High four minutes before half past three in the morning. The process was less tedious and troublesome with a quick debriefing, a group photo, a distribution of luggage labels and the wait for the shuttle. The shuttle was by far the most difficult of the tasks due to the length of the wait (around 30-45 minutes in chilly weather) but the shuttle ride was quick to SFO, making up for the wait. There was stimulating discussion on international travel between Jack and I after a rather solemn attempt to understand that the departing of the shuttle signifies a new chapter in all our lives, no matter our previous experiences. The City (San Francisco for you non- Bay Area natives) was considerably eerie due to the time of day and the flight out of SFO was very smooth with no delays. It was astounding on how I was able to scarf down a croissant sandwich with bacon and egg, yet feel lively and refreshed for the flight despite my lack of sleep as well.
For the contents of the flight, many of the ILC'ers slept but did make some contact with the passengers to which they sat next to. The Southwest staff was hilarious as contingent with my experiences, their reputation, and my expectations where my life was threatened sarcastically if I chose to press the assistance button to request for a free beverage later than everyone else. The neighbours next to me were both in software engineering and our conversations were not persistent, but fluctuating during the duration of the flight. After a tantalizing landing at Midway with a good amount of turbulence and a symphony of infant screams, Mademoiselle (merci Jack!) Scott and the cohort members delved into a sea of anxious summer travelers crowding the cookie-cutter interior of the airport. Our frantic efforts to rush for out connecting flight was senseless as the gate was only a couple of yards away and we quickly poured into our flight onward to Providence, with a surprisingly nicer interior for a Boeing 737.
Jack slammed a couple of bizarre Snapchat pictures on the tarmac before takeoff where I offered a scornful look of being playful and invigorating. The topographic scenery outside the window was especially shocking with the beautiful plains of the Midwest interrupted by a graciously blue Lake Michigan and later on to a luscious landscape of rolling hills to the Appalachian Mountains. This signifies the aerial retracing of pioneers fulfilling a mandate of manifest destiny centuries ago and to later fly over the Ohio River Valley and to New England showed the beauty and charm of the countryside in these regions of America. Now I am close to the Atlantic Ocean and it is bizarre being acquainted with thinking that the Pacific is the nearest ocean (it's still better because of its sheer size) after living in Hong Kong/ Mainland China, as well as the west coast of North America. Providence instantly captivated me with its charm and its Rhode Islander pride at the airport where we landed. Humidity was truly the first hospitable gift I have received from New England and it was nostalgic as it reminded me of East Asia in the summertime: hot and humid!
After settling into our hotel, we had a lovely dinner afterwards to which reflected not only the delicacies of New England but that of soul food where we shared all our scrumptious portions of seafood and clam chowder. Our waiter was honestly one of the most insightful people I have ever met where he was so cheerful about New England and education after hearing about what we are doing and by talking to use about advancing in education, never underestimating the relationships with others, and many other positive aspects that aren't commonly seen. Oh and the accent was oh so charming and I really hope that I can pull the accent off seamlessly where others would guess that I am a local. He also commented on the diversity of the group and he also talked about how his own family was especially diverse and how he liked that when involved in pedagogy (like RISD for example!) I saw him relate this phenomenon to the powerful words of Dr. King about how education is key to have freedom in life based on having a more well-rounded sense of mind. Seeing the tears after going into the kitchen made me ask him to view and comment on our blogs and I really hope I can be in touch with so many new people I have met today! I appreciate how these Providence residents have shared their suggestions on attractions to do as well as giving us tips to make the most of how compact the region is, similar to what I like about Europe! It is amazing to see how many people I have met as well as new experiences formed just within today; the transformation of changing across places and scenarios takes its form in the environment of society, politics, economics, and so many other factors and I am blessed to be able to cherish that.
As for the lovely dinner of geographically appropriate and palatable swordfish, I was so lethargic with a throbbing headache. I hope it will go away before I get to New Haven on the NE Express or Acela (don't know which on we're taking tomorrow!)