Saturday, July 9, 2016

Stranded In Atlanta

I woke up and it was Friday, it was the day I was not expecting to get here any time soon but I knew it was coming my way no matter what. I woke up to a cloudy day, a nice cloudy day. The wind wasn’t cold, and it wasn’t hot. It was just perfect. We met up in class for the very last time, it was not the last time I would see everyone but it was the last time we were going to bond and be in that safe space that we had created and establish just two weeks ago when we were all introduced to each other for the very first time.

Our last time in room 217 in the CIT, was very sad. We were sad for good reasons. We were sad because we knew that we had come so far from stranger into sisters in such a short matter of time and we had gain trust, confidence, and strength from each other, for each other. We finished the class by evaluating our lovely instructor Tina and TA Christine. They stepped outside to give us the privacy to write down our very honest thoughts of them and the program, but they were all positive comments.

Finally, our last activity as a class together. Tina gave us all a short affirmation which was the beginning into bringing tears to us. Every single student felt empathy as she discussed the brutal events that have been affecting our world. The sad reality, make us all very emotional but it is what it is. Then we were all given a pack of strings used to tie around each of our peers wrist and give them an affirmation as we did so, let me just say we all felt that knot in our throats and the majority of the class was brought to tears. W finalized our last moment together by watching inspiring feminist videos to remind us how powerful we are in this world.


After spending my lunch with Sara, Lauren, Komal, Fern, Sachi, Camila, and Aimee, it was time to present our Action Plans. All of the Leadership Institute students, parents, instructors, and fellows were all gathered in room 117 in MacMillan Hall at 1 PM. We were all given an introduction and closure of the program which was directed by Kisa.  The room advisors, room directors, and instructors went up to share their memorable experiences with all of us. For many this was the very last time we would see each other, because there were flights to catch. I had ran out of tears in which I could no longer cry at all when we were shown a slideshow of our 2 week journey at the program.

We then were split into the groups we were going to be presenting our action plans.

I was in Group A in MacMillan Hall in room 217, the same room. I was with 5 other girls who I did not know except Lauren, a parent, and Kisa.  The nervousness that I had felt prior to presenting had gone away, and it was my turn after hearing about; Library Accessibility in China, Children Hunger in America, and LGBTQ workshops. I got up and I noticed Ms. Cruzat had made it on time. I felt comfortable although I was very emotionally connected to my plan. It was very personal indeed, but I came to terms that this issue is an issue that I know by heart and I am willing into bringing a positive solution to some of the problem. My Action Plan was to spread awareness and create support groups at my school for students and staff members to create a safe space to share and speak out about their lost friends, students, cousins, etc. due to violence. I felt a connection with the audience in despite that it was a small group, everyone was so attentive and caring. I felt comfortable to speak out from my heart and it was over in a few matter of minutes. Rather than questions I was given comments and feedback which were all positive and made me feel great about my presentation. I honestly felt less pressure than I had the day before.

We were then interrupted by a huge group of 100 people who had reserved the room. Kisa had not been notified but this wasn’t an issue, so we moved over to a room in the CIT building which was right across MacMillan. The presentations continued and the following presentations were about Reducing Tutor Prices for All Social Economic People, and the Stop of Coal Mining Workshops.
In conclusion I noticed that all the Action Plans were brilliant and although we were all given such a short amount of time it was done very well because it was an issue that really concerned us seriously. In despite of the short research time given we were able to complete the task and excel.

After everyone presented we were done, that was it. The program was over in such a short matter of minutes and the stress and tension were released. Lauren and I headed outside where we found the rest of our class. Ms. Cruzat came up to me and affirmed that I had done a great job which made me feel so great. For the last time we were all together as a class with Tina and Christine, it became very sad but happy. It was finally time to say goodbye to them and it was so hard.


Chloe (Fio) and I

Fern and Camille

Bailey, me, and Ishani


Then Camila and I decided to join Natalie and Maddie who live in Piedmont, Ca on an interview for the Brown’s website which I am looking forward into looking at it. We were asked a couple of questions in order to share our experiences and that was it.

It was time to head back to our dorms for the very last time to gather our belongings. I got to my room grabbed my bags, but before I left I looked around my room for the last time.  A lot of memories were made in Olney from having a co-ed floor, the stinky first floor, and the lounge that almost everyone would sleep in on endless nights. I made where Komal, Camila, Aimee, and I said our last goodbyes to our friends and we made our way to the Grad Center to return our keys. Just as we were walking out the gates the shuttle had arrived already and after turning in our keys we boarded on. It was done, we had completed 2 weeks at the most amazing school ever.


The shuttle dropped us off at Providence’s Theodore Francis Green State Airport. It was a small but very nice airport, and it was very hard to get lost so we found our gate very easily after checking in and passing security. This time I was not TSA Pre- Checked approved which sucked but it was okay. We were also informed that our flight had been delayed by 23 minutes so it gave us plenty of time to have dinner before we boarded on. Bailey, Lynda, Aimee, and I ate Johnny Rockets while Ms. Cruzat, Camila, and Komal had pizza. Right after we headed to our gate the girls and I sat next to an outlet where we talked and finished making our last calls to notify our parents where we were at.

Soon after it was time to board on the plan. Once everyone was on and sitting the pilot announced that the plane had to be refueled. It was 7:45 PM and our plane had still not departed. We were supposed to have had departed at 7 PM. Many of us already had connecting flights but still had hope that we would make it on time to catch our next flight in Atlanta. We ended up departing around 8 PM, during the flight I was exhausted after a very long day so I closed my eyes and rested, but once I woke up we were one hour into the flight. I started to hear many people complaining about their connection flight and I became concern about ours as well, our next flight in Atlanta was scheduled to depart at 10:35 PM. The girl behind me and her father started to complain about a SFO connecting flight so I turned around and asked them if they knew an updates but the time for departure remain the same and it started to worry me. I also found out that she had been touring campuses and she toured Brown; I had told her that I had been there for the 2 weeks program and she told me her friend had too.

As our flight came to a landing it was 10:17 PM. The flight attendants had announce that the people with connecting flights should be given the first pass out since it was only a matter of minutes for the boarding time. I tried to get off the plane as soon as possible but a man in front of me was too busy on his phone to even listen to me asking “Excuse me, may I pass”, but it seemed to not concern him as he did not move soon enough. At the moment we got out the gate it was already late but we did not give up. We still made our way as a group to gate A02. We came to be informed that we would have to take a train in order to get there, we started speeding up in all hopes that we could make it. We got on the train and the next stop we got off, then there was set escalators we ran up, in order to rush, and although we looked like we were going insane many people around us also were doing the same as they knew there flight was also about to leave any time soon. Just as things were bad enough already, when we got to the top the gate appeared to be all the way in the back of the long hall, at that time it was 10:30. I had developed a feeling that they were gone already and our flight had left us behind, but we kept moving fast, and just as I had thought, when we arrived at our gate the plane’s door was shut and there was no way of getting on. At that moment I felt extremely furious and upset that Delta Airlines had really let this happen to those on a connecting flight.

We were there at 10:32, just 3 minutes before departure and the check in attendant couldn’t do anything about it, and we would have to catch the next flight. The problem was though that the next flight was the next morning at 8 AM. We were not in any chance prepared for this situation. We called our parents, my mother was calm, more than I was and she asked me to keep her informed as she was also disappointed. Then we went to customer service to see if there was anything ls they could do but they blamed it on the weather control and the FA (government) and all they could give us was a reduced hotel and a night kit that was not even usable. We had no other options, we had been stranded in Atlanta for the night, so we spent the night at the Ramada Hotel.

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