Monday, June 16, 2014

Columbia’s Departure Day

There’s a game we play—actually it’s just me that plays this game—where we/I try to guess who the most responsible person might be.  That is, who can I count on to show up first (chaperones can’t play—although they ought to be included)?

For this, our first Departure Day of the season, it was Carla Martinez.  Carla who?  Carla’s with the Cornell cohort.  Today we pulled double duty and shipped off the Columbia cohort at the same time as the Cornell cohort.  Even though Carla is a Cornellian, she takes the top prize for both cohorts.

Everyone showed up on time—sort of—and we got on with the business of checking IDs and med cards (just to be sure they didn’t leave them on the kitchen table), weighing the luggage, affixing luggage tags, giving a pep talk and then taking the obligatory group photos.

And all through it all we shivered—a lot.
Justin wanted to know if I could PhotoShop out the shivering
We’ve had Departure Days where perspiration ran down my face at 4 AM and then we had one time where I had to set up canopies because it rained on us.  But this is the first time I ever wore a jacket.

It’s not that it was all that cold—just 55º—but there was enough of a wind that it seemed to slice right through us.

Some of our cohort members had pre-reading to do before they departed and, as might be expected, heavy reading didn’t sit well with being out of school.  As an incentive, I warned them that they would be given a quiz before boarding.  Cornell’s Hotel Management aced their quiz, Cornell’s Freedom & Justice did okay, Columbia’s Con-Law struggled and Columbia’s Econ cohort blew us away with their knowledge of the material.  They all did well enough to warrant a ride to the airport.
Another game that is played is the weighing of the luggage.  Everyone seems to have their own scales at home so we have a little guessing game about how heavy the bags are when weighed with something other than a truck scale.  The all time record for the lightest bag stands at 16.3 pounds but today we had a record on the other end of the scale with Kendal bringing a 57 pound bag (the goal is 42 pounds).  Feverishly working with her parents to shuffle her ‘stuff’ she got it down to 52 pounds but that was still a far cry from being acceptable.  Considering that this would have been a $50 overweight surcharge for each leg of the flight, she still needed to get things down.  Even worse than paying several hundred dollars for being too heavy, the Columbia cohort was going to take a couple of trains where their weight restrictions will not even allow a bag weighing more than 50 pounds.

Coming to the rescue was Justin who offered Kendal space in his bag so she could still bring what she needed.  Kudos to Justin for stepping up.

Because we had two cohorts traveling to the airport together, we wanted to avoid the mishap of last year where one of the bags was left at the wrong terminal.  This year we tied brightly colored ribbons on the bags so they were color coded.

Once we had concluded the business at hand, we loaded up the bus with a gazillion pounds of luggage and the two cohorts boarded the roasty toasty bus.  As the parents and I stood on the curb waiting for the bus to depart, every last one of us had thoughts about how warm our own cars would be.

At 3:52 AM the bus headed to SFO and at 3:52 and a couple of seconds we were all enjoying the warmth of our own cars.  All is well with the world.


  1. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to take an early-morning flight to the East Coast to take classes!

  2. Just trying to do a good service :)