Friday, November 20, 2015

Ten Things I Love Today

1) I fell asleep last night with soaking wet, tangled hair. Naturally I woke up with a balsam fir on my head. Instead of moaning about it, I put on a bright red dress and plaid tights. There is no blending in with the scenery today. IF I’M GONNA LOOK LIKE A TREE, BY GOLLY I’M GONNA LOOK LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE. 

2) I forgot to set my alarm but I woke up sort of on time anyway. AW YISS.

3) Nena and Co. Everything.

4) It’s almost Thanksgiving and I’m less than a week away from being reunited with my favorite Bostonians. I’m also less than a week away from my favorite feast of the year. FYI, we’ll be serving from both ends of the health spectrum, from lentil loaf to deep fried turkey.
America, y’all.

5) You’ve probably seen it already, but this video of a little boy and his father being interviewed about the attacks in Paris. I’m still crying.

6) It’s that time of year where I play George Winston radio nonstop on Pandora.  If Norman Rockwell paintings were made into a movie, it would be scored by George Winston.

7) I have way too many material possessions and this explains why.

8) I still can’t get over this sky from Tuesday night.

9) For the first time in my life I have real and true business cards. I have never felt more like a kid pretending to be an adult.  I finally have something to give people other than these.

10) Adele’s new album. Basically crying for the rest of my life.

Have a good weekend my dears. xx

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sunday Morning in Penthalaz, a Haiku

This post was inspired by Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Write a haiku about something you're thankful for.

April 2011

Ten souls communing,
Golden vials around the throne;
My purpose renewed.

Friday, November 13, 2015

How to be a College Alum

          1. Attend Homecoming

This past Saturday I drove down to my alma mater for one of those classic college student experiences, you know, the kind you’re supposed to have while you’re still in college. I went to a good old-fashioned, all-American football game with my friends.

Yes, pick your jaws up off the floor, I spent my own money and free time to attend a sports game. It wasn’t even to impress a boy! That’s how good of a friend I am.
But really, let me tell you about these friends. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a gaggle of fresh(wo)men were randomly assigned into a student orientation group based on where they lived in student housing.  A few of these girls came and went, but fast forward to the present day and a core of them remain, affectionately referred to as Starship Windsor. (I’m not telling you why, it’s incredibly nerdy and you weren’t invited to make fun of us, so there.)
So anyway, when Starship Windsor plans a reunion, you go. Even if it means displaying your incredible lack of basic sports facts. (Actual things that left my mouth: “Who has the ball right now?” “Why are the guys from Foot Locker on the field?”)
2. Be frustrated by how much has changed since you left.
The first thing I remembered upon arrival was how terrible it is to find parking as a visitor. Your options are to either get there at dawn or pay $20 to park in the cattle pen that is the Ross Ade stadium lot. Or, a third option, drive around for 45 minutes, cry, and then pay a random church $10 to park in their lot, having already missed kickoff. Obviously I went with option 3.
Walking through the campus, I felt incredibly lost. I’ve only been gone five years but it might as well have been fifty, so much has changed. There are new buildings where fields used to be, new buildings on top of where old buildings were, streets with new names, and streets with no names.
And the students! They look so young. SO. YOUNG. These girls in their Purdue sweatshirts and yoga pants with sleek, glossy hair and too much eye makeup, who laugh too loudly. These guys dressed in culturally-insensitive costumes for Breakfast Club, casually strolling by campus cops, red plastic cups in hand. WHO ARE THESE NOISY VAGRANTS? This isn’t MY Purdue!
3. Feel incredibly old.
Literally only Jordyn and Bri are cooperating right now, not even me and I'm taking the photo

The thing that struck me the most was how grown-up I suddenly felt, despite sitting at a football game with my friends. Jordyn made sure we all had on sunscreen, I shared a granola bar with Julie, and when the fireworks went off during halftime, I got a little panicky at how big the blaze was instead of being excited at the pretty display. “But won’t somebody catch fire?!” We complained about how much money things cost, how we feel about our jobs, and even discussed all the foods we can’t handle anymore. Then we laughed at how old we sounded.
Julie asked me if I would go back. I thought about it for only a moment. “I would, but only if I could go back as the person I am now.” And it’s true: I loved college more than any experience I’d had in my life up to that point, but I didn’t love myself. As cheesy as it sounds, I only had a vague idea of who I was and I had even less confidence in embracing it.  That feeling of desperately wanting to be an independent, outgoing adult while still clinging to the safety of what was familiar was an uncomfortable intersection to dwell at for four years. I’m not saying the person I am now is at the pinnacle of self-actualization, but I seem to have grown out of that deep-seated anxiety about my identity.
4. Feel an overwhelming surge of school spirit.
Basically no one is paying attention at this point. We were losing by a lot. Cheerleader group photo!

I’ll be honest with you: I barely watched the game. It’s really boring when you don’t know what’s happening. Fortunately, there’s 20 other things going on at the same time: the cheerleaders, the band, the student section, the fans from the opposing team, the little girl in the next section having a meltdown, etc. Plus, when you’re with friends, you can unashamedly be yourself and yell irrelevant things just to add to the noise:

“5th DOWN!” *chortle*
“DONALD RUMSFELD!!” *chuckle*
“BENGHAZI!” *laughing harder*
“...too far, Julie.”
And then it’s half time and they’re paying tribute to the “Voice of the Purdue All-American Marching Band”, who’s retiring after SIXTY YEARS and the field is full of students and alumni. There’s fireworks and music and finally the school fight song and there are actual tears in your eyes. Your voice breaks on “...of all the days we’ve spent with you, all hail, our own Purdue!” and you feel the need to hug people and kiss babies. This is it, this is the feeling I came for. Despite every imaginable difference, the thousands of people in this stadium are united in this moment by one institution.
Well, with the exception of those Illini fans...
5. Wallow in nostalgia.
Ok but like, two people are missing. Katie and Suz, where are you?

After the game, my friends and I walked through the academic part of campus and it started to feel more familiar. Ah yes, good old Heavilon. In which we took all our English classes and once, Cassandra reminds me, a Bio lecture, when something suspicious started leaking through the ceiling in Lilly Hall.  Oh and there’s Stanley Coulter, where I waded my way through French and the Classics, with the professor who looked like he’d be more at home teaching at Hogwarts. And HSSE, my favorite third floor library hide-out. It had that classic smell of old books mixed with the musk of quiet desperation, a perfect place to agonize over finals.
This was my Purdue.  It wasn’t tailgating and football games, it was class schedules and studying and lunch dates at Oasis in the Union.  My Purdue was working shifts at my residence hall front desk on Saturdays.  My Purdue was res hall life and student governing boards and free pizza at callouts for clubs I had no intention of joining. My Purdue was no better or more profitable or more worthwhile than anyone else’s, but it was mine. And the places it overlapped with other people’s made it special.
6. Leave with new memories.
Good job us. Smiling like grown-ups, finally.

Perhaps my favorite part of the whole day was at the very end.  We went out to eat before parting ways but carpooled to the restaurant.  On our way back, six of us had to pile in Cassandra’s Kia Rio for the short distance to our cars.  Poor planning on my part left me stuffed in the middle of the back seat, underneath Suz, unable to reach into my pocket to retrieve my phone containing a map. I had almost completely lost my voice at that point and to make matters worse, I only had a vague idea of where the church lot was that contained my car.  In my haste to get to the game, it never occurred to me to pay attention to little details like the name of the church,  what it looked like, or even what street it was on.
We drove around for way longer than necessary, the others laughing helplessly at my feeble, squeaky shouted instructions. “Turn here! That’s it! No it’s not! Is it?”
7. Promise to not wait so long before the next time you visit.

The Boilermaker by Ross Ade Stadium

We found my car, eventually. Hugs all around, “drive safe!”, promises to meet up again soon. I smiled the whole way home. Oh Purdue, you giant, money-hungry, frustrating, wonderful, emotional, life-changing animal. I love you. I miss you. Please stop calling. Thanks for the memories. Thanks for the friends. Thanks for the education, I guess.

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