To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should even post this blog entry since considerable time has lapsed since our last day in Texas, but then I thought, I have to, because otherwise these series of blogs would be like a book without an ending… so here I go. January 14th was sadly our last day in Texas! We were all sad as we packed our last items and headed to the bus for an early breakfast. We quickly stopped at McDonalds to fill our stomachs and then we headed to the National Center of the American Heart Association in Dallas where we met up with the CEO!
We were able to take a tour of the center, and then we watched a presentation and talked with the CEO, who, we later found out had never met with a group before! Boy, did we feel special! It was incredible when I listened to the presentations and realized how little I actually knew about Heart Disease. I’d like to say I’m a fairy knowledgeable person, however this experience forced me to realize how prominent heart disease is, especially in women, and the different sources of information and resources that are available. After we all asked many questions and gained some great insight into the disease that is rated the #1 cause of death in women, we boarded the bus one last time and headed to the airport. Once at the airport, it was with heavy hearts that we had to unload our bags from beneath the bus for the last time, and say a final farewell to James our bus driver who was so much apart of making our trip meaningful and exciting! After undergoing the typically stressful adventure through airport security (which by the way was significantly more rigorous leaving Texas than coming in), we all found our gate and settled down at an airport terminal Pizza Hut where we enjoyed pizza and bread sticks which if I’m honest, were not even closely comparable to the decadent pizza we got on the River Walk! Once full, we all sat in the terminal as we waited for our flight to board, secretly hoping that none of us would get stuck with middle seats again. To pass time some of us toured the airport, while many others played/blogged on our tablets (thanks again Pat Pierce!).
Finally we boarded and to our delight we all had early boarding numbers so none of us had the unfortunate position of sitting in the middle seat again!! Once on the plane, despite questioning glances from other passengers, we counted off fairly loudly, aka our last head count of the trip, leaving many passengers questioning why someone near them randomly was shouting out a number. After our count-off, we settled into our seats, and listened to the airplane safety instructions being given by the flight attendants, for the 6th time this trip. Before long, we were heading for the runway for take off, and I stuffed my mouth full of gum (in hopes that my ears wouldn’t pop) and stared out the window as I silently said farewell to Texas! The next two flights (yes, that’s right, we took 3 planes to get home), were luckily uneventful. In fact, most of us don’t really remember them because the majority of the group fell asleep on the last two plane rides due to utter exhaustion! It was around 9:30 when we hit ground on Northern soil, and we quickly de-boarded the plane, and headed to baggage claim to collect our luggage! Once again we were all remarkably lucky and none of our luggage went missing during our voyage home. Once we had all successfully pulled our luggage off the revolving conveyer belt, we took our final group picture before parting ways.
Once our picture had been taken, we said a heartfelt goodbye to everyone who was getting picked up at the airport and the rest of us loaded onto the Bay Path shuttles to be transported back to campus. Once at campus we said our final thank yous and solemn goodbyes, which in retrospect seemed kind of silly. If you had been an on-looker watching us, you would have thought we would never see each other again based on our farewells, when in reality, we would all be seeing each other in less than a week when we moved back onto campus! Although I was beyond sad to see the Texas trip come to a close, I have to accept that all good things must come to an end! Thanks to this incredible experience I had the invaluable opportunity to stuff my face with Texan cuisine, talk with Texan Natives, stand in the place where JFK was shot, venture through Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch, ride a horse for the first time, visit mission controls at NASA, learn about heart disease, volunteer my time at truly incredible community service centers, walk the river walk, visit a Texan prison, stand on the field of the Dallas Cowboys, stand within the Alamo, immerse myself in the culture and gain a level of understanding of historical events that cannot be achieved in any other way than to physically stand in the place these events occurred and experience it yourself. Thank you Bay Path for an incredible experience.