Going the Distance: Lubbock to San Luis Obispo

Since Thursday I have been in Lubbock, Texas for the National ACT Professional Development Conference. I of course had a wonderful time visiting with my national officer teammates, meeting outstanding ACT members from around the country and experiencing the Lubbock culture. I was able to travel with David Jones and Jennifer Ray, meaning that gut splitting laughter was never far away. While I could write an entire blog post on many aspects of the weekend (oh wait, I did! Check out the NACT PD Conference blog HERE), this entry will focus on today’s travels and laughter, confusion and general not-knowing of the day.

We literally left San Luis Obispo at 2:30 am on Thursday morning in able to make our 5:30 am flight, which meant that the three of us got approximately one hour of sleep and discovered that, yes, we do require a minimum amount of beauty sleep. While this sounds awful, it was nothing compared to the hoops we jumped through to get home today.

Our flight out of Lubbock left at 8:38 am, meaning we needed to be at the airport around 7:00 am. We were lucky enough to avoid a cab ride and have our new friend and Lubbock native, Reba Underwood, chauffeur us to the airport. We sauntered into the terminal with our Starbucks, expecting to fly to Denver. This, however, would not be the case.

When we reached the United counter, we started towards the self check-in to print our boarding passes. We quickly received an omen that this day would not involve any casual sipping of Starbucks. The ticket counter attendant announced that if we were flying to Denver, we could not use self check-in, as our flight was delayed and we would most likely miss our connections. The next twenty minutes were full of trying to find space on full flights, threats of 11:30 pm arrival times and finally, the decision that David would still go through Denver and that Jennifer and myself would be rerouted through Houston. Of course, the Houston flight was currently boarding when this decision was made, so we were forced to run through security and yell a goodbye and safe travels to David. We boarded the flight and we were off.

Upon arrival to Houston, we were given the great honor of sitting on the tarmac for twenty minutes while we waited for a gate to open up (this always seems to happen in Houston). After a sprint to the bathroom and finding our gate, Jennifer and I grabbed some food and waited to hear from David about his flight. He had gotten into Denver and was on track to arrive in Santa Barbara two and a half hours before us, which prompted David to call our friend Leslie and bribe her to drive to the airport and pick him up. Jennifer and I were in Houston for about two hours and we were able to exchange witty and snarky text messages with David, which I believed lulled us into a false sense of security. At this point, we thought the day’s event were HILarious and that we had suffered enough for the day. If we had only known.

While boarding our flight from Houston to Los Angeles (yes, we were laying over in Los Angeles to go to Santa Barbara. I don’t walk to talk about it), Jennifer and I made another ominous choice. We gate checked our carry-on suitcases. It seemed like a great idea- no lugging our suitcases through the aisles, no lifting our surely overweight carry-ons over our heads, no trying to fit said overweight bag into overhead storage that was not designed for stuffing your life into a carry-on instead of checking a bag. Again, we had the gall to saunter onto the plane and get comfortable in our seats.

When we arrived in Los Angeles, things again shifted. David had sent us a text message during the flight to tell us that his Los Angeles to Santa Barbara flight had been delayed and that he was still sitting in LAX. Somehow, the decision was made that Jennifer and I should try to get on David’s flight and make it home a few hours earlier. While we walked to the gate, David did some footwork and got in good with the gate attendant and was able to secure us spots on the standby list when we arrived. While we were anxiously waiting to see if we got onto the flight, we had another revelation: our bags would most likely not be making this flight with us; rather, they would take their sweet time and get to Santa Barbara when they were supposed to. Jennifer and I start hoping we didn’t make the flight, just to help keep things simple. Of course, we were immediately called to board the flight and head to Santa Barbara.

Shortly after boarding, it was discovered that Leslie and her roommates, Kate and Michelle, had already departed for Santa Barbara to pick up David. Against all odds, the three of us had made it onto the same flight, yet David had an entire search party coming to get him. It is worth noting that if David had not called Leslie for a ride and had chose to wait for Jennifer and I at the airport, there is no way we would have all been on the same flight. Life just doesn’t work like that.

During our forty minute flight (20 minutes spent in the air. So worth it.), Jennifer and I were holding out for a miracle and hoping to see our luggage at baggage claim when landed. Of  course, they were not there. David went outside to wait for his posse while Jennifer and I dealt with the baggage issues (the suitcases are supposed to be delivered to my house tonight, but I have decided against holding my breath). We walked outside and were surprised (really, how are we still able to be surprised at this point in the journey?) to see David still waiting for Leslie, Kate and Michelle. Apparently, they had gotten lost and had no idea where they were. When they did arrive, they parked in the crosswalk and were subsequently reprimanded by the traffic attendant.

As David drove away with the girls, Jennifer and I headed towards long term parking, more than ready to get the hour and a half drive over with. Again, a realization. Following David’s unsound guidance, Jennifer had not left the parking time ticket in the car and had instead, packed it into her suitcase. The suitcase currently sitting somewhere at LAX. Yes, we had no way of proving how long we had been in the parking lot.

This was the first point of the day when I felt like I might have an aneurism (I bet those of you who know me well assumed I had experienced several breakdowns by this point, huh? Well you thought wrong. I kept my cool all day. Clearly I am becoming a seasoned traveler. My mom told me I should now apply for the Amazing Race). Luckily, there was someone working at the gate, though it took a few minutes for him to understand the situation. After filling out the appropriate paperwork and convincing the man that, no, we did not owe $73 like the computer was supposedly telling him, we were finally able to hit the road and avoid my imminent breakdown.

As we got on the freeway, Jennifer actually had the nerve to say “I wonder what else will go wrong today?” I literally spent the rest of the drive to San Luis Obispo bracing myself for a tire blowout or an empty gas tank. But, all three of us are safe in our homes in San Luis Obispo. It is 7:54 pm and I have yet to hear from United about my baggage, but I don’t really care. I’ve eaten dinner, I’m going to watch Amazing Race soon to relive my glory from today and plan to go to bed at an extremely uncool hour. All this seems impossible, ridiculous and like a little too much trouble, but I wouldn’t have traded this weekend in Lubbock for anything, as sappy as it sounds! Even with all the stress, I found myself laughing at all of it. There was nothing I could do about it and I could feel this blog writing itself, so I sat back and found the humor in the entire situation. That, with a little snark and wit, made for a less woeful experience.

 

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Happy FFA Week!

This week has always been my favorite part of February, even after high school. In high school it was a week to have brand new tractors on campus, show off to the non-ag students on campus and celebrate everything FFA. Now, it is a time for me to remember everything the FFA organization did for me and everything it continues to do for countless students across the country.

What is FFA you ask? The National FFA Organization (Future Farmers of America) is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Yes, it is more than just sows and plows, cows and crops. FFA strives to develop every single one of its members leadership and career skills to help them become successful in the agriculture industry. It truly is a remarkable organization.

Without FFA,  I would not have gained my passion for agriculture and therefore would not be where I am today. FFA pushed me to do more than I thought possible and helped me to discover the leadership skills I possess. FFA’s foundation is a network of high school agriculture teachers across the country. These teachers not only teach high school courses all day, but spend quality time with their students to help them discover where their passion lies and how they can best succeed. I owe much of my success to Mr. Delsol, Mr. Tanaka, Mr. Dyer and Mrs. Giguere, as well as the student teachers I had during high school (Mr. Edwards, Mr. Meade, Mr. Rooney and Mrs. Meade). These individuals go above and beyond the expectations of high school teachers and make leaders.

When I reminisce about high school, I reminisce about FFA. I remember the hours spent practicing public speaking, judging vegetables, raising market animals for the county fair, organizing chapter meetings and traveling literally thousands of miles by ag department vehicles, busses and planes to speaking contests, field days and conferences. Those long hours in the classroom, on the road and across the country is how I developed my passion for agriculture and everyone involved with it. Four years in FFA inspired a lifetime of dedication, advocacy and love. While I remember my time in the FFA often, there is no better time to share my memories than during National FFA Week. If you were involved in FFA, take this week to think about how FFA affected your life. Not involved with FFA? Use this week to learn more about an organization that is positively effecting student’s lives every day.

Learn more about the National FFA Organization at www.ffa.org or www.calaged.org.

February 19, 2012

For those of you counting with me, 111 days until graduation.

I had another moment last night. I’m sure you’re all getting tired of me writing about my “moments” (I know I’m getting a little tired of having them), but I had a MOMENT last night.

My vast amount of homework this weekend kept me from going home with one of my roommates, meaning I have been alone in the house a lot, resenting my course load. While Facebook chatting with said roommate last night, I made a statement that made me take a step back and evaluate if I meant it or not. Here is the conversation:

Roommate:  yea. i spent all day on my stupid paper and i still have soo much to do!

Me: i have to do cover letters tomorrow, extra credit for my food science class, chapter 3 of my senior project, possibly some transcription for my senior project, study for my midterm and work on the open house magazine. i don’t understand why i can’t have a relaxing weekend

Roommate: im sick of school work

Me: i am literally ready for the real world. bring on the benefits, taxes and bills. I’m ready for a saturday off.

Now, grammar issues aside, I made a pretty big statement there. A statement that would probably anger many of you in the workforce who long for the college days. Don’t fret, I have loved every minute of college and know I will miss it the day after I graduate, but there was truth in my outlandish statement. Especially about wanting a Saturday off.

Part of this is me living in a dreamworld where work only exists Monday-Friday, 9-5. Even now I know that isn’t usually the case. But I can dream, right? I am so burned out on school that I don’t understand how some of my friends are planning on going to grad school right away. If I thought I had another two years of paper writing and test taking coming right up, I’d probably scream. And I like school. A lot. I’m a nerd and proud. But I think I really am ready to enter the real world, support myself (however feebly) and maybe have  a weekend off once in a while.

Is that too much to ask?