Thursday, April 23, 2009

Letting Go Great Gatsby Style

There is always a magical feeling when summer is in the air. Winter’s icy edge is almost gone; only a harsh breeze might dare remind you of those cold months. Spring’s sun warms your face, but it too has an edge. This thought crossed my mind last weekend when I was actually hot for the first time all season.

The past two weeks we have been blanketed by gloomy clouds and sporadic rainstorms that always began at the worst possible moment. But last Sunday, at least for a few hours, warm weather made a brief appearance.
Floppy hat? Check.
Puffy dress? Check.
Ribbon? Check.
I stomped around my messy room throwing items of clothing into a duffle bag. My mental check list had become hazy, so I just assumed everything had been packed. Several of us CNU students were headed to Annapolis, Maryland for a weekend and we were preparing to leave in ten minutes. I am always grateful that I’m a fast packer because procrastination has become the norm.
Packing for the trip to Maryland
Why the hats, dresses, stockings, and ribbon? Each year Annapolis has a croquet match between St. John’s College and Navy, two prominent schools in the city. Most attendants dress as though they have walked out of the pages of “The Great Gatsby,” with old-fashioned outfits and accessories. Of course I wanted to play along, and so did the rest of the CNU crowd.
When we arrived ten minutes before one o’clock that Sunday afternoon, more than a thousand people covered St. John’s main lawn. Tents were lined along the edges of the three croquet matches, and smells of alcohol and grilled food mixed together into a wonderful aroma that reminded me of summer cookouts and lazy days of adolescence, when the biggest decision one had to make all day was what bathing suit to wear. Maybe that seems spoiled to say, but the existence of an imaginative 13 year old who “never wanted to grow up” is long gone. Yet the chance to relax and disappear into a pretend world had presented itself once again. My nostalgic mind was captivated.
The group of CNU students dresses for croquet
I was in a new atmosphere, but felt at home and comforted by the pleasant environment. Thoughts of papers, speeches, and exams slipped from my mind until these concerns were hardly even present. Yearning to live in a world with no responsibility would be inexcusable, but letting go for an afternoon can be so beneficial.

More Photos from the Weekend's Events:

"Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


Monday, April 13, 2009

Soup of the Day

“How’s the form?”
“Good, but I have a mouth on me…”

My sister and I huddled around the computer, reading through Irish vocabulary. We scanned several pages of interesting slang, and spoke with our best Irish accents, which, by the way, were horrible.

As I looked at the foreign phrases and words, a thought occurred to me: I may not be speaking a different language, but I will definitely still be learning the strange vernacular of another country. Since I am staying with a host family, their way of speaking will be native and left unhindered. Maybe after eight weeks, I will be able to produce a better Irish accent and become indifferent to the phrase “can I bum a fag?”

Easter was this weekend so I packed my duffle, filled a garbage bag full of laundry, and drove down 64W towards Richmond. The sun warmed me and my roommate through the open sunroof and windows. Good hair days were forgotten and we ventured home happily, aided by music and laughter.

After the service that Sunday at church, my youth minister from high school approached me. Mom had told him about my adventure to Ireland for next summer. White hair covered his head, and glasses rest on his nose. He is over six tall, and throughout high school could be quite intimidating. But now I can only see him for his smiles.

“Dublin!? Oh Ireland. Need someone to carry your bags or something while you’re over there?”

I explained the internship and my plans. You could see him mentally constructing a list of tips and advice he had discovered from his trip there.

“Get the soup. I’m a picky eater, and the soup…,” he winked and gave a thumbs up. “Can’t go wrong with the soup.”

This is the kind of advice I need - something practical and easy to remember. Now every pub I eat at, I’m going to ask their soup special of the day.

A cup of chicken noodle? No. Just coffee...which, by the way,
I hear in Ireland, they drink tea. Oh dear.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Step Back in Time

"Ok...put your hand here. Yes like that...look at me, but a little above me...perfect." Click, Click....Click "Alright, the light is great is right here...oh I am so excited for these!" Click...Click "Steph, can you fix her dress...yes, that's great. Stay right there."

Two of my roommates buzzed around me, lipstick and camera in hand. We were standing near an old theater in the historic Hilton Village of Newport News. And I was loving the chance to play dress-up.

Katelyn James, my roommate and wonderful photographer, had seen a blog with old timey pictures she was sure she could emulate. Because I love everything from the past, and feel as though I may have been born in the wrong decade, I of course volunteered with her little project.
Katelyn was able to practice some new poses, while I got to have fun!

Her wedding photography business, Inspired Designs, is linked on this page if you would like to take a look at more from our photo shoot or her pictures from previous customers. It truly was a fun afternoon, and I am so proud of my loving roommate who has already run with her passions.
Thanks Katelyn!

Photo By: Katelyn James
(you can click photos for bigger image)


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Update: Adventures in Ireland

It looks as though I’ll be on my way to Dublin this June 28th! Tickets were purchased today, and plans about my host family and company are in the making… For those of you just tuning in, I have received the opportunity to complete an internship in Ireland for two months this summer in the field of Journalism or Communications. YAY.
“But I don’t know where I should sit!?”
“Sit near an exit…that way you can bail if you need to.”
“Nate…that does not help my fear of flying.”
“Just saying…”
“And am I really going to ‘bail’?!
“I would.”
“Yeah…me too.”
I am not petrified of flying, but this will be my first flight by myself… and I’m going overseas. Yikes. Even so, while choosing my seats with a friend in the library today, I was not completely consumed by nerves. The prospect of immersing into another culture for 8 weeks, plus receiving an internship, could not be more thrilling. And since these tickets are nonrefundable, there is no turning back now…
I will use this blog throughout the summer to keep in touch with all of my family and friends back in “The States.” Hopefully I will provide updates (at least weekly) so you can experience my adventures with me. As they say in Ireland, Slan!

Keem Bay: Maybe I'll be here...

Photo by William Manning/CORBIS