Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What a day. Dad and I went to bed around midnight or so and then got up around 2 am to get ready to head to the airport. Frank picked us up around 2:30 am and we were at the airport really early. Rather early than late though.

We sat around for a while because they weren't letting people through security, if there was anyone in security in the first place. It was kind of relaxing I guess. I must have been too tense to be nervous. I did a little dry heaving before we left the house, but after that, nothing.

Getting through security was rather easy. There wasn't any problems. We sat at our gate and waited until boarding started. We got to board first because dad has mobility issues. Our seats are pretty good and I have a view out the window.

Taking off from Baltimore was rather frightening. I had no idea what to expect and when the motor revved I was really surprised. It wasn't the speed or anything, just the noise and the obvious amount of power the plane had.

I didn't nap or anything on the way to Charlotte. I also didn't take any pictures because it was so dark out still. We actually got to Charlotte about 20 minutes early, which was surprising. Dad was really surprised. He said he'd never been on a plane that was early before.

The ride to Charlotte was miserable. My ears refused to pop once we started the 60 mile descent. It hurt a lot. I also seemed to have really bad gas bubbles that were excruciating on the left side of my body, almost like period cramps that went from my low abdomen to my chest. Not fun at all.

We didn't have a lot of down time in Charlotte, but we had enough. I went to the bathroom and then we boarded another plane to go to San Francisco. This plane was a lot bigger. Luckily our seats were still good and I had a view again.

It was starting to be daylight when we left so I took some pictures of the sun rising and daybreak from the plane. I hope they turn out okay. After taking some pictures, I decided to try and sleep, which was very difficult. It is not comfortable at all.

I slept for most of the flight on and off. I woke up in the mountains and took some pictures. That was a beautiful sight. It's such a different view of things and it was so open and empty, like it was before humans invaded the land.

The next time I woke up, we were in California. I took some pictures before we had to turn off all the electronic devices. It's really pretty with all the water. I wish I could have taken pictures all the way until we landed, but you can't.

The plane makes a 90 degree, or so it felt, turn to get lined up for the runway. When the plane started to tilt, I was a little worried and wondered what was going on. Landing was scary also as it looks like you are landing in the water, but then at the last possible second, so it seems, you see the runway. It was an easier landing than the one in Charlotte, even though that one was not rough by any means.

When we landed and got in the airport, we called the airport shuttle we were taking and asked how to find the shuttle. We found it with no difficulty and started our way to the hotel. It was so nice to sit down in something on the ground and just relax.

It took FOREVER to get tot he hotel. The driver passed the street we were on at least once but didn't drop us off. He was going all over the place and some of the other passengers were getting angry. One in particular, who lives in the area, was really snippy. It probably took over an hour to get to the hotel.

It was so nice to get to the hotel. We got checked in and our room was ready, which was a relief. The first thing we did was call about the Sightseeing Tour and Alcatraz tickets. I forgot to print out the information to get the tickets so we needed to find out what to do. It seems like it's not a big deal though. Dad ended up being able to get his email from his computer in Baltimore from FTP and the front desk printed them out for us. That was a relief.

The thought of napping crossed our minds but food was a bigger priority, at least for me. Dad had bought a snack pack on the plane so he had some food today. Granted, it wasn't a lot, but it was more than I had.

We head out in the direction of Pier 39, taking pictures as we went. We stopped at a Burger King and I got some Chicken Fries with barbecue sauce. Dad got a little sandwich. Neither of us were full but we left. We went to a McDonald's and I got a Chicken Sandwich and dad got two double cheeseburgers. Our stomachs felt better after that.

We continued heading towards Pier 39. When we got there it was a lot like the Inner Harbor. We took pictures and walked down one of the piers to get a better view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the sea lions from the far side.

Then we walked around to the other side which is where the sea lions were. They are so cute and they bark all the time. I took a movie of two of them fighting and one getting pushed off. We walked around the area for a bit, took some more sea lion pictures, then took a taxi back to the hotel.

When we got back to the hotel we both crashed. I set the alarm for 6 pm but don't remember it going off. Supposedly I turned it off though. I woke up to the alarm going off at 8 pm for dad to take his medications though. I slept two hours longer than I had planned. Oh well.

We were both hungry and looked around for someplace to eat but there are none nearby. The menu that is in the hotel room has decent things, but they are way to expensive. I ended up finding a place online that delivers and we ordered through them. They got here pretty fast too. I had a chicken parmigiana sub and dad had a grilled chicken sub.

I had a mini meltdown trying to figure out what time I needed to leave tomorrow to get to my interview in time. Dad isn't coming with me so I have to navigate it by myself. I was so incredibly stressed and worried. I think all the stress just got to be too much and I had a mini meltdown with a few tears. Nothing major, but out of character for me. Maybe I'm getting the hang of this “feeling” thing after all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What a long day. I got up around 5 am and got ready for my interview. I didn't get to eat breakfast because I left around 6 am for the bus and breakfast didn't start until 6:30. I was already hungry when I left s I knew it was going to be a long day.

I caught the bus with no problem and even got off at the right stop. Then I made my way to the BART station. I panicked a little because it was the second BART station, not the first like I thought it would be, but I did find it and all was well. The ride on the BART seemed to take forever but at least I knew I was heading in the right direction.

When I got off the BART in Pleasant Hill, I was surprised how cold I felt. I don't know if it was really that much colder or if I had just gotten used to the warmth of the BART. I asked some girls where the bus stop was and they told me. I made my way there and had a few minutes to wait.

The bus ride to JFK was okay. I paid $1 thinking I should have paid $0.85 since I transferred from one bus to another, but the transfer is really from the BART to the bus and I didn't get a transfer ticket from BART. He still let me pay the $1 though.

I got to JFK about an hour early, which is what I figured. I took a couple pictures though there wasn't a lot of take pictures of. It's just one building. They had a small creek out front so I took a picture of that and of some of the signs and that was it.

Luckily, there were some snacks provided before the interview got underway. It was much needed. I had a banana and some orange juice. I knew that could last me a while and I had leftovers from last night back in the hotel.

The interview process started with a student panel. They introduced themselves and told us about the program and why they chose it then we got to ask questions. Just listening to them talk, I LOVED the program. I was hoping to not like it as much as I do actually

They do an “ethnographic placement” the first year and you intern somewhere unlike places you've ever been. One person is working with GLBT people, one person is working with the homeless, though not in a shelter at her request, etc. Every year you do an internship and you can't work with the same population twice so you get a very broad range of populations to experience and they say it makes you very marketable They even told a story about one of their graduates who was mistaken for having been practicing for years because he was so comfortable around such a diverse group of populations.

Everyone as really nice and open as well, unlike Towson. Unfortunately, JFK is really expensive and when I asked about how to pay for it they all said loans. They said after your first year it's basically impossible to work since your internships are getting longer. So not only are they taking out loans for college, but for housing also. EEK!!!!

Following the student panel, some professors came in and introduced themselves and talked about their interests. They are all over the place. They were also really personable and funny. When moving in to the center of the room, one of them said “It's always good to be centered” and then everyone laughed. They remind of my of the Kenyon faculty in ways.

The next part of the interview was the group interview. There were 3 faculty members and two grad students in my group along with 5 prospectus students, myself included. We all introduced ourselves and said why we were interested in psychology and this program in particular. One person was my Vancouver, BC, which I thought was neat. I was the only person who had not graduated from college. There was an older women there who is a nurse and wants to get more of a psychology background to help her in her professions.

Then, they gave us all a sheet with two different scenarios on it and as a group, we had to choose one and answer the questions about it. One scenario was about presenting information to a school about working with different populations of students, GLBT, ADD, etc. The other one was strictly about GLBT people and that was the one we choose.

The scenario was that we were all interns and a clinician was giving a presentation on a same sex couple and we got the impression the clinician held stereotypes about the couple. We had to talk about what our reaction would be, what we would do, and how we would go about it. So we got in a circle and discussed the scenario and our reaction to it. It was interesting and basically what I was expecting. I tried to participate when I had something to offer but other people said a lot of the things I thought so it was hard to say something new.

After the discussion, we went back in a larger circle and discussed what we thought about the discussion. I said that I was impressed, though not surprised, we all had the same reaction, that something needed to be done and/or said to the clinician about the stereotype they appeared to have. I thought that was really neat and a sign of the times I guess.

Then the program director asked us a question about ways in which we are privileged and ways in which we are oppressed or not privileged. The first things that popped in to my mind were my childhood making me privileged and my lack of finances making me oppressed/not privileged. When I gave my answers, I said that my privilege was going to sound weird but explained how I am able to relate to others and people are able to talk to me about things they may not be able to talk to other people about. I also said the lack of finances was sort of cliché, but true for me. Very true. It was such a neat experience to feel comfortable to share that kind of information with completely strangers.

I walked out with to other people and we continued to talk about what we had said for privileged and oppressed and one told me that he had never thought of things that were negative being a privilege. He then told me he dad had died. It's connections like that that people are able to have because of shared experiences, even if they are negative.

The girl and I talked about sports since she's also interested in sports psychology. I talked about the anorexia and about how I'm almost overweight now She is classified as obese by BMI standards but you couldn't tell it by looking at her. She plays softball. The guy came back when we were talking about being overweight/obese and looked at us strangely. It was nice to just sit and talk with others with similar interests.

Next up was the individual interview. I was with a professor who had been in my group interview as well as a grad student who had also been in my group interview. Most of the questions were normal and expected. She asked me to expand upon my answer to the privilege/oppression question and I did. That lead in to talking about the mandatory therapy requirement they have. I said I would be surprised if a program did not mandate that as I think it's important for a clinician to have been on both sides of the chair so to speak She seemed to be asking if I would be comfortable in therapy and I tried to make it as clear as I could that I would. That even though I have worked through my trauma, that doesn't mean there isn't things that need work. I gave the example of taking time for myself.

We talked about my writing sample I sent in, which was my research paper on exercise and anorexia. She said it was really interesting and to tell her more about it. That lead to me talking a little about my struggle with anorexia and then weightlifting. They asked how much I could lift and I gave them my deadlift stat and they were impressed.

The only question that caught me off guard was what my dissertation would be. I thought about for a minute and said it would be interesting to look at research on different types of therapies for PTSD and which ones work and which ones don't and seeing if there was a common denominator. As soon as I said it, I didn't really like it, but I couldn't really think of anything else. That caught my completely off guard.

She made sure to tell me that this was a clinical program and that once I finished the sports psychology Master's I would be done with that. I told her I was first and foremost interested in being a clinician. I would just like to have available to me exercise as an adjunct to therapy. I hope I got my point across.

The only part of the interview I thought could have went better was the group interview. Every time a question was posed, I answered last and I knew at the time I needed to be more “forceful” but just couldn't bring myself to do it. That and maybe the part about the mandatory therapy. I don't know what I would have said differently, but I didn't get a good vibe during that part of the conversation.

After I finished with Dr Estrada, I had an interview with Alison Rhodius in the Master's program in Sports Psychology program. None of her questions caught me off guard. She asked why I was interested in the program and I told her about having been on both sides, seeing how exercise effects my psychology and how psychology effects my training as well.

She also asked why I thought I'd make a good Master's student in sports psychology and I retold her about feeling like I wasn't doing homework when doing my dance kinesiology homework. It had originally came u when she mentioned I would have to take a kinesiology class.

This meeting was a lot shorter. At the end, she did tell me what textbook I would need for the first year and it's in the reading room at Kenyon, so I will definitely be picking that up when I get back. I took that as a good sign. Hopefully, or not hopefully?) I will get in to the PsyD program as well. I really don't want to go to California just for a Master's.

After I finished talking to Dr. Rhodius, I went back to the room where we originally all met. The administrative person for the PsyD program gave me some good advice. She said no matter what to always keep your syllabi in case schools don't know you took something because the titles don't match up. I thought that was really good advice.

I went outside to wait for the bus and was going to call dad but the bus came. So I took the bus and it stopped for a few minutes at the end of the route before starting again. The driver asked where I was going and I told her the Pleasant Hill BART station. He told me that another bus was going there but that he left first. He also asked for my name and called me beautiful. That's something I could get used to.

I got off at the BART station and headed back to San Francisco. The guy from Vancouver was going to San Francisco too. The ride seemed longer this time, maybe because it was daylight and I could actually see. Or it could have been because I was exhausted and my lumbar back was SCREAMING at me because of all the stress. Either way, it took FOREVER to get to the Powell Street BART.

From here, it gets tricky. I had no idea what bus to take to get back to the hotel. I ended up calling the hotel and getting directions. I made my way to the bus only to have to wait at the end of the route again. It seemed to take FOREVER to get back to the hotel. I think it took almost 3 hours to get back. I was so happy to get back and be able to lay down.

A man on the bus helped me with my stop and walked with my to the hotel since he was going to one of the buildings next door. Everyone is so nice here. It's a completely different vibe than Towson gave me and I like it here a lot better.

I didn't get back to the hotel until around 3:30 pm. The plan was to go on the double decker bus Golden Gate Tour at 4 pm and then the Nighttime tour at 6 pm but there was no way we could get down to where the tour started in 30 minutes. I played with the idea of napping, but decided against it, mainly because I was so hungry.

We headed down to where the tour leaves to get our tickets for the night double decker tour. When we got there, the last bus of the day was leaving for the downtown tour. The lady at City Sightseeing took our printed confirmation and gave us our tickets. She also called the bus and told them to wait for us. So we did the downtown double decker tour today instead of tomorrow like I had planned.

It was cold. I wish I would have had a hat and gloves I was so cold. Not only was it not warm out, but moving on a vehicle makes it that much colder. Dad and I took plenty of pictures though. Him more so as I tried to keep my hands warm when they started hurting. He said he wasn't that cold.

The city is really pretty and has some great buildings. We learned about Coit Tower as well as some other buildings. We also learned about buildings swaying during the 1989 earthquake and how the Ferry Building actually moved and is no longer facing the street ahead of it. It was really interesting, even if I was cold.

We walked back to the hotel and stopped at a small convenience store a couple blocks away for some snacks. We had set out to eat before the night tour but decided against the night tour since we were so cold. We were going to eat but since we went on the downtown tour, we hadn't ate yet. All I had to eat all day was the banana and orange juice from this morning.

When we got back to the hotel, we called the same place we had called last night. This time I go the chicken parmigiana entrée instead of the sandwich, hoping it will last longer. The plan is to not have to buy anything to lunch and/or dinner tomorrow.

We loaded up the pictures as we waited for the food to come It took a lot longer to come today, which was not good since I was so hungry. I started snacking on some of the snacks we had gotten from the convenience store.

The food finally came and all I could manage to eat was the spaghetti part of it. I'm sure I was hungrier than that but I was also completely exhausted. We have to get up relatively early tomorrow and catch a cab to go to Pier 33 for the Alcatraz visit. I am really excited about that!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Today was another long day, but not as long as yesterday. We woke up before the alarm clock, or some weird reason. The alarm clock was set for 8 and we woke up a little before that. Dad was awake before I was, which is normal. He's normally up before me.

We went down and had some breakfast. I had about half of an English muffin, some milk, and some orange juice. We went back upstairs for a while and then had the front desk call for a cab around 9 am. We wanted to be at Pier 33 by 10 am for 10:30 am boarding and the front desk said it could take the cab a while to get there depending on where they were.

Luckily, or unluckily, the cab came relatively quickly and we were at the Pier before 9:30 am. We had over an hour to wait until we started boarding to go to Alcatraz. We took some pictures of the area and birds. We also went in the gift shop. Dad ended up giving me money to buy a Alcatraz beanie hat. I knew the boat ride out was going to be cold. I'll buy myself a shirt when we get back.

We got to wait in a pre-load area since dad has trouble walking/standing for periods of time. It was nice to be able to sit down instead of standing in the long line waiting to board. We were also the first ones on and got first pick of seats. I didn't really like where we were, but, it's a boat and the view is the same is you just look around.

Getting off the boat was trickier simply because we were on the top and had to get down two levels before getting out. It was a slow process but not bad considering how many people were actually on the boat. We listened to a ranger talk about Alcatraz before waiting for trolley to take us up to the cell house

There were beautiful views on the way up I wish we had walked but dad couldn't do it and said he didn't want to be separated. Maybe I'll talk him in to walking down. Walking down is easier than walking up. We'll have to see.

We got up to the cell house and got our audio tour. It was AMAZING!!!! I can't begin to describe how awesome it was. The audio tour told you what way to turn and what to look at as it told stories about what happened in what cell, what certain areas were called etc. It was a lot of fun and I learned a TON of things I have no clue about.

The most interesting stories were about escapes or escape attempts. It told us about the Battle of Alcatraz and pointed out the marks on the floor from grenades and bullet holes. The story with the fake heads was interesting as well. EVERYTHING was interesting but those two really stand out in my mind.

The view from the island is amazing as well. You can see San Francisco as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. It's really windy since it's in the middle of the bay, but the views are spectacular. I'm really glad we ordered tickets to be able to do this.

We did end up walking back down, rather quickly, in order to catch the 1:10 boat back to San Francisco. We got to wait in the pre-load area again which is good before the line looked REALLY long and I was wondering if everyone was going to fit. Everyone did fit but since we were on first we got really good seats.

On the way back to San Francisco, a cruise ship was also in the bay. It was a Carnival ship. It was really big. I wish I could have watched it dock. It seemed to be moving really slow compared to how it felt when we were on the cruise, but then again it was probably getting ready to dock and it was in the bay, so it probably had to go slower.

Once we got off the boat, we headed towards the double decker bus pick up stop, which was probably less than a half mile away, I'm not sure. I stopped to do a body hold on an anchor that was on Pier 39. I just had to see if I could still do it, and I can.

We somehow managed to make it to the tour place on time. We got on the bus and kind of relaxed until we started going. This tour was the Golden Gate Bridge tour. We were going to go over the bridge to Vista Point on the other side and then go through some of the richer areas of San Francisco.

We stopped at the Palace of Fine Arts briefly. It's under construction right now so I didn't get a lot of good pictures. I was also on the far side of the bus but I'm sure dad got some good pictures. It was hidden behind trees though, so maybe not.

Going over the Golden Gate Bridge was really windy. I was scared like I was going over the bridge in NYC though. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that even though I knew I was above water, I couldn't really see that the water was going under the bridge since we were no where close to the edge of the bridge like the bridges in NYC. Whatever the reason, I was glad I wasn't uncomfortable and could take pictures. Taking pictures wasn't easy because of how windy it was. I couldn't see what I was taking pictures of but hopefully some of them turned out.

It was kind of a disappointment. I don't know what I expected out of a bridge, but obviously all the hype about the Golden Gate Bridge is just that, hype. It's just a bridge. At Vista Point I did get my picture taken with the bridge behind me as well as another one with the city behind me. We had fellow tourists take a picture of dad and me with the bridge in the background. The views from Vista Point were great.

We got back on the bus and went through the richer areas of the city. What can I say? The houses were big and REALLY expensive. The views from this part of the city are really good, which kind of explains the price, but considering the whole city in on a fault line, I wouldn't pay a lot for a house no matter what the view.

After the tour was over, we slowly walked back to the hotel. When we got back, we crashed. I REALLY crashed. I had set the cell phone alarm for 6 pm and didn't even remember it going off. I heard the alarm go off at 8 pm for dad to take his pills and that's the first thing I remember after laying down. I must be completely exhausted.

We didn't order out this time. We had leftovers from yesterday. It was a low key night. We looked through the pictures. We're getting quite a few of them. The netbook screen isn't the greatest for viewing pictures since it's so small though. I can't wait to see what they look like on a bigger screen.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We woke up rather early this morning and had breakfast downstairs. Time was going by so slowly. We don't leave until a little after noon and there was nothing really planned for today. We packed and made sure everything was organized to leave.

I did end up walking up Lombard Street. Boy what a walk!! It's really steep and it exhausted me. Luckily, the “crookedest” part was only a couple blocks away. I took pictures both looking down and then from the bottom looking up. I had a tourist couple take my picture after I took theirs. I had taken some of myself but it's always better when someone else does it.

I came back to the hotel and took a short nap. There was nothing else to do. I was packed and ready to go. I wasn't looking forward to checking in at the airport though. I wish we could have checked in online but would couldn't.

The shuttle was right on time. We picked up some more people and then headed to the airport. It was a much more direct trip than the shuttle from the airport to the hotel. We got to the hotel and got our boarding passes with little trouble. Getting through security wasn't an issue either.

We had plenty of time and ended up getting some food to eat. I took pictures of some of the planes being taxied and tried to find a place to watch planes taking off or landing but couldn't see any of the runways from where I was.

We finally got on the plane and got our seats. It was a lot bigger than either of the planes we were on coming to San Francisco and this one had TV's in it. It was a nice flight. My ears never felt like the needed to pop, even though they did pop once or twice during the ride. I also managed to get a picture of one of the runways sticking out in to the bay while we were taking off.

The girl sitting in our row in the aisle seat was interested in working out and was also in college. She and me dad talked about exercise for a while and I eventually joined the conversation. Ends up that she had/has an eating disorder and is going back to treatment. She said she's worried no one will take her seriously since she isn't underweight and is actually technically overweight. It was weird to meet someone in the real world who struggles with an ED.

We got to Denver a little early. We didn't have long to wait until it was time to board the plane to go to Baltimore. I didn't get to take any pictures on this ride since it had gotten dark by this time. I did get some good pictures on the ride from San Francisco to Denver though.

On the ride to BWI, I FINALLY managed to finish reading my Crusades reading for this coming week. It was the one big push I had wanted to do over this trip. I had actually wanted to do it before we left, then on the way to San Francisco, but I'm just glad I got it done.

We landed right on time but it was a few more minutes for the taxiing and then getting off. We met Frank the same place he dropped us off and went home. Boy was it nice to be home. We got in around 1:30 am or so and didn't bother doing anything except going to the bathroom before crashing in bed.