Thursday, July 31, 2008

All Bottled Up

Here I am, in front of the computer when I should be tucked up in bed and fast asleep. Sleep eludes me, I'm afraid. I feel like I could cry, not out of sadness, but simply to release some of this emotion that has built up in my chest. I can feel it there, straining against my ribcage, an unnameable mix of emotions that has been layering itself up these past days. In seems as if I can hardly contain all of it, and at this moment I wish that I could temporarily banish every last thought in my head, just for some peace.
Anticipation and excitement are reaching near torturous levels. I feel that I am playing the same waiting game that every child goes through in the weeks before Christmas. At the same time, those emotions are accompanied by the same anxiety one gets when planning for a long trip; do I have everything I need? Have I done everything I need to do before I leave? There is too much to do. I am plagued by a desperate need to see and feel as much of my old life as I can before I have to leave it behind. I want to be with my family, my friends, my sweetheart, even the kids at Tae Kwon Do - I don't even work there anymore, and yet I want another afternoon with them. I don't even know how to fit it all in, I don't want to pass up anything even though I am bone tired. And even though the future is so bright and full of promise, I can't banish the small edge of sorrow that comes with realizing how things have to change, and how quickly time goes.
I am suspended in an odd limbo between old and new and I don't know what to do with myself. I manage periods of distraction but I always come back around to these feeling that have packed themselves into my body. They make me feel overwhelmed and a little helpless because all I can do is wait for things to clear, to settle just a little bit. In the meantime, I try to keep moving. At night, though, when I stop moving, that is when things catch up to me.
I might also add, that on top of all that, (and I am not entirely sure I should admit this here but...) I am so in love I can hardly think straight. And I think, God, summer is so beautiful.

So, that is where I am: tired, overwhelmed and emotionally needy. I did not anticipate this, but perhaps I should have. Any words of wisdom (or a story of a similiar transition or whatever you might have to share) would fall on welcome ears. It might make this post feel like more than just the self-absorbed rantings of an anxious college student.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

No Place Like Home

Well, I'm home.

Home at last. I landed in Charlotte late Monday night, after hours of sitting at airport gates and waiting for the moment I would be on home soil again. It was a joy to see the warm orange glow of the city below me, I must say. Coming home, I felt like Dorothy just back from Oz; it was a magical trip but there's no place like home.

Admittedly, coming home has been a slightly rougher transition than I had anticipated. It doesn't quite feel real yet, and I don't know how to act. Almost as soon as my feet hit the ground, I was plagued by the dizzying list of things I need to do between now and August 13th (aka moving day). My room is a mess, my clothes are still in my suitcase, everything I've bought for my dorm is piled up in room and I don't know what to do with it. I have phone calls to make, doctors appointments to set, checks to deposit, thank you notes to write, and so much cleaning to do. I don't know where to start, and really I'd just like my brain to leave me alone for maybe a day or two so I can recuperate all the energy lost in travel. I am so very tired.

As it is, though, I'm already having anxiety dreams about school starting again.

However, I also have to sat what a sweet relief to see those loved ones I left behind whilst gallivanting across the Midwest. I am trying very hard not to think that I am leaving them again in a few short weeks. I am not going quite so far this time, though, and that's something. It is very, very good to have these people to come back to.

And I think I shall end right there. That is a good note to end on.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mid-Travel Musings

Exhaustion is clouding my thoughts tonight (same as many of the past few nights), and I don't precisely know what I want to say. Only that the itch to write (which has been building over the past few days) has come over me, and will not be denied.

I am in Chicago. Again. It is very beautiful here, and there is so much to see and hear and feel. Once again the thought has passed through my brain that I might like to move here some day, just to get to know the city a little better. I have only been allowed snippets so far, but I love them. I grew up so far from the city that everything here fascinates me; the buildings, the cars, the people. The landscape pulses. Life in a house surrounded by woods and fields has a quiet richness that I will always love, but I am beguiled here.

I do love to travel. I love the newness of each thing, the unfamiliarity of a place, fresh experiences. I love being able to see family that I am so far away from most of the year. I will admit, however, that on a tired night I start to yearn for home. My bed, my roads, my places, my family, my sweetie. I feel the absence of these things more acutely the older I get. Yet in a few short weeks I must move and make a new place mine. I will have a new bed, new roads, new places. Fortunately I get to keep my people, even though I'll be adding new ones. At the moment college both excites and terrifies me, which is as it should be, I suppose. I got my room assignment today, and the name of my future roommate. Now that I finally have a name, I wonder what she is like. Does she have siblings? Is the the oldest? Youngest? Middle? What food does she hate? What does she love? What is her major? Will she be funny/kind/ambitious/sweet/annoying/thoughtful/gregarious/shy/silly/serious/crazy/wonderful...?

And I wonder if she is wondering the same things about me.

But all that comes later. Right now I think it is time to close my eyes, even though my fingers want to keep moving. I am very happy, and very tired, and I miss my home, and I love Chicago. 
Tomorrow I meet BAM!

Sunday, July 6, 2008


It fascinates me how memories can layer over a place, so that when you look at it you see not only the present, but so many other past moments that have built up over time and memory. Every summer when I return to my grandparents house it's that way - the same at their cottage by the lake, where so many summer weekends have been spent over the years. The cottage is especially strong that way, even though I only go there perhaps once a year. However, each time I go back it is miraculously unchanged: the place where time stands still. Memories have built up in that cottage, with it's thin walls, creaky floors, musty furniture, and leaky shower. I love that place inordinately, and golden memories of staying up late on the porch, going on long boat rides, and swimming in the lake with the sunshine pushing down on you like a living thing are all in front of my eyes when I go back there. I did all those same things this past weekend, added a few fresh memories; such as swimming in a freezing pool at ten o'clock at night, coloring and calling each other names, watching my grandparent's toy poodle swim frantically about in her life jacket, and watching two drunk men stumble out of the family restaurant laughing hysterically.
All in all, a marvelous weekend.

I am now dead tired from all that swimming and boating and long walks around the lake. When I am tired enough, and when I slow down enough, something cracks my shell of distraction. Suddenly, everything around me from the water, to the fireflies, to the young boys loitering on their bikes in the gas station parking lot, to the sun setting over the highway... it all seems achingly, heart-stoppingly beautiful. I am feeling the split in my heart that I mentioned earlier very painfully, I have to admit, but even that seems beautiful to me now. I love my family so dearly, and these precious, short times we get. I feel a little melancholy whenever we leave the lake, and close up the cottage. It feels like more than it is, it feels like the evanescence of our days all packed up into one small ritual: cover the furniture, clear out the fridge, lock the doors and windows. The weekend is over.

Better to have had it than not, though. I will always believe that.


My vacation here is going well. Soon I will be in Cleveland, with that half of the family. And more good news: I lucky enough to visit Chicago again soon. I am most delighted. Updates will come as I am able to post them.