Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New World Full of Attitude and Maintenance

Saying goodbyes to parents before the shuttle takes students to the airport
It was like a dream. After arriving at El Cerrito High School, I kept pinching myself to make sure everything was really happening. Since most of us were on time, we waited for the airport shuttle to arrive. It’s always better to wait for transportation because the transportation would definitely not wait for anyone. After everyone said their goodbyes to their parents, we all boarded the shuttle. I hugged my parents, which was very different but comforting because we usually don’t hug. For the first time, I won’t be with family for more than two days. This is one of the first steps to becoming independent.

I didn’t think many people flew at such an early hour, but the line for check-in was very long. I worried that we wouldn’t make our flight in time because I remember when I travelled with family, we checked in about 2-3 hours before departure time. Today, we had about 90 minutes until departure. When it was my turn to check in, I thought the process was a bit confusing. I had to do it on my own. Not only have I never checked myself in before, but for this flight, it was like a self-checkout station at Lucky’s complete with many options and possible ways of completing a task. Although it was all new to me, I checked in my luggage and printed out my boarding pass all on my own. Maybe I could do more travelling without family in the future.

Luggage being thrown onto the conveyor belt
While boarding the plane, I chose to sit next to the window. Looking out the window, I saw luggage being thrown onto a conveyor belt. I now know why my suitcases tend break after taking them on airplanes. Those who load the luggage don’t care for others’ belongings.

Luggage was not the only I saw out the window. The view was great. When we were nearing Chicago, I could see the ground. There were large square portions of farmland. I assume Illinois must be a farm country.

After checking into The Drake Hotel, we went out for sight-seeing. We ate lunch in a type of food court setting at the Water Tower Place. There were so many options and it took me forever to decide what to eat. In the end I chose to eat ravioli. For dessert, I had ice-cream. To order the food, we used cards for cashiers to swipe. The bill was given upon leaving the restaurant. It was very different and unique. I actually prefer using cards so that we wouldn’t have to carry around so much cash. Like the clipper cards for public transportation in the Bay Area, those meal cards make paying a bit easier.

My ravioli with four cheeses and garlic bread for lunch
Pistachio ice cream in a white chocolate dipped waffle cone for dessert and the meal card
We walked about a mile to Millennium Park after eating lunch. On our journey, I noticed that most stores and restaurants used revolving doors. It looked very fancy. A little time consuming at times, but it distinguishes downtown Chicago from downtown San Francisco. Another difference between the two cities is the attitude. Drivers were constantly honking at each other in Chicago. Those in the Bay Area are typically more patient, but here, everyone’s annoyed or in a hurry. Even the Chicago fire truck was honking at people, although the fire truck was justified in honking since lives needed to be saved.
Two of many revolving doors throughout downtown Chicago
A piece of downtown Chicago
Very healthy plant life next to a clean and gum-less sidewalk
Although those in Chicago are more impatient, the city is kept nice. There is a lot of greenery and plant life. The grass is very green and well maintained, especially the grass in Millennium Park and Butler Park. Everything is cleaner and there is less pollution. The water looks more blue and clear. The public transportation is cleaner. It’s very nice here in Chicago. I’m looking forward to the next few days here in the Windy City.

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