Summer Vacations Are Over


I just realized I’ll never have three solid months off for the summer ever again. And if we’re being totally honest, I’m not that sad about that. I never really loved summer vacation.

I grew up in a pretty rural area, but it wasn’t so rural that everyone else lived in a rural area….if that makes sense… Basically, I lived on 8.5 acres and my neighbors lived far away, but just a couple miles down the hill was a large development where tons of people lived pretty close to one another. We all went to school together, but I didn’t live close enough to them to spend hours upon hours every day making friends. I was a little bit of an outsider. While they all walked to each other’s houses every day in the summer, I stayed home with my sister and played in the yard, or did work in the little orchard we had, or made up stories by myself. My parents worked a lot, though they definitely did make efforts for me to have play dates with the other kids. It just wasn’t the same as living ten feet away from your best friend like all of the other kids did.

So my childhood was a little different from most kids’. I never minded much when I was little, because I didn’t realize there was an alternative. It helped me learn to entertain myself, and I got really comfortable being alone with my thoughts, which I think is super important and a little rare these days. I transferred to a high school in town when I was 14, and the same thing happened — I didn’t live near any of my friends, wasn’t able to just drop by. I loved high school and was really happy, so this wasn’t much of an issue, it was just different. My house was never the meeting place, because my house involved a 20 minute drive out of town.

Sometimes I drive through neighborhoods and see all the kids riding their bikes together, or walking to a corner mart, or just playing outside on someone’s lawn. I don’t know if I wish I’d had that childhood, really. It would’ve been nice to be able to be more social if I’d wanted, to have the typical high school experience you see in the movies where the best friend drops by all the time. But honestly, I’d be a different person. Those sorts of experiences change and shape you in ways we never really expect, so I don’t know who I’d be today. I’m sure I’d be lovely, but I happen to enjoy myself at the moment and I’m not terribly willing to change that.

So I didn’t care much for summer vacation, because summer vacation meant a lot of time alone. I’ll bet if I had those three months now I could find some really awesome things to do with some pretty awesome people, but I’m so excited to start my new job and make friends in this new city that there’s little that could make me want three months off of school or work.

It’s nice to be excited like this.

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I Live in Mist


What is it about weather that inspires us to write? More specifically, why are we always moved by rain? I suppose rain symbolizes new beginnings as it cleans the streets and helps the crops and flowers grow. I think there’s something more, some other reason that we like to write poems and songs and entire novels about rain. But I have a feeling that by the end of this particular post, that reason will remain a mystery to me.

It’s absolutely pouring here. Monsoon status rain outside my window…and I don’t take monsoon rains lightly, having been caught in several during my stay in India…but I don’t think I’ve ever seen rain this powerful in this tiny little town, and I just love it. All my windows are open, and I went outside on my tiny porch to feel the mist on my face. It’s just…wonderful. It made me write.

I’m scared and anxious lately because I move out of my college town in three days, and within a few weeks will be living in Portland. I want everything to be for sure: I want a nice, cheap apartment in a good part of town. I want a job (literally any job). I want to be happy there. I want to know things about my future in Portland, but unfortunately that’s the weird part about making plans for the future…you never really know anything until it becomes the present. It’s exciting, all those unknowns, but in another sense it’s really really not. It’s just terrifying.

I went to India basically on a whim. I mean, I was heavily invested in going, and I researched a lot, but there’s no way to be prepared for what India presents you with. I just sort of showed up, very white and very naive, with a lot of sunscreen and Pepto Bismol in my suitcase. And I was fine. I survived. I got e. Coli, which was absolutely horrific and not really an experience I’d recommend to a friend, but I totally survived. And I loved my time in India. Every experience was new and exciting, every conversation challenging and beautiful.

So I guess I just need to pretend that this massive new step in my life is like traveling to India. It’ll probably be easier, now that I think of it. I’m relocating from one town in the Pacific Northwest to another (albeit much larger) city. My apartment was dingy, plain, and randomly full of tiny lizards in India…wherever I live in Oregon will be a step up. I’ll have my health. I’ll have a fantastic roommate who cares about me and will look out for me if needed. I’ll have every new opportunity I could ever imaging presenting itself to me, all while wearing the cool vibe of Portlandia…

I’m still terrified. But maybe I can be terrified in a way that at least puts things into perspective. I had this same mini-panic a few weeks before I went to India…this time last year, actually. I just sat there and thought, “I cannot do this.” But I did it. I’m kinda awesome.

It’ll be more than fine. This new part of my life is going to be epic. 

You guys, I figured it out. Just now, totally unexpectedly as a breeze ran through the window I’m sitting next to: it’s rain smell. Rain smell, combined with all those other cleansing qualities and new opportunities that rain represents. It’s rain smell that inspires us, with its woody, green notes and crisp coldness. No matter where I travel, rain smells like the Pacific Northwest. Even when I was in India, rain brought me home.

India


So uh…in case you guys were wondering…

I’M GOING TO INDIA.

This summer. Study abroad. INDIAAAAAAAA. Whatevs.

I found out today while I was studying for an exam (I may have been so heavily caffeinated that upon receiving the email I had an excitement- and caffeine-induced seizure in the library) and was immediately distracted, so I walked home to shake off some of the jitters. After studying a bit more at my apartment, I made the mistake of taking a study break and looking at some of the documents I was given about traveling abroad/housing info/class registration/plane tickets/visa info/don’t get malaria/this is gonna be a huge culture shock and…

Now I’m super overwhelmed. Super super excited, but also super overwhelmed. I have to constantly remind myself (seriously, every three seconds) that I have time to deal with all the paperwork and that I should just allow myself to be happy I got into the program and now it’s time to study for my test.

YOU GUYS. I’M GOING TO INDIA. I. AM. SO. HAPPY.

This must be what doing cocaine feels like. Except…not? I don’t know, my test tomorrow is for my drugs and alcohol class, so maybe if I was studying I’d know what the effects of cocaine are. Oops.

I’ve gone insane. The caffeine hasn’t worn off yet. To prevent myself from further embarassment, I’ll just stop here, but I’ll leave you with this lovely gem:

There’s an SNL episode in which Zac Effron explains the differences between attending a musical high school and actual college. He talks about a song he made up called “nervous but excited” and that song needs to be written (probably by me) because it’s exactly how I feel about India. Nervous, but excited.

So yeah, click here for the clip of that…

Love you all! Wheeeee!