Arrival Day ~ (Latgawa 2017 by MJ A.)

MJ picture
M.J. photo by Sophie

I was laying in bed Friday night, my bags already staged and packed when my papa told me our planned 6:00 AM flight from Chicago to San Francisco was not looking good. There had been a flight cancellation, and all the seats were filled up. He said we would fly out after 7:00 PM instead. Because my papa works for United Airlines, we fly standby which means our travel is never guaranteed and always changing.

“Man, that’s a bummer,” I thought to myself as I rolled over and fell asleep. When I woke, my family was already awake.  I found out that because of the cancellation, an additional flight to SFO had been added and had almost 60 seats available. We bustled to get everything ready and left for the airport. When we pulled up, I hugged my mom and cousin goodbye and headed into O’Hare thinking about how much I would miss them. We went to bag check and checked my sleeping bag and suitcase. That’s unusual for us because standby flying means we travel light. After we made it through and were re-assembling our stuff, we watched a man and his wife getting her stuff checked by an agent. The man made a joke to the TSA employee about how they had “went through a garage sale on the way.” The TSA did not look amused. We got a drink at Starbucks and headed to the gate, which we realized was the same one we flew out of on our trip to Hawaii.

After a short wait and some Zelda, they called up Allen, Party of 2. This plane was a Boeing 777, the biggest one I have ever flown on. We were row 20, Economy Plus. The TVs on the flight were free, so I watched Sing!, Moana and two Friends episodes on the long flight. When we walked out to Gate 82 in San Francisco, we discovered it was the same one we would use for the Medford flight. Our layover was 5 hours, and we ate at a restaurant called Buena Vista where I had amazing chicken nachos. Papa’s fish was kind of greasy and disappointing but mine made up for it. We searched the nearby terminals for any sign of a headphone adapter for Papa’s phone, to no avail. I charged my 3Ds back up, and before I knew it Papa told me we had seats already assigned in First Class! The flight was super fast and smooth. We got to walk down a set of flight stairs, which I don’t remember doing before and we made it to baggage claim. While we were waiting we rented a cute, tiny silver Mitsubishi. Compared to our SUV at home, it was the size of an ant. While we waited on my luggage, I stood next to two boys who were talking about how the baggage that no one claims always comes out first while your baggage always comes out last. We got our luggage, found the rental car, and headed to our hotel. We immediately dropped our stuff, changed into PJs and fell asleep.


The Next Morning


I woke up and checked my watch to find that it was 10:01 AM. Wow, we slept late! That’s when it occurred to me that free breakfast at the hotel ended at 10:00. “Papa, Papa! Get up; we have to go downstairs now”.

We ran down in our PJ’s to find the staff about to close up. “Are you closed?” we asked.

“I’m not gonna stop you from grabbing breakfast.” YES; Free breakfast!

We exclaimed “Thank you!” as we grabbed trays, loading them up with biscuits and gravy, cereal and juice.

We hungrily sat down to eat. When we had finished, we went upstairs and got changed for the day. We talked to my mom on the phone and discussed news about how my old school was changing. We headed to Target to get snacks and a pillow where we again looked for Papa’s headphone adapter. Still no luck. Finally, as a last chance, we went to Walmart. Success! The hunt was over. When we got back to the hotel, I began writing my blog post.




Since we live in Chicago, a lot of restaurants from places on the East Coast aren’t available. One of these places is In N’ Out Burger. My papa loves In N’ Out, so we decided that on the way to camp, we would stop by. Man, was it good. After a quick stop to clean up the exploded soda and put on The Essential Billy Joel, we were on the road to Camp Latgawa. On the way out, I learned about mile markers and watched some cows and horses. Finally, after about an hour drive we were pulling into camp’s parking lot.

After a quick check in with Matt and Margie, Rob helped me to carry my stuff up to Cabin 3. I was the second one to pick a bunk, and I got the one closest to the door and window, that way if Jason tries to get me at night, I have the best chance of escape. I made my way back down the hill and met Jim, my advisor. We chatted about rock climbing for a while and then I made my way over to Nyrten, a girl my age. She was super fun to talk to and we explored the campgrounds with each other. Then, it was time to say goodbye to Papa. We hugged each other goodbye and he went to go back to the hotel. After staff introductions, we split off into our advisee groups. We ate dinner together and then it was night time. NBTSC is really cool and doesn’t enforce a bedtime. Places close at different times and you should be quieter, but we go to bed when we want. I stayed up late talking with my cabin mates until we all drifted off, thoughts of tomorrow’s adventures already popping up in our heads.