Monday, May 25, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Time has seriously flown since the Goodbye Dinner at the beginning of May!  I'm sorry it took me this long to make my last post about my time in Hollywood!  Over the weekend after the dinner, I did a lot of cool stuff.  I had to do some packing and major cleaning, but there were plenty of fun things.  Some of my roommates and I had a little cookout in the grilling area.  We made a bunch of hot dogs and burgers!  Later on, we went to the hot tub one last time.  On Saturday night, we went out to Buffalo Wild Wings.  I had already eaten dinner, so I just had a huckleberry limeade.  It was tasty!  When we were done, we walked around Burbank and found a bar that was showing the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.  There were tons of people crowded around outside the bar, but we managed to find a place to stand.  I actually got to see the TV pretty well!  I had never really watched boxing before, but I was excited to see it because there was so much hype before that fight.  I rooted for Pacquiao to win, but I was not as upset at Mayweather's victory as some other people were.  After we had watched a good deal of the fight, a police car drove by and broke up the huge crowd.  We headed for the parking garage and went back to the apartment.  On Sunday, I got a ride to Calvary Bible Church one last time.  It was nice to attend one more service there and say goodbye to the people I had met there.  It's a great church!  Once I was done there, I went back home.  When I was at the apartment over the weekend, I did some work on my final paper for How Hollywood Works.  As I said before, I also had to pack and clean a lot!  Monday was a busy day.  I woke up bright and early in the morning to take my final trip to Universal Studios Hollywood!  The lines weren't bad at all, and I got to do a lot!  I rode The Mummy 4 times that day, and I rode it a total of 11 times in the 3 days I was there!  I rode everything that I wanted to ride again.  I also reserved a spot on my flight that was leaving the next morning!  After I was done there, I did a little more souvenir shopping and then went home.  I made myself some dinner and continued working on my paper.  Later that night, I went out to Bob's Big Boy one last time.  I went there with some girls I had gone with before and another one of their roommates.  It was a fun trip!  A couple of us were just there to get dessert, and I ordered the hot fudge cake.  It was delicious!  We all discussed our plans following the semester and other random topics.  I'm glad we were all able to get together!  After I got back from that, I finished my How Hollywood Works final paper and sent it in.  It felt really nice to have that done!  I also spent some time preparing for my departure in the morning.  I ended up going to bed far too late (technically early), and I didn't sleep a whole lot that night.  I had to wake up at 7:00 to finish packing up and cleaning.  My shuttle to the airport was supposed to arrive around 8:50 or 9:00, but it took nearly the whole time to complete all my tasks.  When I was finally ready to go, I said goodbye to my two roommates who were still there.  One of them helped me carry my stuff downstairs.  I didn't have to wait outside very long before the shuttle arrived.  I put my luggage in the back and found a seat.  I was very relieved to be on the way to LAX!  The shuttle stopped at one point along the way to pick up more people.  The drive to LAX was nearly an hour long - Los Angeles is a huge city!  The shuttle dropped me off at the Southwest departures area, and I went to check my bigger bags and get my boarding pass.  It's nice that you can check two bags for free on Southwest - I took full advantage of the two checked and two carry-on bags!  Thankfully, the line moved quickly.  After that, I was on to security.  That also went pretty smoothly.  I find it funny that they make you go through a full-body scanner and still feel your shirt afterwards!  What could they possibly find in your shirt that the full-body scanner wouldn't pick up?  I suppose there are terrorists who have figured that out, but it's excessive for most people.  I was out of security soon enough, and I went to find my gate.  After I found it, I got some lunch at the La Brea Bakery.  It was a tremendous ripoff!  I would recommend that you NEVER eat at the La Brea Bakery in LAX!  I sat and waited for boarding to begin, and it happened before too long.  I knew I wanted a window seat on the plane.  I had to walk almost all the way to the back, but I found a window seat!  I was happy!  There were no problems on the flight, and I think it actually landed a little early.  The flight attendants and pilots on Southwest planes are cool!  It's my favorite airline (not that I have extensive experience on many airlines)!  When we landed at Chicago Midway, I grabbed my carry-on bags and made my way to the baggage claim.  I swear it was at least a 2-mile walk from the plane to the baggage claim!  I guess that's the cost of having free bags on Southwest!  It took a while for the carousel to start up, but I found my bags relatively quickly.  I texted my mom to let her know that I was ready.  Then I went outside and looked for her van.  After a few minutes, she pulled up!  I threw all my stuff in the car, and we drove away.  She showed me the "Cheers" complete series DVD set that arrived earlier that day!  I was happy to see that!  She also had a dinner for me to eat in the car.  We were headed straight to my little sister's band concert!  After the concert was over, I went to Culver's to get some frozen custard and celebrate my safe arrival.  In the weeks since then, I've done a ton!  The day after I got back, I went over to Bradley to participate in the last episode of Midstate Magazine that Bob Jacobs executive produced.  Midstate Magazine is a weekly newsmagazine show that Bradley produces, and Bob Jacobs created the show.  He was the main Television Arts professor at Bradley for years, and he retired at the end of the semester.  I'm glad I got to be there for his last episode.  After that, I hung out with my roommate from first semester and some other friends.  It was study day, so nobody had classes.  I spent the night there, and finals began in the morning.  I went back home that afternoon.  After another week or so back home, I went on InterVarsity's Chapter Focus Week.  I joined some other guys from Bradley's chapter for the trip up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We stayed at a place called Cedar Campus in Cedarville.  The whole week was a ton of fun!  It was a cool way to reconnect with God and the other guys in the chapter!  I also met a ton of cool people from other schools!  The day after I returned from that was my older brother's college graduation party.  We had a bunch of family and friends over to eat and celebrate a big milestone!  It was kind of funny that I saw a lot of the people who are coming to my "Welcome Back From Hollywood" Party!  We have a lot of parties going on this time of year!  The next day, my family went up to my older brother's apartment in Lisle, IL.  We helped him move in some new furniture.  The apartment is really nice now!  And the complex is amazing!  They offer so many free things!  The rest of my family left after we ate dinner, but I stayed with Chase.  We hung out for the rest of the night.  In the morning, we got some free breakfast.  For lunch, we ate at the Portillo's in Naperville.  Portillo's is seriously delicious!  Their chocolate cake shakes are irresistible!  In the afternoon, we saw "Tomorrowland" at the IMAX theater.  I'm spending another night at his apartment, and we're coming home on Tuesday for the Weird Al concert in Bloomington!  I'm so excited!  My semester in Los Angeles was a wonderful experience that I'm so grateful for.  I'll never forget it!  However, my return has reminded me of one critically important thing:  There's no place like home!

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