- We took the bus into Port Authority at 1000. We arrived at 1130.
- We took the subway from Port Authority to 116th Street (I think) and entered Columbia University campus.
- We ate lunch and waited for the ceremony to start. We were finally seated at around 1445. We were seated in the middle of a large tent surrounded by hundreds of people.
- The ceremony ended just before 1700.
- The reception was in a tent next to the ceremony site. We left for the restaurant at 1730.
- We arrived at the restaurant for dinner at around 1800.
- Dinner ended around 1930 and we made our way to the subway.
- We arrived at Port Authority at around 2015. The bus didn't load until 2045.
- The bus didn't leave until 2105 and didn't arrive back home until 2300.
It was a very long day. I had forgotten how dirty and loud the subways in New York really are. It was a very stressful ride. I was hoping that there would be standing room at the ceremony that would allow me to put a little distance between me and the crowds. That didn't happen. I finally reached critical mass during the reception. I told my Mom that I needed to get out of there. We left as soon as was possible to collect everyone up. The anxiety really started getting to me at this point. I started getting snippy with everyone. It was not pretty, but everyone just kind of ignored it and carried on with their day. By the time I got back on the bus, I was exhausted from my experience.
That will be the last time I visit New York for a long while. That city is like anxiety overload. It is way to easy to have intrusive recollections there. A lot of the sidewalks were in worse condition than in some areas in Iraq. Then there was the air quality. For a little while, I thought I was having an anxiety attack. Then I realized it was the air quality that was making my lungs so tight. Ratchet up the anxiety a little more.
Today, I am spending inside away from people and getting myself recentered. While I wouldn't have missed the convocation yesterday, I can't do that again for a long time. Regardless, I am very proud that I made it through the day without having a major breakdown. I finally got to meet two of my sister's close friends that I had never met and dinner was delicious.
Now it's time for recovery.