Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Our layover is in the Phillipines." DC Day 1

After months and weeks of anticipation it was finally time for the 8th grade field trip to Washington DC. I went to sleep at 6:30 pm on Friday night and slept on and off until 1:30 am when I had to wake up. Kendall, Emma, Linnea and I arrived at the Indianapolis Airport at 3 am to meet up with Mr. Hodgin and the rest of group Vader. The 24 of us were the first flight out of Indy.

Milly spotted a familiar face as we were walking through security-- MATT ESPINOSA! Vine is a video social media app and Matt is Vine famous with over 2 million followers. Our girls SCREAMED and YELLED at this boy and attempted to take selfies with him in the background while we walked through security.

Much to their delight, Matt was in our same terminal and the girls got to all take pictures with him. I spoke with his Dad and Matt for a little while and they were both super nice. Matt is just a sophomore and has been Vine-famous for about 5 months. All sorts of people are trying to get him to sign contracts and endorsements but they're trying to handle it all well. He was just a normal, really nice kid.

Our girls all posted pics with Matt on Instagram so as soon as the rest of the girls from our trip and the other two Junior High's trips arrived to the airport they all searched for Matt too. I was incredibly impressed with how he handled meeting literally hundreds of girl with a smile on his face at 4 am.

Then the unthinkable happened. Our flight should have departed at 5:10 am. They didn't have a flight officer so our plane was delayed and then cancelled. The next available option was for us to flight out to Philadelphia late that afternoon at 5:40 pm. We moved all the kids to gate B 13 away from all of the other passengers to break the news. We would be waiting in the airport for over 10 hours.

We were disappointed, frustrated and annoyed of course-- but we were going to make the best of it. If we were stuck in the airport all day long I was thankful that these were the kids I would be sharing the experience with. I finally got some Starbucks with the girls at about 6 and it immediately made me start feeling better about the situation.

Our boys did some yoga on the moving escalators. We watched the sun rise outside. B 13 was our home and our playground all day long. The rest of airport was surprisingly empty for most of the day.

The kids played tag and had leap frog races. They found out their "real laugh" and made Clarence giggle. We attempted Mafia but didn't even finish one round. I taught the kids the Perfect Match game and they came up with two new perfect couples. These kids have an insane amount of energy and the shortest attention span.

We attempted to make a human pyramid and kept collapsing before it was fully formed. But we had 10 hours so we just kept trying until we finally nailed it.

The boys and girls both did a team table sit-- you use your abs to lift up your torso and your knees support the next person's head.

We had some massage and roller coaster trains on the moving sidewalk.

After an intense group karaoke session the kids took their routine to the moving sidewalk as they belted out "We are the world! We are the children!" through out the airport.

We spread out for lunch at about 10:30 and had a picnic in B 13. A few of the boys drank 4 or 5 milkshakes each through out the afternoon.

The kids were all exhausted, we'd been up forever and most of them only slept a few hours the night before. They had a few times when they all crashed and cuddled, they were just so tired.

About an hour before our flight we moved from our home B 13 over to B 6 to wait some more.

As if our flight change in the morning wasn't enough, we had more craziness strike. Our flight to Philly was delayed and it was feared that it would be cancelled or we would miss our connection and be stranded. We almost switched to a different flight that would leave at 8 pm and finally get us to DC through Charlotte by midnight.

But then we discovered that our connecting flight in Philly was also delayed so we might make it. We were on the phone with World Strides (our tour company) all day trying to figure out our best option. We took the Philly flight, crossed our fingers for our connection and World Strides sent a bus to Philly just in case we would need to travel by ground the rest of the way.

Our plane made it Philly and we booked it through the airport, our long line of 22 kids in matching yellow bandannas, to get to the correct connecting gate. Our plane wasn't there yet... but it still hadn't left the airport it was coming from. It kept getting delayed and we didn't know when it would arrive. So we decided to go with the bus, our back-up option.

We took all of our luggage outside to the Charter Bus pick up spot. We got word that our bus was at the airport and it just had to find us.

After 30 minutes the bus still wasn't there and we were freezing so we went inside to wait. Grant and Nick showed me their cool planking trick and you'd have thought it was the coolest thing we had done all day long.

Everyone wanted to join the moving walkway planking party. Eventually we figured out that the bus had circled the airport multiple times without finding us and was still waiting at another entrance. Rather than waiting longer we packed up and walked back through the airport to find it ourselves.

Our flight had landed at 7:40 and we finally got on the bus at 9:00. We'd been traveling for 18 hours at this point and now we just had to get to DC.

Finally at 11:40 pm we arrived at the hotel and went inside to find pizza, drinks and cookies awaiting us. The kids were starving and exhausted so they took whole pizzas up to their rooms to eat while they got ready for bed.

We might have missed out on a day of touring in DC but this was certainly a day we will never forget. If going through adversity brings people together than you could say that group Vader was now as close as you could be. Everyone passed out as soon as they got to bed, ready for the DC part of the adventure to begin the next morning.

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