My college program is officially over. This experience has given me so many wonderful memories, skills, and personality adjustments. I am so very appreciative that I was able to do this program and meet all of the amazing people I was able to become close with while in Florida.
My last few days were quite fun and exciting but of course terribly bittersweet. My very last day in the parks, Sean Chip and I spent the entire day in the parks hitting our favorites one last time. We went to DAK at opening and rode Expedition Everest twice in a row with a 5 minute wait, once in the back and once in the front. Since it was our last day on the program, the ride operators were extremely helpful all day with letting us sit where we wanted to. We then went to ride Dinosaur and get our picture in front of the tree. I ran into Tyler Kia, my DAK photopass friend and while he was taking our picture, a coordinator started talking to us about the end of our program. He asked what our plan was for the day and we told him we were just heading out the exit to go to Studios. He then told us that was too bad because he was going to ask if we wanted to be VIP guests and ride on a float in Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade. What an amazing amazing offer, but we had to turn it down because we couldn't afford to wait all that time in DAK on our very last park day. We thanked them immensely and suffered on the tram ride back to the car.
When we got to Studios, we went straight to Tower of Terror. This was the second time I've ridden it and it is still just as nerve wracking and terrifying as it ever was, but I'm glad I was brave enough to go on it one last time. After ToT, we got something to eat then went on Rockin Roller Coaster and got to sit in the very back. It was so much fun. On the way out of Studios, we stopped and talked to some street entertainment people who were ridiculous and hilarious, and we made our way to the parking lot to stop for food on our way to Magic Kingdom.
Once in Magic Kingdom, we tried to catch a ride on Space Mountain but it was 101ed for some reason so we continued on to ride Haunted Mansion and meet Mickey and Minnie in the Judges Tent one last time. The fairies had an hour wait so we skipped them, and went back to Main Street to watch the 3:00 parade and shop for friends back home in the Emporium. After that, we left to take Chip to work to fill out last minute paper work and go home to shower and chill for a minute. We came back to Magic Kingdom to ride Haunted Mansion again and then find friends to watch Wishes with for the very last time of the program. I ran into Khristine and all of her roommates and I'm getting emotional just thinking about it all. I think I was the only person in the castle hub that wasn't crying during Wishes. The crowd was at least 90% leaving CPs and was a tear fest if I've ever seen one.
After we got home from the Magic Kingdom, I went home and finished packing and then met everyone over at Chip's apartment where I got to see Nick for once last time too! We all just hung out and talked about leaving the next morning and how awesome our programs were and who all we still had to say goodbye too. Chip and I left for a bit to go to Vicky's to say bye to her, then went back to his apartment to sleep. We didn't get to bed until 2 AM and we had to wake up at 6 AM for his flight.
After Chip left, I finished packing my car and went to Khristine's to say goodbye to her and all of her roommates. Lauren eventually showed up and I was so glad I got to say goodbye to her as well. Nick was downstairs so Lauren and I went down to say bye to him again and Robert was coming out of his apartment. Those of you that don't know me personally, don't know the situation between us but we had a big falling out about a month ago and haven't spoken since. As much as I had intended on never seeing him again, I'm glad we ran into each other just to get a bit of closure. Giving him a hello and goodbye hug made me feel a lot less angry and upset about things. It just takes the sharp edge off of the situation I think and I'm glad I was able to let go of some of those feelings. I called Sean and we woke up Ria and the two of them talked with me for a while before I got in my car to drive out of Chatham for the last time. On the way out of town, I stopped by Patterson to drop off all of our food for Taylor and Ivan and then I was on my way. I called about every family member to say I was on my way and I then started the 11 hour drive to my aunt's house in Birmingham.
The drive was partly fun and partly unbearable driving that long by myself. All it took to reenergize me was seeing the sign that said "Alabama State Border, 10 miles" and at that time, Sweet Home Alabama comes on the radio. It was the perfect epic moment. I was on the tiniest high way in the middle of nowhere, windows down, radio all the way up, singing my heart out. Ah, I loved it, especially because they sing about Birmingham AND Muscle Shoals, the two Alabama cities I'm going to.
So now, I'm in Birmingham. I'm going out to lunch with my Aunt at Olive Garden, then I'm driving to the other side of town to see the house I grew up in. I absolutely cannot wait. I want to see how different it looks than what I remember. I haven't been there in 10 years. Then I'm making the 3 hour drive to Muscle Shoals to my cousins' house for steaks and beer and a few days of relaxation. My cousin Jacob is then making the drive back to Austin with me, hopefully with a stop in Memphis to see Graceland!