33 Saints. 7 cars. 4 days. 2,200 miles round trip.
One goal, and that was to show our support for our Men's and Women's teams at the NCAA DIII Cross-Country Nationals at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
We left St. Lawrence Thursday afternoon after everyone was out of classes and drove Buffalo for the first night. We slept in a ski lodge in sleeping bags, and at 1 AM we awake to this tapping from outside the windows. There were these two men with face masks, a crow bar and giant screw driver outside the lodge window! It was terrifying; a lot of the girls began panicking and wanting to call the police. A few of the guys got up to investigate and of course, it was only two other guys who thought it would be funny to insue chaos. After we all finally calmed down, we left the lodge at 8:30 Friday morning for Iowa.
It's funny... we drove to Iowa. I can't figure out why stating that is so laughable; perhaps because it's basically halfway across the continental United States? Because Iowa is one huge, rolling cornfield? That the desolate highways are straight out of movies that involve cowboys and body-dumping?!
Honestly once we drove through Ohio, the mid-west states seemed fairly close together. Sitting on Interstate-90 we saw things like "The World's Largest Truck Stop" (it's legit-- saw it once on the Travel Channel) and one of our cars accidentally went in to Chicago, rather than around! However, I had never been farther West than Chicago (being in Californian airports as a baby does not count), so this road-tripping was truly one big adventure :). My car was one of the first to reach the hotel in Waverly at 11:30. We fit 11 people in our room.. and there was that many in the rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floor as well. There was no room, nor energy, to be a diva about it. Haha, that car did eventually make it-- at 2 AM central time, 3 AM Eastern! With the team all together, we headed over to Wartburg College the Saturday morning. The bitter wind was whipping across the course, which was basically loops on a field behind a housing development. Our cheering section was one of several who trekked out to Nationals to wear their colors and encourage their teams. The Saints XC tradition is to don capes with the St. Lawrence shield, along with XC insignia and our mottos "Gung-Ho" and "Joust" (for the men's team). What an exhiliarating rush to be there supporting our 14 teammates that were running amongst some of the fastest collegiates in the country!
Our men's team placed 3rd overall, with one of them placing 4th and several others in the top 35. That was their best finish since 1986! On the women's side, my senior captain won the Division III Championship-- again! That was a thrill to watch, she ran so strongly and truly deserved it. The team as a whole didn't do as well as predicted but I was still unbelievably proud of what they've done this season. After the race we switched to their hotel (sneaking in) and celebrated. We were back on the road again at 6:40 AM Sunday, with 16 hours on the road. It really wouldn't have taken that long had one of our cars not sputtered down in Indiana D: ... haha, we think it was a transmission problem and it had to be towed. Luckily we had less people driving back than driving there, so consolidating wasn't an issue. Everyone was back in Buffalo Sunday night by 11. Monday morning all we had to do is drive an hour east on I-90, and there my parents were at a thruway exit 30 minutes from my house to pick me up! I was home by 11 AM :).
Monday returning from the road trip was a nap and settle-in-type day. That night some of my best friends came over to visit! We drank tea and caught up. Tuesday morning I woke myself up at 7:30 to get a head start on my homework so my mother would see my initiative and allow me to go out—which worked, because I spent the afternoon with my friend Megan going to her classes at a community college. It was awesome finally meeting her friends, and now I have faces to put to the names she tells us about! Haha in the school lobby their were clay and feathers for turkeys so I made a St. Lawrence one :P
Wednesday I went out to the Salvation Army with my mom in the morning. I like Wednesdays because all the apparel is half-off except for those with green tags. I held up the dressing room but scored some diverse clothing!! I bought a nautical dress (which I hemmed to make it more mini-dress length), a Forever 21 grey shirt with a leopard (party apparel), a belted beige trench coat (out of season, but will be put to use someday) and this totally legit pale yellow, après ski-esque pullover that is probably straight out of the eighties. I know the phrase “legit” is obnoxious, but honestly that was the first phrase that came to mind when I saw it!
After that we hustled off to Kohl’s for a bit and then she dropped me off at Starbucks, where I met up with two of my other best friends! We gushed over coffee (pumpkin spice latte, Starbucks ‘perfect’ oatmeal) and then went to watch Harry Potter. Now, I am not one who frequents the theatre because I despise spending $8 to sit in an uncomfortable, crowded room watching a movie that I may or may not like. But obviously I knew Harry Potter was worth it, so no second-guessing that. I found the film a thrill to watch. I enjoyed it much more I think because I haven’t read the book in a few years, and I couldn’t remember certain plot details that were omitted to be critical of. The pace was hurried—I really, really wish they would just make the film an epic-length—and the first half ended a lot later than I predicted. Which was bad because it was hurried, yet good because the second half should be explosive and stunning. Agh, when the movie ended I just moaned because I knew we would all have to wait…until July. All in all, I loved it; each successive movie has improved and the talent is just unbelievable.
Uhh, but did anyone else think Ron’s Horcrux hallucination in the woods was…unnecessary? I didn’t think Harry and Hermione had to be naked to convey the jealousy. Awkwardddd.
Once Harry Potter ended we bummed around the mall. No doubt I enjoy going through clothes at the stores there, but I don’t have the same desire to buy everything off the rack. I have loads more fun investigating the Salvation Army, and I have the moral satisfaction that I am reducing my negative global impact by recycling clothing. It A) prevents waste from accumulating, B) supports charitable efforts in my region, C) does not support increased water, carbon and labor consumption that new clothing does and D) is cheap. Of the clothing I bought that morning, only the grey shirt was half-off, but the total was still under $13!
However, at the mall I never hesitate to hang out in Teavana. I literally just stand there, examining in awe at all the expensive tea pottery that I lust to own, and sample all the tea. It’s love.
Thursday was Thanksgiving!!! No surprise there, it was cool being with my family yet at the same time nothing exciting ever happens. At dinner I urged everyone to seriously state one thing they were thankful for, but everyone was frustratingly uncooperative. That’s the one thing I can’t stand about my brothers and sisters: I never feel like they take me seriously. I’m not sure when or how that will change…In any case, I was still thankful to be with them. And for butternut squash and pumpkin pie. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dinner dish? I personally grow weary of turkey after day two, but I found these revamp-your-leftovers type recipes such as turkey cranberry quesadillas and onion soup made with turkey stock. If my mom ends up freezing some of the turkey for winter break, I’ll bust it out then and try it.
Friday I did not participate in wretchedly early shopping madness. Simply was not feeling it this year.
I did homework, hung out with a group of friends, went to Target later in the afternoon with my parents, ate a super-late birthday dinner with them at this amazing steak house, then went to another friend’s house to see more people. I love them all!!! I’m quite pleased with the number of people I was able to spend time with because this break was a whirlwind of plans.
Saturday I did homely things: cleaned the barn, packed my college stuff, sat on the computer, listened to Kid Cudi and my former science teacher’s steel drum band (she’s a very interesting woman), baked cookies and scones and hemmed the dress that I bought. That was the only full day I wasn’t able to get out and see people other than my parents. I was a little stir-crazy.
Now it’s Sunday, and I’m back at school. It was a very satisfying break and I am re-charged for the next three weeks of academic mayhem. I can’t wait to hear how everyone’s vacation was—including yours! :D
Listening: "To Kingdom Come", Passion Pit
Upcoming: pictures of the thrift buys, Border's packages