I remember everyone's faces as we, the ILC girls, got onto the shuttle bus that heads to the airport. Every single one was now familiar as we waved goodbye and teared up. It's crazy how you begin to relate a person to their life story and pretty soon they are more than just a stranger that lived in the same building as you did; they have become someone important to you, someone who you have shared amazing experiences with.
The first week we spent away from California was impressive already-- We spent every single day at a new college (they were all mind blowing). Then the second week came and we all got ready to attend our all-girls class. The day before we started, I was a bit anxious seeing that the class was comprised of all females (and strong ones at that). Who would have expected that this would be the best class I have ever been in in my life?..
Within the two weeks we spent here, the 21 of us built a bond that is stronger than some people I see on a regular basis back home in the bay area. I didn't think it was possible, but through workshops, the Ropes Course, daily classes, evening outings, the ESTRODEN, we have. You could randomly mix up our group in any way and we would be able to talk like sisters.
The class itself was so amazing. I've never seen so many strong women in one room that were able to work together so well before. I guess an all-girls class was not what I had in mind before. There were many discussions on the female and her suppression as well modern-day women and how they are also being repressed. Girls gave examples of certain things by relating to them and sharing their experiences with the class.
Some people think that classes don't leave much in your head after you have passed it and have moved onto other activities, but this class has opened my eyes a lot. Now, when I pass by billboards, newspaper ads, magazine racks, posters, a Victoria's Secret, I think to myself about how it is degrading to women. Also, I try harder to be a better person. Before this class, others and I unknowingly were being judgmental and ignorant. Now I think before I speak and always give the benefit of the doubt. My mom even says my attitude has improved immensely since I arrived home.
I remember sometime during my first week there I was feeling a bit homesick. That day was just a bad day because so many things weren't going the way I planned: 1. the washer machine wouldn't work for the longest time. 2. the dryer didn't work after the washer finally did. 3. I locked myself out of my room 4. the reception was horrible and my mom couldn't hear me telling her that I missed her and everyone else. I cried that night and couldn't wait to go home.
Then the inevitable came and the three weeks were over.. I watched my new found family surround me at the gates and hug me and tell me how they'd miss me. We all cried and cried and as the shuttle driver became more impatient we cried even more knowing it was almost time. As I watched the girls I now associate to myself as family wave goodbye, my heart clenched because I honestly learned more from them than I did from anything else on this trip. They are the most wonderful people and I'm so glad I have had the chance to become one of them. Thank you so much ILC & Partners for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime.