It’s been a busy few days for me. Most of Northern Ireland is accessible by public bus, so I headed out to two different counties this weekend—County Down and County Armagh. County Down found me climbing the tallest peak in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard, and County Armagh had me eating apple cinnamon scones at the Apple Harvest Fayre.
I’m standing on a stage in Langroise, with my eyes closed, listening to a vibrant red-haired woman do all sorts of amazing things with her voice. And then, with the 20 other people surrounding me, trying to imitate her with varying degrees of success. With everything from Latin vocalizing to something that almost sounds like beatboxing, it’s unlike any choir class that I’ve experienced.
For the sake of…the sake…let’s ignore the fact that it’s been a month since I’ve written. My computer (AKA the moon and stars of my life) sort of went on a rogue rampage that ended when I finally was left with no choice but to put it down like it was Ol’ Yeller frothing at the mouth behind the storage shed. So I’ve been in a dark, emotional square dance the last few weeks and if I had updated the blog, it would have just been wistful ramblings of sadness and regret for a laptop that still had such a life to live.
This is my third Thursday in Belfast, and things are good. The hardest part of being here was getting here, so now that I’ve been on the ground for a few weeks, I’m feeling pretty settled and ready to get started.
Greetings from the international terminal of Chicago O’Hare. I’m currently sitting in the seating area for M11, my boarding gate for the Chicago-London leg of my trip. At the moment, I’m texting my best friend, who just sent me some cute animal pictures, and pretending that I wasn’t just #publiccrying a little bit. I’m also trying to pretend that I didn’t buy a $6 yogurt parfait from Starbucks, but there’s only so much I can lie to myself.
I think it’s time we give a little credit where credit is due, our COI Outdoor Program is the actual best thing ever. They send us off on wild adventures into the great unknown for a small and college-kid capable fee, and bring us back safe and sound to boot. Case in point, the first outing we’ve had this year, whitewater rafting along the beautiful Payette River. The whole day was perfect; we slathered on sunscreen and loaded onto the buses at noon, and spent the two-hour drive catching up and napping (but mostly napping) alongside all of the friends we haven’t seen all summer long.
I've learned several things in the past few days. I've learned that there are worse things in life than having an unusable laptop for 72 hours. I've learned that no one is a harsher critic than that person in your mirror. I've learned that a hot dog can be a sandwich if you believe in yourself and follow your dreams.
But most importantly, I've learned that the future is soon. In fact, it may have arrived completely unheralded, as if it had rolled out of bed at noon on a Saturday and waltzed over to the cafe in sweatpants and an old t-shirt.
It’s the first day of school at C of I, and I’m not there. Instead of heading to class, I’m trial packing my suitcases to see if I can indeed, fit five months worth of clothes, shoes, and dorm items into two suitcases. So far, so good. I guess this means that I’ve been grossly over packing for the last three years; when I moved out from the Village last spring, it took three carloads.