In college, you learn stuff. That’s kind of the whole point. You learn and learn and then, suddenly, you’re in the real world and you have a job and wife named Helen and a dog with three legs that you guys rescued from the shelter and you eat kale a lot and watch shows with Tim Allen and find them funny, for some reason.
If you’ve clicked onto this to read that means that you have some interest in/ have decided to do the study abroad program in London! YAY! Go you, you amazing person, because this is going to be one of the absolute best decisions of your life and you are going to love every single moment of it.
I am officially back in the Treasure Valley. I’m just not officially back on campus yet. I have started to schlep my belongings over to the Village, one carload at a time, but I’m not sleeping there, which is what I consider the threshold for being officially back.
Before I flew in on Sunday, I finished up whatever it was I was doing in Ireland, stopped in London, went to the Queen’s house, and then hit up Sundance. Somehow I neglected to visit Florida. But my best friend went, and brought me back a Hemingway magnet, which is almost as good.
On Friday morning, 15 people and entirely too much luggage packed into a white van. It was a very tight fit – knees practically up to our chests, feet resting on suitcases, practically every inch of arm and leg touching the people on either side. But we didn’t care. We were excited. We couldn’t wait to leave.
The drive down to Utah was uneventful, just cramped. We napped, we sang some random oldies that were on the radio, and talked about the films we were going to see and what we were going to do in our free time.
As a writer, my job is to simply just be in the presence of cool things—I mean, think about it. JK Rowling didn’t really go to Hogwarts, she just wrote the biography of its problematic wunderkind.
So, I’m not too alarmed by how insanely cool my friends are—maybe a little intimidated or a little bit in awe. But definitely not alarmed. They are over there, doing their thing, and I’m over here, with my glasses and my notebook and my frumpy sweaters.
When you first move into the dorms, and you have your first fire drill, there is always a dark thought in the back of your mind. They tell you the fire alarm could go off at any time and you should always be prepared. Be ready to go outside at a moment’s notice – don’t take anything except your keys, just go because the dorm could be about to collapse. When they tell you that everyone always thinks, but what if I’m in the shower? Of course, you have to go outside anyway, no matter what.
Well, I’m still here. In Belfast, that is. While many people finish up their study abroad and are ready to start up school again in the winter, I’m on a different track. I keep getting emails from C of I people welcoming me home, and have to answer them with a deferral, explaining that I actually won’t be back until Spring term. Not that I mind, I like getting C of I emails. It reminds me that I have a spot waiting for me.
Let me just say that at first, I was not ready to come back to school after break. Don’t get me wrong – I love winter term. It’s just that this break seemed so…short. Maybe that’s because I slept for at least half of the first week I was home, but probably not. Or maybe because I wasn't looking forward to leaving for Paris once I got back. But anyway, now that I’m back, I’m starting to get into the swing of things again.
Sure, there are a lot of things that you can count on me for—unnecessary Star Trek trivia, poorly-timed slow clapping, lofty sarcastic asides, etcetera, etcetera—but, when the going gets tough and you find yourself without a pulse, do not call me. Unless you want the last thing you hear in this lifetime to be my indifferently sighed “ah, jeez, that’s gross.”