Operation Leprechaun Parts 1&2
August third, the day we had been dreading since our arrival 9 days earlier.
We were fortunate enough to have a little sleep in this morning and wake up call was at 8am. Usually 12 teenagers would be screeching to get out of bed at 8am but after our week of early mornings and busy days it was definitely nothing to complain about. We all knew today was the day we had to depart from our new home of Ambition and everyone’s emotions were running high.
After the hectic last minute packing this morning, we headed down to the Mess deck for breakfast where we were thrilled to see 60 Krispy Kreme doughnuts waiting for us. Each AXP was eligible for 5 doughnuts but only the very brave AXPs managed to eat all 5.
After our heavenly breakfast we went back up to our staterooms to say goodbye to our beds and grabbed our luggage to bring downstairs to the lobby. Our time schedule was running smoothly so we were able to go across the road to the Museum of Naval Aviation one last time. All 12 AXPs made a pit stop to the gift shop at the museum to buy some last minute presents for our friends and family back home.
We browsed around the museum for a little while to look at our favourite exhibits one more time before we would have to leave. At 11.45 we met back at Ambition and the thought of having to leave became a reality. The car was packed, the people were crying and the experience was about to end. The last 9 days were unforgettable but the
main thing we learned was that once you know how to fly, the sky is no longer the limit. All 12 AXPs really treasured our time aboard Ambition and were so thankful for the time we spent, friends we met and the people who had invested in us.
Memories are special, they last forever in your mind. When we stepped into the NFA minivan for the last time this morning, our biggest fear was forgetting what it feels like to be there, in the strong humid air of Pensacola with these 11 other people we can now call our bestfriends. Every other time we were in the van together we were laughing and singing, sharing stories of the silly things our room mates had done the night before. This time was different though, there was a sad vibe in the air. We have had the most amazing, once in a lifetime experience this week and we will never forget it.
When we reached the airport everyone stepped out of the van and gathered their luggage. Masterchief and Melody then walked us to the check in desks. That’s when it became real that we were actually leaving. We checked in, got our boarding cards and said our last minute thank you’s.
We then made our way through security and up to the gates. We thought we weren’t going to have any time to eat anything or look in the one shop in the airport but thankfully we had just over an hour. We sat down at a small restaurant and had lunch. At about 1410, Domhnall came down to tell us the gates were open and we had to board.
The flight to Charlotte was only one hour long but as soon as we stepped off the plane we were rushed over to the gate for boarding to Dublin. The airport was absolutely packed. We had about five minutes to make a head call (go to the bathroom) and get some snacks for the plane.
We got on the plane, put our bags overhead and found our seats. After a little while we were told by the captain that the plane was delayed. Nobody really minded this because we were all spread around the plane and we got to spend more time together. From then on we cherished every second we could get to spend together. It’s not going to be as simple as that very soon.
When we first met up in Galway Education Centre, we met 11 other girls and guys from around Galway. It was very awkward and we were scared that that wouldn’t change. Now, almost one month later, after meetings, a trip to Shannon and an amazing trip to Florida, we have made life long friends. I can honestly say that we are some of the luckiest people to have been chosen and invested in by Galway Education Centre.
On behalf of all the Irish AXP’s I would like to say a massive thank you to Kate, Paddy, Maeve, all the staff at NFA, Galway Education Centre and everyone who had any part to play in sending us on this once in a life time opportunity.
I heart Roadrunner
Louise Hosty(AKA Cabbage)
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