|All the Bags the Penn Cohort Had to Bring|
Today was the day that I had been anticipating since the time I was accepted into the Ivy League Connection program and it finally came! I woke up at 2:00 A.M. excited about going to Pennsylvania and I couldn't go back to sleep. Meeting up with my Penn cohort as well as the Vanderbilt cohort at El Cerrito High School, Don went over some matters such as blogging daily to bringing Ziploc bags to put gel pens in. Then I took a group photo with my Penn cohort, said my goodbyes, and off I left! On the way to the San Francisco airport, I started talking with Bryan and his past experiences with the ILC program at Columbia. He told me that he really enjoyed bonding with his roommates as they were from different parts of the world such as Norway, China, and Brazil. For example, Bryan was really impressed with how his roommate from Norway explained how his socialist government was one of the better governments with its health care benefits and tuition for college. It made me really excited to go and meet my new roommates at Penn pretty soon!
|Some Penn Cohort Members Waiting At the Airport|
Before we knew it, we were at the airport and boarding the plane to Washington D.C. As I got on the plane, I wanted to converse with the strangers that would sit next to me. Unfortunately however, the people that I sat next to were sleeping or listening to music and so I had no chance to really talk with them. I was also getting a bit motion sick and some major headaches which lasted until we got off the plane, so I became a bit immobilized in this state of pain. This soon went away as we traveled to our hotel in Georgetown and got some pizza to eat.
|A Rustic Looking Middle School|
|A Stylish Looking Safeway!|
One thing that I noticed about Georgetown as we drove by was that it was a mixture of colonial brick buildings and a hint of modernism. Our taxi driver said that in D.C., there's always construction. The modern buildings fused with old, rustic colonial buildings to create a new style of architecture.
|Snazzy Looking Georgetown With Colonial and Modern Buildings!|
Not to get off track, but the lunch/dinner we had was very good. We were recommended a pizza place that was very close to our hotel by one of the hotel clerks. The pizza they served was a lot different than the pizza I have in California where the pizza slices are cut into squares instead of triangles.
|A Close-Up View of the White House|
After dinner, we decided to go visit the National Mall in Washington D.C. Now, this isn't an actual mall but a collection of American historical sites like the Jefferson Memorial. We got close to the National Mall by taking a bus that circles around the area. On the bus, one of the D.C. residents remarked that though monuments and memorials look really close together on the map, in reality, they take quite a long time to walk from one place to the next place. This was so true as we spent the evening walking around and visiting all these memorials even though the walk was quite enjoyable.
|The Sculptor's Signature|
One place that we went to was the newly created Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It depicts a broken mountain and in the middle is a sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. On the sides of the memorial are quotes by him at different times and places. One quote that really hit me was "We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until "justice rolls down like water" and "righteousness like a mighty stream." Mr. Hilyer said that this memorial is controversial because the sculptor who made this decided to put their name at the back of the sculpture which some people say is not right because it was the sculptor's privilege not duty.
Another place that we saw and took pictures of were the World War 1 and 2 Memorials. The World War 1 Memorial was quite small and simple. But it was still a powerful testament to one of the world's first globally destructive wars.
On the other hand, the World War 2 Memorial was quite extravagant and colossal with columns of each U.S. state and territory surrounding fountains in the middle. These columns represent all the American lives that were lost in an epic struggle against the Axis powers in 1942 to fight for our freedom. In the background of the World War 2 Memorial, there was a wall full of stars that represented all the countless but precious lives that were lost in the fight for freedom. These memorials were a sobering wake up call to be grateful for the people around me such as my family and military who care for my personal well being.
|The Stars of the Past Shining for the Stars of the Future|
In conclusion, today was just the first day in my grandiose trip to Penn. Though I wasn't technically in Pennsylvania but Washington D.C., today represents and foreshadows all the new sights and experiences I will be able to be to come into contact with. If today was already so full of new attractions and sights and it was only just the first day, I can't wait for what's in store for tomorrow!