Day 1: Arriving

Today was my first REU day (technically). I woke up, told my parents to drive me to the airport, checked in my bags (one was really light since it only had a laptop and I had to take it out since it couldn’t be checked in). I had to a little trouble at security since I forgot to pack my razor in my check-in bags (this is why you don’t pack late, kids). I helped the TSA agent find it and told him to throw the blades away. I got to my terminal and it was delayed, which was actually a good thing. It turns out that you’re supposed to show up at least ten minutes before the plane leaves, otherwise they don’t let you in. If that flight wasn’t delayed, I would have shown up late. It’s times like these that remind me that someone is watching over me. I boarded upon my plane to Chicago where I watched The Founder. It’s about the guy who made McDonald’s the huge company it is today. I only watched half of it, but I like the half I saw. Also, I saw this beautiful lake as I headed into Chicago!!!

Beautiful blue lake

Must be nice for these people to live next to the water.

I should mention that this plane ride was bumpy. Like, really bumpy. I got motion sick and I’m not afraid to admit that I threw up. Luckily, the girl next to me gave me this mini-toothbrush. I don’t know what it is or how the technology behind it works, but it actually leaves your mouth with a minty feeling. She also gave me some pills which I assumed stopped motion sickness (that’s what she told me. I don’t normally take pills from strangers, but I didn’t care at that point). We finally landed in Chicago and I just thanked God that part of my flight was over. I asked one of the flight attendants where I was supposed to throw away my bag since the instructions (yes, vomit bags have instructions on them) said not to flush them in the toilet, but instead put them in the proper waste receptacle. He asked if I used it, then asked if I threw up, which really has me wondering what else he thought I did with it. Anyways, he told me to set it down on one of the seats (everybody was leaving at this point). I actually felt bad because that meant someone had to throw away somebody’s used bag, and I assume they don’t get paid enough for those tasks. Anyways, I thanked the stranger again and went to claim my baggage. Fun fact; you don’t claim luggage at every stop! Another fun fact; this is my first flight alone, which explains why I did so poorly. Anyways, I was told my luggage would be sent directly to Des Moines. They also told me which gate to head to, which was great since I thought I would go to another terminal! Again, somebody was watching over. Anyways, I had to go back through security, which slowed me down because of the razor (and the TSA agent didn’t let me point out where it was), which caused me to race towards my terminal. I was actually the last passenger to board and I know this because as soon as I got to the gate, they called me by name. I was hot and sweaty, and it didn’t help that the plane was super hot. They turned off the AC because of inspection. I actually fell asleep during this flight, so it wasn’t long before I was in Iowa. I went to the baggage claim area when I realized I didn’t see my mentor. I called him and he said he would arrive in a blue collared golf shirt. We met, along with my lab partner, and ate at a deli named Parmer’s. I’ve never gone to one before, and I liked it. The food was good and my mentor even picked up the tab!

Delicious roast beef sandwich

I don’t know if I was homesick, but Des Moines felt very much like Tulsa. If you’re curious, there’s a street in Tulsa with a Hideaway’s Pizza and Andolini’s Pizza; the street where the deli was located felt exactly like that street. My mentor said he would often come to Des Moines to run errands, which reminds of a town outside Tulsa named Claremore. It’s also a college town and it’s very common for people to commute to Tulsa. Sorry for bringing up my hometown when nobody reading this will understand what I mean. I don’t care, my heritage is important to me and I refuse to dismiss it. Anyways, I moved in and my roommates were pretty chillax. My brother called and I found out I took my car keys! I really wished I hadn’t taken it, but I guess it’s too late. Also, we went to a restaurant named Wallaby’s. I had a bacon cheeseburger and I actually thought there was a perfume bottle on the table! It was the salt and pepper shaker. Actually, I thought it was full of cumin.I don’t know, everything was new to me.

Seriously! Does this not look like perfume/cumin?

At least my burger was delicious

I meet my other mentor and the program coordinator. They all introduced themselves by their first name and I have to say, that is really weird. I mean, the mentors are professors with PhDs and they didn’t call themselves doctors! I once called my professor “professor” and he told me not to do that. Honestly, I’m still not sure what to call them and I was too afraid to ask again at that point. Also, I found out that the whole point of this program is to get me into graduate school. I’ll be honest, graduate school is not my top priority. Honestly, my current plan is to get my bachelor’s in computer science, move to New York, then get a job as a programmer. I thought about graduate school, but I am just so uncertain about it. Luckily, it was explained that this program would tell us if we want to go to graduate school. My professor at my school tells me I could get into the world of finance and use machine learning to pick stocks. I gave up on that dream once I graduated high school, but I’m starting to get excited of being a hotshot stockbroker on Wall Street! Anyways, this program will help me decide what to do. After eating, we went to Walmart where I made bought all of my stuff like a real adult. I’m kidding, I had to call my girlfriend and she told me what to buy. I bought everything and I told the cashier this was my first time buying stuff alone. We laughed because she was correct in assuming my mom bought everything. I went home and took everything in one trip! I made a heck of a racket as a went up the stairs, but I didn’t get caught. I put some stuff away, then went to sleep.

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