(Excuse the bad pun.)
I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in so long, but I’m afraid today marks the end of a rather long string of goodbyes.
Such things can be emotionally taxing, which is why I decided it was best to write an all encompassing post instead of pulling you through the roller coaster that has been my emotional state.
So I did what I always do when any form of “the end” approaches: wrote letters to the people I’ll miss the most. Several people were surprised, to which I usually used the line, “Well, I am a writer. It’s what I do.” But it’s more than that. It’s the only way I know how to most clearly express how much everyone means to me. For them to have a chance to see the good they daily deny themselves. We’re all guilty of it. I was so worried I wouldn’t manage to arrange meetings with everyone, but in the end, it worked out.
As for this past week, I’m just going to pull at random from some journal entries and hope it all makes sense. Enjoy!
The Last Shift
On Monday night, I worked my last shift at Davis. I decided to pull another social experiment as always and slapped a huge fake tattoo on my arm that read, “Born to Recycle.” I thought it was hilarious. It was something small I’d picked up with Lindsey at the Science Fair just because we thought it was super nerdy. People just assumed it was real and didn’t give it a second glance. Now I know.
In other news, we librarians pretty much rock when it comes to writing. Chris had two pieces published in Tree House Magazine (which you should totally check out), another student had her poetry published in Cellar Door (a campus publication for fiction and poetry) and my study abroad article/photography were featured in Passport. So it was a night of publications! SO PROUD. Anyway, it was weird walking out that night. And I mean besides the general crazed state of being sleep deprived. But I suppose everything must come to an end.
At least the moon was still out. There’s a constant.
I also gave platelets for the first time that morning. It was odd, voluntarily signing up to have needles poked into my skin and blood drawn from my body. But what was even more odd was that my blood was being recycled. The doctor was super friendly, but he weirded me out. Mostly because he kept poking the creases in my arms and telling me what good veins I had. I hope that’s not one of his pick up lines.
“Hey, miss, you have great veins…”
Geez. Anyway, I picked out one of my favorite movies (The Prestige) to watch while the machine whirled next to my head. Honestly, it didn’t hurt that bad when they inserted the needle and started pumping blood, but after an hour or so I started feeling really off. It must have showed on my face because the nurse rushed over and asked if I was feeling ok. It was a weird sensation. My lips were tingly, I felt light headed and suddenly I found it really hard to lift my left arm (the tubes were in my right.) I realized that everywhere I felt blood circulating through my body—brain, legs, arms, fingers—it felt like the blood was somehow carbonated, fizzy. Which makes sense, if it’s being recycled… I couldn’t help but wonder how the tubes kept air from entering back into your veins, and if it did, how it would affect you.
But hey, it was all worth it and hopefully, someone was helped because of it. So get out there and donate some platelets people!
Of course, after deciding to walk back to my dorm, it started pouring. I walked completely soaked in the rain and couldn’t help but let a huge smile overtake my face as people ran by with umbrellas, looking at me like I was mad. Sometimes, it feels good to be rained on.
Get on a campus rooftop.
Tuesday night was simply amazing and even further progressed my bucket list. I told one of my close friends that I wanted to go roofing (apparently, a term only I use that everyone mistakes as “roofies,” but I refuse to stop using) as more of a passing thought, and they suggested Nathan as a way to do it. Before I knew it, we had a tentative plan to go roofing on Tuesday night. Of course, when Tuesday night rolled around, I was out on Franklin St. with a few friends at Mellow Mushroom and was also supposed to watch a movie that night, so I figured it wouldn’t happen. But I still texted to make sure. Three hours later, we were in the first floor lounge ready to take on the world.
We headed out, checking a few buildings, but finding them all locked. We finally gained entry to a side entrance in Phillips hall and managed to get to Caldwell hall without being seen. From there, it was easy as pie; Nathan had already been, so we followed him up six flights of stairs and found the roof access. With a push to the latch, we found ourselves on top of
Chapman, looking out on the campus below. Man, that first instant was beautiful. I’d never seen campus that way before. Lit up, sparkling with opportunity. Twinkling into the night, a mere imitation of the stars above. It was beautiful. Absolutely stunning. And I realized as we settled down on the room and gazed about in wonder, that it wasn’t being on a roof that made the experience so enjoyable. It was the place I was looking down onto. This beautiful campus that I’ve so come to love. Chapel Hill, my home.
As my bucket list slowly received another strike-through, I smiled. At the irony of life. How I seem to find myself on rooftops right before everything in my world is about to change. Maybe it’s a way to gain a new perspective, to look at the world in a different way to see if your problems will shrink. Maybe it’s just climbing up to escape the responsibility that waits below. I don’t know what it is, but I love it. I love taking in the night and the lights that spatter it with similarly-awed company in tow. Because you’ve just managed to create a moment together that will last for ages to come in a smile that lights your face when you speak of old friends. In the words that ring with excitement and longing for a place and time that has passed.
My friend (who asked to remain unnamed) had to get back, but there was something that still had me curious, and I couldn’t help but go check it out. So I asked Nathan if he was in, which he was, and we headed off for Keenan Stadium. And just like that we had leapt over a small gate, climbed the main levels of stairs, I reached my arm through a hole to unlock a gated door, and voila, we found ourselves on top of Keenan Stadium. Boy was it beautiful. I’ve never seen the field like that before nor the lights of the buildings around it. You fill with such a sense of pride. In the school. In our athletics. Yea, football’s not my favorite sport, but looking down, I realized how impressive our field was. You have to admit, at Carolina, we know how to put on a good presentation.
Rush o’ Caffeine
Wednesday was awesome. I woke early, moved Alex out and caught breakfast with Kaitlyn and Han at Ye Olde. (In hindsight, it’s probably good I’m getting out of Chapel Hill for a bit; that place is eating my budget even as I eat it!) It was weird to sit at that cozy little table and realize the majority of our friend base was scattered throughout the states. Campus has felt so empty lately. Anyway, we tried not to dwell and instead looked forward to the sunshine the weather has graced us with the past two days. The day was a day full of caffeine!
You see, there’s nothing wrong with making plans with your friends. However, should you schedule meeting up with multiple friends over the span of a few hours, don’t plan ALL of them to occur in coffee shops. Especially if I’m part of the company!
Basically, I had two cups of coffee at Ye Olde, returned my movies at the UL then downed a Magical Mocha from Daily Grind (two shots of expresso and enough sugar to make scaling walls look completely plausible!)
As it was, I met Ebony and Anna, had another coffee and took off for adventures on Franklin St. It was good to see those girls and sad to see them off! Ah, bittersweet. After making a mess in the post office, watching Anna put an application in at YoPo and hitting Light Years, I moseyed back with enough caffeine left in my system to go bug Lindsey at Davis until she got off her shift. It was weird walking in Davis and realizing for the first time in three years that I didn’t actually work there. But my library fam was still around, so all was good in the world.
That night I had a special surprise. Two of my best friends/basically brothers came up to visit to celebrate my 21st. (I know, apparently your 21st is an excuse to be bought free drinks for a week. Party on!) I realized when they arrived around 9 that night that it was the first time they’d been to UNC’s campus since I’ve been there. So of course, our obvious option for entertainment was a night tour through the soggy grass and lamp-lit campus. Eventually we made our way to Linda’s and hung out for a few hours. (It’s probably a good thing I’m getting away from that place’s cheese fries, too.) It was good to catch up.
There’s just some friendships, that no matter what age you are or where you happen to be, your relationship will always be the same. You’ll pick up right where you left off and laugh and joke, never even thinking to feel embarrassed or awkward because you’re with each other.
Thursday was also awesome. In these last few days I’ve been able to successfully mark everything off my bucket list except the tunnels. And I’m sorry, but I’m just not up for getting kicked out of school and paying a fine two days before graduation. No thank you. Even I have my limits.
Now if over the summer I happen to come back….
Anyway, Thursday marked the last day of my internship. It was super sad, but out of the four interns that work in the office, three of us are graduating, so Bob took us all out to lunch at this quaint little place in Carrboro just behind Weaver Street Market. Of course, the usual was discussed: future plans, dreams, reminiscence of college days past, and families. By the end, with our stomachs full, I had this still surprising moment when I realized something. When I saw a life where I worked somewhere like TIPS and lived in Carrboro. Content to bike or walk everywhere I went, to sit out in sunlit areas and allow the reaches of my creativity to flow within the community. I think I could be happy.
But for now I have to get some experience in, and I’m afraid I’m restless for my next adventure to begin, wherever it may be.
Later, after hugging my boss goodbye and wishing my fellow graduates good luck, I found myself in a tattoo parlor. Haha, now you have to realize, at this point I still had a fake tattoo on my arm from my last shift at Davis. So there I am, in a sleeveless shirt, boldly displaying my “Born to Recycle” tattoo and asking if they had any rings for a cartilage piercing. Classy.
Sure enough, after a few snickers, I got one. So there!
The rest of my evening was spent perusing campus and taking senior pictures with Kaitlyn and Lindsey. You wouldn’t believe how many blue-clad seniors there were flocking around. No literally, they only traveled in huge groups massing around campus landmarks. Haha, I couldn’t take it. It was just hilarious how everyone seemed to be doing the same poses in all the same places and how uncomfortable everyone’s shoes seemed to be. So of course, I decided if I was going to take part in any such tradition, I might as well have fun. Here’s just a little taste of how my graduation pictures went down.
Needless to say, we had fun and made some memories along the way.
At one point during the day, I ran into “The Whistler” and ended up talking to him for 20 minutes. Apparently, his actual name is Gregory, he has two daughters, he used to have a speech impediment that he overcame as a child and is one of the most inspirational people I’ve yet to meet. When a man starts pointing toward the large Oak trees to explain how you’re supposed to breathe to find your sense of inner control and ultimate contentment, you know he may just be on to something. It was a worthy experience indeed. (If you’re going to be a senior next year, definitely put that on your bucket list: Make a point to talk to Gregory.)
When we found that we could go on no longer for fear of starvation, we all piled into Lindsey’s car and headed toward Bangkok 54. It was awesome. If you haven’t been, GO. I really wanted to try their spicy challenge, but unfortunately, my funds were limited. Next time. (But they cook the best Pad Thai I’ve yet to try.)
We then met up with one of Lindsey’s friends and took to Franklin St. Lindsey had a couple of places on her bucket list to cross off, so we decided to help her in her endeavor. We started out at GoodFellows where they were having 90’s night, but time travel was a little congested because it started almost 40 minutes late. By the time the band finally started playing, I was in a good place and thoroughly enjoyed the throwbacks, straight back to middle school. Yup, and let me say, there’s just something about guys who play in a band.
Specifically, a guy who’s not afraid to wear a vest. Enough said.
We then checked out “He’s not here” (which apparently he wasn’t) and Four Corners. But by then, I was determined to cross off the last and final item from my bucket list. That’s right, it was fountain time. And honestly, I needed something to wake me up.
Yup. 12:30 at night, if you saw a random kid in a hat, converses and dress splashing around in a fountain and hugging people… that was most likely me. Kaitlyn and I did it.
We officially went out with a splash.
And since my room’s completely empty, I found myself surrounded with four lovely seniors taking in our final moments together at the Hill til about 3 in the morning . I honestly wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way.
Oh, and I procrastinated packing until two hours before my Dad was supposed to pick me up today—totally made it. Jordan FTW.
I think I’m getting used to this whole, packing up my life in a few bags and hitting the road taking bits of people with me along the way, thing.
(Take that literally and you just might have the basis for a good horror movie.)
Right. So the plan? For now, it’s dumping all my crap in Hickory, hanging out with the guys in Downtown tonight, waking up bright and early to go down to Boone to see my mom graduate from App State Uni, driving to Burlington to stay for Saturday night and hopefully, making it in time to Chapel Hill so that I can graduate.
Is it weird I’m not excited yet? Oh well. I’m sure I’ll get there. Soon.
To all of you I’m leaving behind, be assured I will miss you. A lot. But don’t worry; I’ll be back in town. You can’t keep away from a place as beautiful as the Hill.
Congratulations to everyone that’s graduating!! Honest. You deserve it.