This morning was understandably difficult. I woke up an hour earlier than I'd set my alarm for because of all the hustle and bustle around my suite. Sophie, my suitemate, had left the day before, so we were already one short. Devina was already out of the room by the time I got moving, because she left to get breakfast with some of her friends with early departure schedules. Maria was still packing and while we both got dressed and finished stuffing our suitcases it was pretty silent. Eventually, Claire popped her head into the room and came to sit with Maria and I at around 9. Then my friend (who is also named Maria) from class came all the way from her dorm to see me off. Maria learned that Maria speaks Spanish (really I don't need to specify which Maria) so then Claire and I witnessed the fastest fast-friend moment to ever occur as they went off dramatically in Spanish. At 10, Simon faithfully texted me to meet him downstairs, so I said goodbye to the Marias and Claire went down with me. She also bid Simon farewell, and then it was my turn. Saying goodbye is always difficult, and this was a pretty tear-jerking moment for both of us. Later I asked Simon if he cried when he said goodbye to any of his suite-mates. He did not. But that's okay.
For brunch, the Columbia cohort had one last meal together in Central Park, at the Boathouse, a very nice lakeside restaurant. Emily and I shared our entrées - savory quiche lorraine and sweet maple waffles - and they were both delicious. The restaurant even gave us little baskets of banana bread while we waited for our dishes - how cute! Our last walk through Central Park was a nice one. We stopped for music, to look at the scenery, take photos in front of fountains and really just enjoy New York City.
We went to the airport promptly afterwards, and made good time. The journey through check-in and past security was probably my least crowded airport experience to date. We weren't waiting too terribly long to get on the plane either, which was nice and smooth. Once on the plane, however, was a different story. Our pilot excitedly urged the passengers to take their seats because some opportunity to take off immediately and arrive an hour early or something arose and the fast everyone sat down the faster we could taxi to the runway. Somehow, however, we ended up stuck in a line of planes until the flight attendant announced that we'd actually been rerouted through Canada and needed to go get 500 more pounds of fuel. Okay. It was no big deal though because we were up in the air eventually, and I got to sit with Emily and Simon. We watched a movie, then Emily slept, then Emily woke up, and I slept, then Simon and I went through all of the photos he'd taken on the trip (which are all incredible, I saw that he posted some of the edited ones). Sleeping on planes is not the business, by the way.
At bag check we all reunited with our parents/families once again and said our farewells to one another. As sad as it was to say goodbye to our friends from Columbia, it's a whole 'nother story concerning our own cohort. We've been through so much together and today was my last day with them. At least I'll get to see Emily and Simon around school for another year, but I'll truly miss our daily Columbia routine. To make things worse, Simon just now texted me, like he always did for the last 3 weeks - "breakfast at 9?"