Departure Day

August 26, 2015

Today is the day. Today is the day my next chapter finally begins. It is Wednesday the 26th of August, the day my college career at Florida State University begins. My brother Patrick wakes me up around 9am to inform me he is leaving for his first day of high school at Voorhees. I give him a grunt-like sound seeing as I am still half asleep. He walks over to my side of the bed and “goodbye” again. My eyes are half open and I see him walk out of my bedroom and a minute later hear the front door slam shut. I regret not hugging him goodbye. I close my eyes and am woken up by the buzzing of my phone. I pick it up, still groggy, and say “hello?” It is my mother calling to wake me up. I go upstairs to the bathroom to do my daily morning routine and shower. After, I put on my Hollister jeans with the hole at my right knee, my maroon Florida State International Programs shirt, and my brown Timberlands. I walk into the playroom and pack my personal bag with my laptop, textbooks, charging cords, Beats headphones, Kindle, adaptors, my Wooby, blanket, Zac Brown Band shirt and black running shorts. In the smaller pockets of my backpack I put my iPod, earbuds, pens, pencils, and little box of jewelry. In the side pockets I Put my wallet, shoulder purse, calculator and passport. In the midst of my packing I received a text from my friend Erin saying she was on her way. A few minutes later I receive a “here” text from her and I respond with my usual “I am in the basement.” Erin walks through the garage door that leads to the basement and in her hand is a small gift bag. She hands it to me. As I open the gift I chuckle to myself; inside is a small package of vanilla puddings and a plastic spoon. Two things that represent the start of Erin and I’s friendship. I check my watch, it reads 11:20 am, just about time to go. I run upstairs to my brother Kristian’s room and tell him I am leaving. Of course he is plugged into his Xbox and cannot hear me initially. He realizes I am there and respond with his typical “what?” I tell him I am about to leave. He puts his headphones back on and tells his friend “my sister is leaving for college, hold on.” Kristian comes downstairs with me and gives me a hug and says “Bye James!” (The nickname he has dubbed me seeing as I am his chauffeur). I walk out to our driveway, my dad and Erin are waiting in our white Nissan Rogue. I join Erin in the back seat and take a selfie with Erin for Snapchat, captioning it “Airport Bound!” We are officially on route to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York via route 78. My dad plays my Taylor Swift 1989 CD for the car ride. Erin and I sing along while my father just keeps to himself, occasionally striking up a conversation. When we arrive to the airport my father drops Erin and I off at the departures terminal while he goes and parks the car. Inside the terminal we meet up with my mother who took a train from the city to meet us. My mother was talking with my flight buddy, Eilish Mendonca and her father. Eilish was also wearing her FSUIP shirt. I said “hello” and shook hands with her father. My dad finally joined us as well and introduced himself. My dad and I went to go check in to my flight while my mother and Erin stayed back to talk with Eilish and Mr. Mendonca. After check-in, Eilish said goodbye to her father because he had to drive back to North Attleboro, Massachusetts, a bit far from JFK. We then go up to the food concourse area to grab some snacks. My dad treats us to McDonald’s. Once Eilish and I finished our meals, my mom snapped some pictures of us.

Eilish and I at JFK airport

After the pictures it was about time to go through security, so we head downstairs wo where the security line starts. The hardest part is about to happen for me; saying goodbye to both my parents as well as my best friend. I turn around to hug Erin and she is crying, “oh fuck” I think to myself. We embrace for what seems like forever. I pull away and say “I’ll text you until I cannot and let you know what stage I’m at.” My mom is next and I already know she is going to be a wreck. I give her a big hug and reassure her I will be okay and that I will let her know when I get there. My father is last but not least. He is not much of a crier but when I turn to him I can see tears in his eyes. I give him a big huge hug. I turn to face Eilish who is waiting for me. We show our tickets and passports to the first TSA officer and he points us to the far left.

Waiting in line at security

My dad waits on the other side of the barrier and walks and talks with us until the barrier is solid and you cannot see through it. Once through security I turn around and wave goodbye to my family. Eilish and I walk to our gate, find an area on the floor with enough room for the both of us, and start the waiting game. We do not really talk that much with each other, we just sit on our luggage and use our phones. Eilish goes to the bathroom while I watch the luggage. Upon her return a woman is going around checking our carry-on bags. She stops at Eilish and I and say’s Eilish’s bag is too big even though it is regulation carry-on size. She and Eilish walk away with her luggage. They come back and Eilish says they are going to check the bag at the gate. The woman then sees my bag and does the same thing with mine. We are just left with our backpacks. Thirty minutes later is time to start boarding. As we wait in line, Alex Kazounis walks up to us. She is also in her FSUIP shirt. She tells us she is flying with Jess Rapsys who has not yet arrived at the airport.

Our line starts moving so we tell Alex goodbye and that we will see her in Florence. When the attendant scans Eilish and mine’s ticket, she says we got an upgrade; so instead of economy we were sitting in premium economy. On the plane both Eilish and mine’s rows were empty except for one other person so we had all the room to spread out and fully enjoy our flight. During the flight I watched the “Age of Adaline,” “Sound of Music,” and “The Longest Ride.” For my dinner I ate the barbeque chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Our flight landed in Frankfurt, Germany around 5am local time.