Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Adirondacks and Bread Loaf

This is going to be a brief post because I left my MacBook charger at my uncle's house in Essex. He called to inform me of this as my ferry disembarked that would take me across Lake Champlain from New York to Vermont. The charger is en route to Bread Loaf as I write (via US Postal Service) and should arrive tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm trying to use my laptop sparingly.

So here I am, in Vermont and back at Bread Loaf. I'm happy to see friends and familiar faces and to have the structure of attending classes and serving meals (I have a job as a waitress in the dinning hall). It's been a rainy first 24 hours, but perfect weather for building a roaring fire in the 5-foot wide fireplace. Classes start tomorrow.

I feel ready to get to work partly because I had a week in the Adirondacks visiting my dear Uncle Louis and Aunt Jani and spending time with old friends. It's always a fun and very beautiful place to be.

In the interest of brevity, here are two highlights from the week.

With Maddie, Jani and Louis in Essex.

With my friend Christine at the Keene farmer's market.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

NYC and Anthony

OK, I lied in my last blog post. My work has not yet started. I actually have almost an entire week before I need to be in Vermont. As I left Iowa, I was anticipating the exhaustion of traveling but seemed to forget that I like traveling and I love New York City.

At 22 years old, I often felt that, while I loved New York, I would never make it there. My brother Anthony spent many of his college vacations visiting me. We would trudge around trying to find cheap things to do. He joined me for a brief reunion to recreate our typical excursion.

Five years later, we both felt like we could take on NYC by the balls. (See the picture below.)
Random tourist taking his turn.
Anthony and I relived one of our marathon walks.
We started at the bottom of the island.
And stopped by my very first apartment.
And C Town where we bought staples —
beans, rice, eggs and sometimes Oreos.
And then Central Park...
we covered a lot of ground.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Goodbye Iowa, hello work

I leave Iowa this week and head East — first to New York and then to Vermont. I'll spend a few days with friends in the City and a week in the Adirondacks with my uncle and aunt. Then, I'll start my summer coursework at the Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, Vt.

I'm ready. Almost all my books are read for a seminar on Virginia Woolf and a class on representations of Moors in Renaissance literature. I have one and a half books to go, which I plan to finish while traveling.

I'm also hesitant. Once I leave Iowa, I will be working almost continuously until next Christmas. There's a very short break between Bread Loaf and my fall semester at Missouri. The work will be rigorous. I leave relaxed and rested, with a little regret that my break is drawing to a close.

A field of wildflowers in Marshalltown, Iowa.
I've soaked up as much beauty and sun as I could
 to fortify myself for the coming months.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Iowa is home

Iowa has become the place I call home. My family moved to Cedar Falls when I was nine, and it took a long time to feel rooted in Iowa soil. But, the more I move and travel, the more tied to Iowa I feel.

In fact, I'm proud to claim Iowa as my home. I feel like the people of Iowa are generous, honest and hardworking — all characteristics that I aspire to have. 

Iowa is also the place where I get to see some of the people who are most dear to me. This past weekend, my best friend from grade school came back to Iowa for a visit. We've been friends for 18 years. (That makes me feel old!)
Whitney became my very first friend in Iowa...
18 years later.
Our time together was short because I needed to drive my father to the Cedar Rapids airport. (He's attending a symposium in Rio de Janeiro.) Then, I went on to Iowa City to spend time with my sister Catarina and her JJ — another brief but delightful visit. Here's a little review of our morning. 
Deluxe coffee shop
JJ needed a little caffeine after hosting a beer tasting
of his homebrew the preview night.
Cappuccinos and breakfast
Miles practices delayed gratification.
After dropping Cat off at dental school, JJ, Miles and I went to the lake.
Miles worked off his muffin with a little fetch.
He had some company in the shallows. Fortunately, this guy kept to himself.
My time in Iowa is drawing to a close. Next week I'll head East. If the past three weeks are any indication of the summer to come, I can't wait.