Disclaimer: I've had about 10 hours of sleep in the last two days, so this post is full of typos.
Last night I was reminded of how bizarro both life in general and college in specific can be. Before I explain why, let me post some updates:
* The weather has been gorgeous for several weeks now, but the last two days have been absolutely delicious: sunny, no wind, and 80 degrees. Yesterday Katherine and I walked in twinner outfits (stonewashed denim shorts, flip flops, and matching plaid shirts) to her professor's string quartet, a weekly ritual for us. Because I have the world's wimpiest feet, by about the halfway mark I not only had blisters, but open sores on my feet and was limping. These sores (insides of my toes, and the top of my right foot) hurt so bad I can't walk without hobbling. Nevertheless, the weather was too good to pass up, so after Katherine and I got back, we grabbed Chuck and went to the river. We laid on the shore for a bit, then braved the icy waters of the Yakima while trying to catch minnows and a crawdad (it was the size of my hand!).
* I've made friends. Yes, actual friends (leave it to me to wait until the last quarter of college to do so). Although I always make small talk with my classmates, this quarter I've managed to make legitimate friends with whom I speak regularly in and out of class. One of these friends (Jeremy) I actually met a year ago through my mate Adam, but nothing ever came of it until this quarter. The other (Clayton) I had a class with over the summer, but never met. Thanks to my friendly smile and the magic of Facebook, Jeremy and I speak daily/nightly in texts, and I speak to both of them on Facebook chat.
* I graduate in June. Because I've made friends, and because my siblings live here, and because Ellensburg is The Shit (except for the wintertime, when it's just shit), I am absolutely devastated about this. I went home to my mum's for Mother's Day, and couldn't sleep because I was so homesick for Ellensburg. Ellensburg has been my home for almost two years now, more so than any other place I have ever lived: because it is my home. It suddenly dawned on me last weekend that I had to, once again, pick up everything and relocate. And unlike my friends here, all of whom are from the area, whose parents went to college at Central, and whose children probably will as well, I have no ties to Ellensburg. Although I will definitely be coming back here for my siblings' graduations, and will probably come back on occasional weekends for visits and parties, I will basically never see Ellensburg again. In a fit of desperation I made an appointment to talk with my professor, Dr. Moore, about going to grad school here. There's nothing to be done for the next year, as I've missed all the deadlines, and his advice was that I go to the most prestigious university I can afford and study law. Although his advice was solid, and exactly in agreement with my own opinion, I walked home in tears after my meeting with him. I really, really love Ellensburg, and I really love this university. It's the usual sadness to be expected for anyone moving on in life, tinged with my bitterness at a fate I've long since resigned myself to but never truly accepted. I got home, frantically began researching law schools (the most prestigious being located well outside the Pacific Northwest) with the heaviest heart of longing I have had in years, and finally passed out from the stress and sadness that utterly consumed me. My only moments of ambition have emerged in times of conflict or loneliness. Although I am flattered when I am told by authority figures and "those who know" that I am not only capable of aiming high, but am capable of succeeding in those aims, ultimately the greatest desire of my heart is to simply have a place to call home.
* On a more positive note, and a more realistic one, moving on with life is never a bad thing. I have a multitude of options available to me if I truly desire to stay in the Northwest to be near to family and friends. University of Washington law school in Seattle is one of the top programs in the country, and with minimal effort on my part I have an excellent chance of getting in there. Continuing with my education with the understanding I have now - that there is no reason to rush, or be afraid - I will be able to make the most of that experience and take advantage of opportunities I was too busy and too frightened to pursue as an undergrad. Internships, study abroad, extracurriculars, clubs, and more importantly friends, are all things I not only overlooked but actively avoided over the last few years. I've learned to truly appreciate the value of these things, and the most important lesson I have learned is that attitude is everything. I came here planning to spend about a year finishing up my degree as soon as possible and then moving on. I didn't have furniture for almost a year, I didn't even spend time outside of class with a classmate until late spring, and lived my life with the idea that it was "only temporary," and telling myself that I would wait until life was more stable to make friends and "settle down." I do not want to live my life that way. Life itself is "only temporary" and I should be making the most of every second of it. Some of the most amazing people in my life were only in it for a brief moment, but with only one exception, I have never regretted meeting them.
My new friend Clayton and his house mates threw an end-of-year party last night. Although I don't enjoy parties, and am not particularly social, I was determined to show my appreciation for Clayton's friendliness (it was incredibly nice of him to invite me) by going. As luck would have it, my friend Anthony was also having a party last night, a semi-formal "Cock & Tail Party" (har har), so my Friday night was spent killing two social birds with one smokin' hot Valry. I was so nervous beforehand I felt sick, and I was trembling the entire time I was walking to his house. When I reached his street, I changed into my heals (I was wearing a dress for Anthony's party, but walked the mile across campus in flats so as not to kill my feet even more than I already had with the blistering flip flops) on the darkened sidewalk, then nervously tried to read house numbers.
I heard lots of partying at the house opposite where I was standing, so trying to suck up some semblance of courage, I crossed the street, managed to successfully navigate my way through the over-grown pathway to the door, and knocked. No one answered. I spent about 30 seconds in a blind panic of shame wanting desperately to leave immediately before anyone saw me looking like such a fool. Since Anthony's party didn't even start until 10 (and it was only about 9 PM), and since I did not want to disappoint Clayton (who had not only been nice enough to invite me, but was so understanding and not judgmental about my admitted shyness), I turned myself around and knocked again. I was greeted by two fellas on their way out.
I wandered through gossamered halls into the kitchen, trying desperately to look calm and casual despite being conspicuously overdressed and fearing that, since I couldn't see Clayton, that I wasn't even in the right house. However, he appeared as I was texting Katherine to let her know I made it safely, and after loudly introducing me to all of his friends, he led me to his room (where I could stash my coat and bag) and gave me a hug (which I needed!). I socialized as I normally do, with minimal effort on my part. The highlights of the party - other than people feeling sorry for me because they thought I'd taken Clayton's "Junior High Dance" party theme seriously and dressed up - were mutual feel-ups with a buxom extrovert named Bridgette, and the delightful company of a young man named Owen.
When I announced that I needed to go to my next party, Owen offered to walk me to Anthony's. After a slight detour (I walked a few blocks too far because I was distracted by my charming companion), we made it to Anthony's and I persuaded Owen to stay. After knocking and being greeted by an aggressively mocking drunken man, I led Owen into Anthony's unusually crowded, noisy, and dark house. Taking a brief moment to "dress up" Owen with my scarf, we managed to make our way into the kitchen. I got a big hug and a kiss from Anthony, was greeted by a surprising amount of people, many of whom I didn't know (which made me look like a big fat liar, after insisting to Owen that I didn't know anyone at the party), and after Anthony (in his adorably thoughtful manner) lent Owen a shirt and tie, I made myself at home in the kitchen.
A few hours of shouted conversation later, Owen and I decided to head out. Owen wanted to walk me home, but we instead decided to walk back to Clayton's, get Owen's car, and drive to my house so that he could sleep on my couch (he was only here visiting and didn't have a place to sleep). We watched a movie (i.e. talked non-stop for several hours), then he fell asleep (literally mid-conversation) on the couch and I woke up a few hours later to the sound of him leaving.
I have no idea why he felt it necessary to sneak out - or to leave at all. We got along great, had a lot of fun, and he didn't seem like he was trying to get in my pants (or that he was even interested in doing so), and I made it perfectly clear that he was welcome to make himself at home. Perhaps he was drunker than he seemed, and when he woke up he was freaked out and/or embarrassed to find himself on a stranger's couch. I'm determined to get Clayton to help me get ahold of him, if for no other reason than to find out why he sneaked out! Even though we didn't have sex, I still feel like it was a one-night stand, and I don't truck with that. He was a cool, polite, intelligent young man and I'd like to be friends with him.
1) Never show up early
2) Who the hell knocks??
3) Always have a drink in your hand, even if you aren't drinking it. Party people don't like non-drinkers, because they feel like they're being judged.
4) Never sit or stand outside of the group, and always keep yourself moving or talking. Party people don't like non-sociables, because they feel like non-sociables are shy.