Day 1&2 Of My Trip To The IAHP

I can’t believe I haven’t written yet about my trip to Philadelphia. To say it was life-changing would be a major understatement. I guess it’s taken me so long to write because all of the wealth of information was so overwhelming to process. I don’t mean overwhelming in a way that is bad just like I said so much to process. Honestly I tried to write sooner, but couldn’t organize my thoughts. So finally last night I sat with my phone and dictated the post, it was actually easier to talk about it then to try and write it.

My trip started with a little glitch on Friday night. I logged into my computer to check in to the plane like you can do 24 hours before your flight. For some reason it wouldn’t let me login. I spent over an hour on hold waiting for answers from Expedia. Then I was told it was all fixed, wait 10 minutes and I would be able to check in. Well of course it wasn’t all fixed, I waited the 10 minutes and try to check in and sure enough I wasn’t able to. I called back and the next personnel I spoke to told me that I would have to arrive to the airport three hours instead of two hours early to fix any problems they were having. Why this person could tell me in 20 short minutes when the other person I spoke to took over an hour to give me the wrong information. We had been invited to my friends for supper to make my last night home easier. I landed up sending Hubby and Z there without me because this was taking so long, and I joined them when I was done.

That night I couldn’t sleep I was so excited I landed up spending most of the night on the phone with my friend in the US. I think I may have gotten three hours sleep that night but I might just be being generous.

The next morning I arrive three hours early for my flight just as recommended by Expedia. Of course the problem was fixed within five minutes and I probably could’ve slept an extra hour. Regardless I went through security. I went through my bags and put all my liquids in the ziplock bags provided and stood in line. Once I was through I grabbed a smoothie and sat down at my terminal gate and waited. I chatted with my mom and with hubby on my phone. Then it was time to board.

Everything was good even though I was quite nervous for my flight. But once we got in the air I felt a lot better. I was quite lucky that the flight was not sold out and there was a seat between me and the next person. I dozed off after takeoff only to be awoken by a child crying. I almost jumped out of my skin. I was still in mom mode and couldn’t believe I would ever allow myself to fall asleep in a public place when I had Z with me. Then I came to reality, not my kid. The only person I was responsible for on this trip was me.

We went from Winnipeg to Montreal. When we arrived in Montreal, off I went to find my next gate. I had a 2 hour and 20 minute or so layover but I didn’t want to get caught up in customs, so I went straight to security. That landed up being a breeze. I chatted to the guard about Shakeology and then made my way through. Thing was I was a bit disappointed with the food selection. I really wanted to grab lunch yet there was nothing that caught my interest. So I settled for a chocolate chip muffin. I went and sat down and called my mom up to chat as I unwrapped my muffin. The dare thing was stale. I tried to eat it but it was too far gone. So once again I wandered around looking for something else. I landed up settling for a over priced small can of Pringles.

Then it was time to travel from Montreal to Philadelphia. I handed the flight attendant my ticket and she let me start boarding the plane. As I was walking through the tunnel towards the plane entrance a man asked me to leave my carry on bag in this cargo elevator thing. I told him as I clenched on to my bag that this was my carry on. The people behind me just passed him their bags. “Don’t worry, when you get off the plane it will be waiting at the exit for you. This plane is small and there is no room in the overhead compartments for a full size carry on bag.” Small plane?? How small is this plane? I thought as I boarded the American Eagle. I looked around at the older style, very small plane and thought… “I’m going to die…”

I found my seat near the back of the flight. Ok this is good. They say the people in the back of a plane have a better chance of surviving a crash… Right? I pulled out my book from my backpack, stuck the bag in the tiny overhead compartment and sat in my seat. Maybe this flight wouldn’t be full and I’d land up sitting by myself. I hadn’t even finished this thought when the a younger guy came and sat down next time me as he put his earphones in. I slept for the first part of the flight, still tired from being up all night. I woke up just before the flight attendant came with the drinks and tiny pretzels. I was worried I had been snoring or drooling or something embarrassing while the person sitting next to me stated in disgust. Luckily when I looked over he was fast a sleep and slept the whole flight.

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The only other problem I had was once I landed in Philadelphia. My license was in two parts because it was my renewal year and I required a new photograph just before I left for my trip. But because my license was into pieces Alamo refused to rent me the car I had already paid for. I started to freak out. I’m standing in the fifth largest city in the United States without transportation. Someone there told me that another car place Avis would rent me a car with a two-piece license. Of course it cost me more than double what I paid for this original car however I was just glad to have a car.

By this point I was tired and hungry and ready to head to my host home. Instead of renting a hotel room, I was lucky enough to be accepted as a guest in a program called “Hosts for Hospitals”.  I had planned on stopping to eat on the way there however driving is definitely more different in Philadelphia than it is in Winnipeg. I found the house and it just so happens the couple was leaving for their anniversary dinner. So I was able to meet them before they left. I cannot express enough what a lovely family this was. And the house that I stayed in was beautiful. I had asked them where I could grab some food locally. Jenn recommend I’ll look on this particular website that has a bunch of restaurants that are available to order from and they would deliver directly to the house. Well this was definitely the more expensive option. But I was tired, it was dark and the streets were all winding and curvy. I just felt like I should probably just kind of rest and get started the next morning and learn the area.

So I ordered my food and while I waited I chatted with the babysitter Denise. She was such a nice, kind woman. It was amazing to hear about her, her children and her grandchildren. I felt like I had a lot in common with her as her grandson also has autism. When my food arrived I was very pleased, it was so fresh and my burger and fries were not greasy at all. So even though it cost me an arm and a leg it was not a disappointment.

The next morning I got up early and headed over to get some food essentials. I was so excited when I heard they had Wholefoods stores out there. I walked into that store and it was better then I could have imagined. I wish when Wes was gluten and dairy free we would have had these options. Yes it was a bit pricey compared to the average grocery store, but I felt it was worth it for what you got. Now at home in longing for the variety that why had at Wholefoods. I know our time utilizing the farmers market is coming to an end for the session as it gets colder.

Afterward I killed some time at Target while I waited for my friend and her son to come in from Maryland. I was able to find some great things for the kids. Then I drove down the street and met them at Buffalo Wild Wings. It’s crazy I’ve “known” Summer for 10-11 years and this is the first time I’ve ever met her in person. We met years ago when we were young moms on an online website called ‘Opendiary’. I’ve watched her oldest son grow up on that site and now Facebook. It was awesome to meet them and hangout. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture with them.

Then it was time for me to drive to the IAHP for registration. I pulled up to entrance of the campus. I wasn’t sure where to go. I pulled up to a circular driveway, as I did another car pulled up and dropped off a man. I went to the building and no one was there. So I hopped back into my car and offered the other man who was there for the course a ride to the next building. I jokingly said “If you are not planning on jumping me or anything you can catch a ride with me.” He started trying to show me his passport to prove he was who he said he was. I told him that wasn’t necessary, I was just joking.

img_4044We pulled up to the next building and when we walking in we heard talking on the second floor. We went upstairs and that is where we got to meet Harriet the registrar. We received our binder, that included the schedule for the week, a letter outlining the rules of the auditorium, statement of goals and objectives, as well as the booklets that explains all the programs available through the IAHP regarding brain injured children. We were show the auditorium and they explained the bell system and when we should arrive the next day for class.

It was amazing to be there, on that campus. It was somewheres I wanted to go for years. I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice, but there was no turning back. I was so excited to come back the next day.

I went to my car and google mapped the closest Target. I picked up post its and highlighters and a few snacks to keep in the car. I did some more shopping, mostly to kill some time, checked out a few Walmarts and a Kmart, then I went back to the house.

I got myself ready for the next day, showered, read every paper that was given to me at registration, called home to check on everyone… But after I just lied there with my eyes open. I needed to sleep, I had just read that we were looking at 11-12hour days. My anxiety was through the roof. Finally I made sure my alarm was set, and a back up alarm was set and then I took half a clorazapram. After watching a bit of YouTube I drifted off to sleep.

This trip will have to be written in separate entries. This week was so packed, it’s impossible for me to write about it in one post. Well I guess it’s possible, but it would be desperately long.

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