Friday, June 20, 2014

Final Destination

Today was not a day focused on college, but rather a day focused on travel to Ithaca. I awoke a bit after eight, and actually got out of bed by my goal time of eight forty. I showered and dressed, then, having mostly packed up last night, threw my toothbrush into my suitcase and zipped it up. After quadruple-checking our room, Sue, Jun, and I were out to the elevators and ready to go a couple of minutes before the appointed meeting time of ten.

Once our cohort had assembled in the lobby, we went to the café next to the hotel and got coffee. Mr. Chan-Law had decreed that we should skip breakfast in order to better handle lots of deep-dish Chicago pizza at lunch. However, since I was drinking black coffee rather than a big fancy frappuccino, I had a muffin to tide me over.

Once our drinks were assembled, Mr. Chan-Law set us free for an hour and a half of sightseeing. Although we were allowed to split up into groups of at least two, we stuck together at first and ventured into Walgreens for necessities and small souvenirs. Then, we crossed the street and entered Topshop. I, having only heard about Topshop online, was rather excited, despite the fact that I don’t often enjoy clothes shopping and had not planned to spend any money there. I found it a cross between Urban Outfitters and H&M: vibrant, hipsterish clothing of decent quality for prices beyond my liking. Jun and I ventured into the lower level, where I found a pair of salmon-colored, dinosaur-printed socks as a souvenir for my best friend.

After Topshop, Kevin, Sue, and Carla went off to the mall while Jun, Katelyn, and I went to H&M. Jun struck pay dirt with multiple cute dresses, but I came away empty-handed. As it approached 11:50, the time at which we were to meet up at the pizza place, we found Mr. Chan-Law and Kevin in H&M, and so we walked to the restaurant together. There we were joined by Sue and Katelyn. A word about our worthy chaperone: when we expressed a desire to color on the menus, Mr. Chan-Law didn’t bat an eye; in fact, he jumped up for crayons.

Despite fun times coloring the pictures and doing the mazes of the menu and watching the World Cup game on the TV above our table, the wait for our pizzas was a long one. When they finally came, Mr. Chan-Law told us we had ten minutes to stuff our faces. We found that deep-dish pizza isn’t conducive to fast eating, but we made it away in time regardless. I learned today that one slice of hastily eaten deep-dish four-cheese pizza can make me a little queasy.

Leaving the restaurant, we reclaimed our luggage from the hotel and set out in a shuttle for the airport. There was a lot of traffic on the freeway due to an accident, so the trip was long. At one point Carla and I, seated in the first row, looked back to see everyone else asleep.

Although the traffic had caused considerable concern, we were able to check our suitcases and get through security in a reasonably efficient manner, and were early for boarding. Our first flight was from Chicago to Philadelphia. I was in the aisle, and Jun was next to me with the window seat.

Once in the Philadelphia airport, we had two hours before boarding the next plane. We scouted out our dinner options and settled on burritos. Then we crossed the airport and took a shuttle bus out to the small plane that would take us to Ithaca. Once again, I was seated in the aisle next to Jun, who had the window seat.

Although I had been rather apprehensive about flying in such a comparatively small plane, there were no issues. It was strange to have only one flight attendant and the bathroom at the front, but that is the worst that can be said about the flight. Takeoff, turbulence, and landing were no different than they would be in a larger plane. A few rows in front of us were two boys about our age, and one was carrying the reading assignment for the Hotel Management program.

Upon arrival at the quaint Ithaca Airport, we retrieved our luggage and waited as Mr. Chan-Law worked on transportation. Then we went outside and found the large white van meant to transport us in a parking lot that smelled of fresh. After some trouble fitting all our luggage in, we were off to Cornell.

Mr. Chan-Law photobombs our tiny airplane
After a ten-minute drive we arrived on campus. Since it had already been nighttime for a few hours, we could see only the outlines of darkened buildings. Mr. Chan-Law first dropped off Katelyn, Kevin, and Carla at their residence hall, then me and Jun at ours, and also at ours someone came to take Sue to hers. A student gave us a small envelope containing a room key, mail key, Cornell ID, and instructions for checking in tomorrow. She then took us to our respective rooms: Jun’s is on the third floor, and mine is on the fourth. My roommate had not arrived early, so I had my pick of bed, desk, drawers, and bookshelf and closet space. My room has its own sink in its own little room, which will be lovely for tooth-brushing. There is also a closet without hangers, and drawers with shelf space above. A small bookshelf is at the foot of my bed. There are two large, flat desks with lamps, but on my side of the room there is no extra outlet. I’m very glad I borrowed one of Don’s power strips. The beds are raised up higher that traditional twin beds, and there is a large dusty box fan on the floor. The two worst things about this room is the location, because heat rises, and the smell, which is sharp and strong but undefined.

After unpacking, I found that I was using only one shelf, a few inches of closet space, two drawers, and a place to stack the Cornell towels and bedding I don’t need. My roommate will be able to occupy perhaps three fourths of the total storage space if she likes.

While I am exhilarated to be in Ithaca, today was a long day and I have Check-In tomorrow morning. This floor of North Balch Hall is empty but for the RCA and one other girl, so it might be a nervous night. The building appears to have some redeeming architectural aspects, but it is very shabby and the lighting is yellow. Combined with an elevator that is very jerky, this place may be dismal and creepy until the other girls arrive tomorrow.


  1. What a day! I will miss your touring experiences but am looking forward to learning more about Cornell. Meanwhile, hope you sleep tight in your big empty dorm! Love, Mom

  2. Your first night reminds me of my first night at Oberlin College. I got there two days ahead of the rest of the freshmen, because your father had to get back to Marin for his first day at Town School. Those big dorms are pretty overwhelming when no one is in them. Hopefully your roommate has arrived by now. Valerie