Leaving, finally... maybe!

Trip Start Jan 12, 2008
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of United States  , New York
Saturday, January 12, 2008

My last day in the U.S. until the fall, at earliest, and I ventured into NYC for one last crazy night of debauchery with good friends and great oldies!  Had a quality group dinner at Totonno's (26th and 2nd Ave), which boasts better pizza than God himself can make, and then hit up Ginger Man (36th b/w Madison and 5th) for drinks.   I was pleasantly surprised at how many people showed up and despite my best efforts, I was rarely without at least 2 drinks in my hands.  Thanks to everyone who made it out to see me on my way!  Chimay is a dangerous drink and I look forward to shaking hands with the monks in Belguim who created it!  I get a going away gift from a friend:  A Ben Sherman shirt that appears to be the ugliest thing I've ever seen, however, oddly enough it looks kinda snazzy once I put it on...
Side note: all my drinks are free thanks to my wonderful friends and I actually wind up walking out with more money than I walked in with after collecting on a bet I made in 2006 that I just won when a friend got engaged before the over/under date of Valentine's Day 2008!

I sleep for a few hours before grabbing a bacon, egg and cheese and head to Penn Station feeling like everything is a few inches further away than it really is.  Waiting for the track # to be announced I spot 2 girls who are undoubtedly doing the walk of shame and going to town on some food like a fat kid attacks cake.  Naturally, I sit down next to them and a few nods is all it takes to understand that we are all just happy to be there!  The two girls are shockingly hilarious, for Jersey girls (no offense, obviously), and wind up keeping me entertained all the way to New Brunswick where they get off to finish their final year at Rutgers.  The guy sitting next to us is wearing a full plaid suit, scarf and hat with a long gray beard to "match" and I consider offering him my new shirt which would have matched his outfit amazingly.   I decide this would be rude and focus on what I need to do to leave the country in a few hours.

Go over my taxes with my Father, roll around on the kitchen floor with Buddy one last time, and finish packing just in the nick of time after spending entirely too long notifying credit cards and banks of my impending trip.  Can't forget to run back inside to give Buddy one last kiss and pat on the head!  In the car to the airport I realize that I'm more tired than I had previously thought and I start to get really nervous that I'm missing something.  I think to myself that I will need to get used to this feeling as it will probably be a staple of my life while I travel. 

Say good bye to my parents:( and have a weird feeling in my stomach but ignore it, no turning back now!  By the time I get to the security check in, my sister points out that I've actually broken out in hives!!!  Yeah, me with hives!  It's never happened to me before and I think to myself that maybe I've never really been nervous before?  I don't like it one bit.  Lucky for me, Julia is there to my rescue and hands me some Benadryl that clears it all up by the time we take off.  Still, I don't think I've ever felt that vulnerable before and I barely let out a laugh when my Mom jokes that she can't wait to see me on my wedding day!

In line for check in I met Michelle Snow from the Houston Comets who is on her way to Tel Aviv for 3 months to train.  She says she is 6'4" but is clearly taller than me.  She's really nice and I consider asking her out for after my trip but chicken out (and again as I chat to her while we wait for our bags in Tel Aviv).  Promise myself that I won't do that again if I spot her in Tel Aviv!  On the plane I slip on my eye mask and check out before we take off, sweet dreams.

I wake up somewhere over Italy and everyone around me looks dead.  I've been out for a solid 8 hours and feel much better.  My nerves have calmed down and I feel like myself again.  Time to start the best experience of my life, bring it on!
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