It’s been a long time, friends. I spent last semester abroad at Cardiff University in Wales, getting rained on, exploring castles at dawn:
taking up jiu-jitsu:
bonding with sheep:
venturing into the world of clubbing (twice)… (note my facial expression) :
eating that fine British cuisine:
learning to cook my own food (quelle horror) :
wearing holes in shoes:
and going places I’ve always dreamed of:
It was, altogether, an incredible experience, and I followed it up closely with another adventure: the Camino de Santiago! One of my oldest friends got a grant from her university to walk a medieval pilgrimage trail across Northern Spain (500ish miles, though we only walked around 400 miles because of time constraints) and I joined in! I could write a book about the things we did, and saw, and said, and ATE, and the fantastic and slightly deranged people I met, but I’ll just have to summarize and say it was probably the coolest and best thing I’ve ever done.
Once I got back, I spent most of the summer sequestered in a library at Yale, researching my senior thesis and trying to reacclimate to American money, streets that are shaped like grids rather than a pile of spaghetti, speaking English, walking fewer than 18 miles a day, and thinking academic thoughts.
And now I’ve been back to Swarthmore for a week, snuggled in my single, (with Miriam as my next door neighbor rather than my roommate) trying to get used to a non-nomadic lifestyle. With all the traveling I did from January til July, I racked up a total of 57 beds that I spent a night in–– less scandalous than it sounds, I swear. It feels like I’m finally being able to stop moving, which is ultimately bittersweet.
It’s also wildly untrue. I’m taking 5 classes, and I doing too many clubs because I love them all too much to quit, I have friends and professors to visit with, and I have papers to write and problem sets to solve. But in a way, this feeling of having a thousand balls in the air is really comforting to me. I know they’ll all get juggled.
Going away taught me what a Swattie I am, begging professors to let me write papers on topics I had thought of, rather than the ones assigned, and bringing up too many details in my answers in class. And when you’ve climbed the Pyrenees and walked across Spain on a sprained ankle, when you’ve thrown 6 foot tall rugby players over your shoulder, when you’ve navigated yourself around 11 UK cities and 4 other countries, you feel pretty capable.
Senior year’s here. The Graduate has been watched, I “booed” whenever Benjamin Braddock said, “I’m worried about my future.” I have a document on my computer titled “Senior Thesis.” I make dinner plans with Hannah and Miriam and Linda, Quitterie and I gossip about Mass and get lunch together. My friends and I treat the Big Chair as our jungle gym. Everything feels like the beginning of the end of the beginning.
This is going to be a good year.