After our late-night karaoke, I think everyone appreciated the late report time for this morning. Since neither flight was going to be boarding until after 2:00, we didn’t have to be ready to go until 11:15. I wanted to enjoy the breakfast one last time, so I meandered down to the lobby about half an hour before breakfast was set to end at 10:00.
I was looking forward to one last dumpling breakfast; alas, for the first time in a week, there were no dumplings to be found. While this was unfortunate, it led me to try the French toast.
After breakfast, David and I went to the bakery down the street from the hotel to search for airplane snacks. It was a nice last little adventure. On the short walk back to the hotel, the realization that this really was it started to set in.
After I finished packing all my stuff and making sure I didn’t leave anything in the room, I spoke to my mom on the phone for a bit, then went to the lobby to check out.
Downstairs, I had to tape up my bag for what was hopefully the last time. I once again borrowed scissors from the front desk. I used up almost all of the rest of my tape, which I think should have been enough. I would find out if my thought was correct upon arriving in Chicago.
Once the whole class was gathered in the lobby, we said the first of our many goodbyes. Ruben was staying at the hotel, and later in the day was going to catch a train to Beijing to meet up with his family. Our next goodbye was when we got off the bus at the airport, where we parted ways with David, who was going to be flying to Hongkong from a different terminal, as well as Young, who was accompanying him. Jane was next; after the initial round of security and baggage checking, everyone hugged her goodbye.
Everyone made it through security just fine, and I was impressed with the efficiency of the airport security compared to what I’m used to back at home. Once past security, the Chicago-Philly flight group split from the Newark group, and not long after that we were ready to board. A goodbye to Dr. Li later, the eight of us were on the plane.
The flight, while long, didn’t feel quite as bad as the one two weeks ago. I watched a couple of movies, slept a bit, ate some snacks, and worried about making it through customs in time to catch our connecting flight.
In the end, everything worked out. My parents met me in the Philadelphia airport, and a comparatively very short 45-minute drive later I was home. I was glad to see my family again, and my dog too of course.
(Picture is unrelated, I just wanted to post the pyramid picture from the Great Wall)