Monday, October 31, 2011

On Omaha.

"We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be."
-excerpt from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

My venture to Omaha was one of those weekends that you really cling to. The laughter, the stories, the familiar discourse with a close friend who has only been a voice on a phone lately. The new places, the walking outside, the fall air, the cobblestone, the new faces and unique chat. The man from Georgia dressed up as Julius Caesar who told me that he "finally found someone he had a connection with" and that connection was with me, someone who had arrived just as quickly as she would leave.

It's truly a wonderful thing to be able to have someone (in my case, multiple someones) who will go with my bits. My stories. My make-believe lands. It's even easier for this to happen when you're together. I'm a person who communicates with my entire body - lots of arm and hand gestures and I get told that my eyes give me away almost instantly. Therefore, phone chat is not nearly as fulfilling as personal, real human interaction. Skype is a healthy alternative, but still only a snapshot.

I'm lucky because I have a lot of friends who have stayed around the cities post-college graduation, but there are still many friends who have challenged themselves to leave and are striving in their new worlds. There are also friends I knew from circumstances besides college who were never in Minneapolis. By catching up, in person, I've realized how much gets missed over the phone.

Life offline is different for my generation. Even when we are out experiencing things - pumpkin patches, new coffee shops, concerts - we are tweeting, updating our Facebook statuses, posting photos, letting others know who we are with. We are never truly disconnected. I'm going to go so far as to say that we don't necessarily know how to be disconnected anymore. It's natural for me to tweet what I'm doing. It's even more natural for me to take a photo of it and send it up to that 140-character land for others to see.

This weekend there were wonderful conversations that tended to circle around our lives post-graduation. Our futures. Our plans. Our ideal. It's hard to know exactly what that is and it's hard to know that sometimes our present isn't what we thought it would be. For the longest period of time, I had this expectation that graduating from college would set me up for life. Somewhere in between then and now I forgot to exactly qualify what that meant. We get caught up in our online and real worlds, our twitter conversations, celebrity gossip, acting cool, that we forget to take a deep look at what our next goal is.

Thankfully I also have friends in my life who let me reflect on this with them. I laughed a lot this weekend. I made many new friends, judged a costume contest, searched for Anna in a corn maze, walked on cobblestone paths like Roz Russell and Ava Gardner, had fun with a horse named Henrietta, and heard a cute little boy scolding his brother with the words "this ain't no joke talk!" It was refreshing and fantastic. Here's to more like it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three months and many thoughts.

Tomorrow I'm taking one of my last big road trips of the season. After the long, exhausting but  thrilling and motivating camps I ran this summer, I got over 60 hours of comp time. (Lots of late nights, no sleep, and reminding myself to take deep breaths, but of course, it was all worth it.)

The comp time expires at the end of October, so in these past couple of months, I've been fortunate enough to travel home (SD), and to Denver, CO, Phoenix, AZ, Marcell, MN, Fargo, ND, and will be on my way to Omaha, NE at this time tomorrow!

I've stayed either with friends, family or at my friend's grandparents cabin in all of these instances. It's been so wonderful getting to reconnect with people. I typically travel to visit people in the summer. Now, with this job, my "new normal" will be late summer/early fall travel. It's honestly been wonderful and I know how fortunate I am to be able to do so. With the exception of Phoenix (where it was 114-120 degrees the whole time), it's been the perfect, warm but not-too-warm weather.

I've been able to soak up the vitamin D I had been lacking over the summer, eat delicious food, and explore new cities with really wonderful hosts. I have a lot of really great people in my life who have been opening their doors to take me in for an odd weekend and I hopefully have brought a little something to their lives as well.

My car and I have become very close. (I got a new car, did I tell you all that?) Anyways, with the subscription I had three free months of SiriusXM. My free subscription ended early August and I honestly did not know what to do with myself. I had gotten so used to having music at my fingertips no matter where I was - the middle of nowhere or in the city driving to work. I opted to get a 6-month subscription, knowing all of the travel and driving I would be doing this fall  (and full disclosure: the 4 times they called me; I'm a sucker for persistence.) It's been a lifesaver. In my previous car, I did not even have a CD player - now I have a CD player, USB hookup and SiriusXM. You're welcome to join me for a drive anytime.

I'm not sure if it's because I've never driven to Omaha from Minneapolis, or because I get to have a fun weekend in a new city, but I'm really looking forward to this drive. It will be a bit warmer, but still fall. I will get to take a big deep breath of fresh air and get away from the past few weeks (lots of events and conferences.) And most of all, I will get to hang out with a friend I haven't seen in a few months! I think it'll be invigorating.

As things are starting to slow down again for me, I'm hoping to be around here more often. Thanks for bearing with me during these past few crazy months and for all of the well wishes on camp! I'd never been in charge of 200 people at a time before - and I did it for two weeks straight! It's something I'm really looking forward to recreate again next year.

Have a happy day!