So much to say...where do I begin...
I spent the last three days visiting my hometown in SC. A couple days by the beach helped a lot to calm my nerves, (and I was all nerves for the past week,) before hopping on a few planes and making it to Philly. Although I would have preferred a temperature about 5-10 degrees cooler I cant really complain because I spent much of the time in the pool or in air conditioning.
Now I have been waiting years for this day but that didn't make getting up at 5:30 to head to the airport any easier. One thing I came to appreciate today was the amount of signs in airports. I had worried about not being able to find my way or not knowing what to do before I left but today went perfectly. Even though I had a connecting flight in Charlotte I didn't lose my way once and had plenty of time to make it through all of the lines and was lucky to not have to wait for too long (even found time for a coffee and a bagel in Charlotte)...but that all changed when it was time to leave the airport. While in the airport I happened to notice someone with a Peace Corps emblem on their back pack and introduced myself and together we made our way to find a bus to the hotel. Unfortunately for us we did what made sense and went outside to wait for the hotel shuttle along with all of the other hotel shuttles. However, when a shuttle finally arrived from the appropriate hotel company it informed us that it didn't take people to our particular hotel even though they were both run by the same company. We followed his direction and made our way to the complete other side of the parking deck as instructed and was informed when we got there that we would have to wait longer and also pay money for the shuttle. When the shuttle eventually did arrive it waited until the shuttle was completely filled with people before leaving and it made sure to take us through the scenic sights in Philly, i.e. the oil refineries, the manufacturing plants, and a good proportion of the cities abandoned houses. After that tour who wouldn't want to visit Philly more often?
After two flights and dealing with the bus I was ready to relax but instead I was hurried to finish paper work and sit for about three hours doing meet and greet activities, taking a short break and then back to more activities. I wouldn't say it was boring or a waste of time but it was just hard to do after all the I had been through today. After we finished all of us headed to the lobby and conversed about the possibility of going out to dinner but none of us went anywhere for about 20 minutes. Luckily a group of us finally edged ourselves close enough to the door that we couldn't hold out any longer.
So what exactly does one eat when they go to a restaurant in Philly? A cheese steak of course. In the end about twenty of us ended up eating at the same place. We were pretty much the only people in the whole restaurant and I'm sure we made the owner a very happy person.
Tomorrow we all get up bright in the morning to head to New York and wait for about five hours for our flight. If we didn't spend enough time getting to know each other today we will definitely have time to chat tomorrow.