|First picture back in my room!|
It is a bittersweet feeling to be home again. I woke up at noon this morning, slightly confused at to where I was. It felt strange not waking up to Anna shuffling around our room, trying not to wake me. For a minute, I thought that the last four months had just been a very long, pleasant dream. However, a smile crept to my face when I saw my bags and suitcase laying open on the floor, the contents of them strewn haphazardly across my room: they proved that the trip was most definitely real. I pushed the heavy blanket that immersed my body in warmth away from me as I got up out of bed. I walked over to my bags and plopped down in front of them, thinking of my last day in Nashville.
I had woken early to check my bags and repack some things I threw into my suitcase last minute. Yessenia and Hannah had woken up by the time I was done. The three of us got ready to leave while we watched the Olympics, though none of us really seemed to be paying much attention to the T.V.
At 11 o’clock, the three of us knocked on Chris’s door. He answered with a smile on his face and luggage in his hands. We all headed down to the lobby together, basking in the fact that this would be our last time lugging our bags through a hotel together. We met Mr. Mannix and went down to the Pancake Pantry (this time by car) for our final breakfast together.
After we finished breakfast, we drove to downtown Nashville for some last minute shopping. It was so crowded with tourists that I almost bumped into someone several times. It reminded me of Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Warf back home in San Francisco. We went in and out of several stores, but none of us found anything we liked enough to buy. I suggested going back to the bookstore that was close to the university for some last minute souvenirs, and no one disagreed so we went. I ended up buying my parents matching Vanderbilt shirts.
Then it finally came time start for the airport. We sat in silence and listened to the music coming from my phone as we drove, taking in our last sight of Nashville. When we got to the airport, we did all the procedures that had become second nature to us; check in our bags, get our boarding passes, go through airport security, etc. We waited for what seemed like hours before we boarded the plane.
The plane ride back home was, to me, the longest plane ride of the entire trip. I was exhausted from our morning adventures and eager to get home and rest. However, the time seemed to go by excruciatingly slow. I groaned with dissatisfaction when the plane stopping at Las Vegas to board more passengers. When we were landing, I peeked out the window and saw all the lights from the city and it made me want to stay there for a day. However, we were only there for about 15-20 minutes. Then, we were in the air again.
About an hour and a half later, our plane had finally landed for good. I eagerly jumped out of my seat, grabbed my backpack from overhead, and ran out from the plane with my cohort following behind me. We walked together to baggage claim, where large throng of people was congregated. In the midst of the crowd, I saw my mother’s face. She was staring at me, trying to discern if it was truly me she was seeing. I waved and saw her face light up. I ran down the escalator and into her arms. There is something about being in the arms of your mother that is just so relaxing. I no longer felt tired or stressed when I was in her arms. I just felt warm and like I was at home.
She greeted everyone else and told me to go to my dad, who was waiting by the conveyer belt where the luggage was supposed to come. I snuck up on him and he hugged me tightly. I waited with him and my mother for my suitcase to come, and when it did we said our goodbyes to everyone and headed back home.
I knew they were eager to hear all about my trip, and I tired by best to tell them as much as I could, but at some point I fell silent and just took in the view as we drove. I appreciated that my parents did not pester me to go on; I think they could see how tired I was.
When we arrived home, they helped me move all my bags to my room. They kissed me goodnight and told me we would spend all day tomorrow going over every aspect of my trip. They left and I was alone in my room. I looked around and everything was the way I had left it…it was like nothing had changed since I had been gone. I smiled and collapsed on my bed. It’s good to be home again.