After making it to the DCI Airport safely with all of my luggage,
After successfully navigating through security,
After finding the correct terminal and gate a couple of hours early,
and Capitol Building and Library of Congress through the airport windows,
After sitting to relax and read,
Suddenly, I received a phone alert that my flight would depart a different gate in a different terminal.
After looking at the latest information on the electronic board,
After discovering the message I received was old and had already been changed again,
After rushing to catch a bus to the new gate,
After watching the door to the airplane close,
I discovered I had missed my first flight.
An hour later, my name was called.
Finally, I was on my way to Dallas...
Where I would arrive after my connecting flight took off.
I found myself outside of TSA after hours,
Stuck outside of security, in a cold, international ticketing area until the next morning,
With a view of the parking garage,
With a scarce amount of multicultural passengers,
All awaiting the opening of TSA at 4am,
I refused to sleep.
After charging my dead phone in an out-of-the-way outlet,
Pacing the floor to finish a book about George Washington,
And then pacing the length of the lobby,
Finally following a new "buddy" from Puerto Rico outside to find warmth,
Listening to his stories about the aftermath of a hurricane, an emergency landing in Miami, and a popped tire,
The clock finally approached four.
After TSA agents started arriving for business,
After finally getting in line to be scanned back
into the airport,
After finally locating my terminal
for another standby flight,
After seeing my waiting area taped off
for carpet cleaning,
After stumbling around from a lack of sleep,
After waiting for McDonald's to open for breakfast,
After eating a McMuffin
and scarfing down a hash brown,
My name was called for the flight,
I was finally on my way to Oklahoma City.
After being picked up and taken to my parents' house,
After a much needed and deserved shower,
I finally slept for two hours before driving four more hours to home.
The entire Mount Vernon experience officially came to a close,
With memories quite fresh and ideas flooding my mind,
With so much to talk about and so many photographs to look at,
With four professional development sessions to prevent, twice, over the next two days,
And just a few days before the beginning of a new school year,
Where Mount Vernon would play a central role.
What a return adventure!