My name is Ariel, I'm almost 21, and I have never ridden on a plane before.
Until today, that is.
I feel like I've passed an epoch in my life in some ways. I have now experienced an aspect of our culture that I have never been able to relate to before: the security hassles (no one told me that you had to put your laptop in a separate bin, so they put all my stuff through again), the seemingly endless intricacies of an international airport (what do all these numbers mean??), the moving sidewalks (so fun!), finding your gate, boarding, etc. When the stewardess came around with snacks, I had to get the peanuts--just to make the first-time experience complete, ya know?
As we were taking off in the airplane (with my professor and fellow student watching me curiously to see how I would react) I marveled at what a miracle flight is. This metal machine, weighing several tons, actually was going to fly us through the air for several hundred miles and get us to our destination in a fraction of the time it would take by car. The flight was uneventful, though the changes in pressure took a little bit of getting used to. I still don't feel like I'm in Arizona, because when my family travels, we drive, and so I feel like I haven't spent enough travel time to get here. And yet here I am. As I took in the yellow Arizona sunset from the window of our rental car, it all seemed rather surreal.
We were all starving when we finally got to our hotel, so someone suggested we go out to eat. My fellow student, Kristen, just finished a field study in India this summer, so I suggested we go out for Indian food. (Note: I have never had Indian food before in my life.)
"Yeah, that sounds great! Let's go!"
So we went. On my suggestion. And while there was a little too much cilantro for my taste in some of the dishes we ordered, it was an excellent culinary adventure, and I got very full. I personally ordered the sag (spinach) shrimp, which I loved. Of course, I don't think I've ever met a shrimp I didn't like. We finished the night off with a quick jaunt to the Coldstone across the street from our hotel (which is rather posh, by the way).
It seems appropriate that my first flight was out to the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, which is all about going further and reaching higher in education. I am so excited to explore the city and participate in this conference. In some ways I feel like I'm standing on another edge, ready to take the steps to take my education and my life to the next level. When I fully grasped the idea of taking control of my own learning and making my education what I wanted it to be, a whole world of possibilities opened before my view. I can't wait to step into the future.
Photo credit: bobthemtnbiker on flickr