After a summer of camp, insanity and never being clean for more than five minutes, I am home. I am: about to collapse, happy to be back, desirous of some serious alone time, sad.
First thing I did upon returning: Lay on the floor and let myself be mobbed by my two wonderful little dogs. One’s a Corgi. The others the size of a corgi. It was wonderful.
So now I’m resting up. Replenishing the gallons of water I’m probably missing, the thousands of calories and the hours of sleep. Oh, and repairing my emotional self. About 700 or more small children in one summer is a lot to handle. Not that I had to handle all of them, but they were there. At camp. Ready for me to be on call. To their safety.
Long story short, it’s good to be home with my mom, my dad and my brother. I’m not ready for France yet, not after the summer I just had, but I will be. Have to be. 21 days and I’m out. 21 days to get my fill of every friend in the U.S. that I have. Possible? Nope. But don’t have a choice there. I’ll live. I’ll grow. And maybe I’ll learn some things.
HOWEVER, for the time being, I’m chillin’. And chillin’ is good.
July 21, 2012
Two nights ago we decided to spice life up a bit for the children. They have been here so long without their parents, and it is beginning to wear on them terribly. So, to take their minds off the cares of being alone for a little while longer, some of the other students and I decided to have us all raid the kitchen.
This was a much greater ordeal and adventure than I had planned, but one I am well glad we completed. It began after the sun had long set. It is typical for us to tell the kids stories before they sleep. Some of us tell stories we knew as children. I tell stories of adventure of my own making. I love to tell them. To hold so many minds in rapture, away from the world is truly a wonderous experience. However, I begin to come off the subject.
After the story and the lights out, I whispered to the children our plan. The sudden burst of excitement was only barely contained enough to preserve the secrecy we needed not to alert any of the professors. After that, we had only to remind them of our “danger” to get them silent.
We moved quickly, dodging through the least used corridors I could think of to gain access to the kitchen. We were nearly caught by Professor Angle, but I managed to stay far enough ahead of the group to stop us before disaster struck. We waited patiently in the dark for what seemed like an eternity, but was perhaps no more than half a minute, before Professor Angle finished his journey up a nearby set of stairs. After that we proceeded with even more caution.
The real trouble began at the kitchen itself. We expected it to be entirely empty, however we found that the cook and her assistants were still inside, doing I have not the slightest clue what. We then had to develop a secondary plan on the spot. This involved a great deal more sneaking around than we had anticipated. It was decided that I and Paul, one of the other students helping in the endeavor, would sneak carefully into the kitchen and take as much food out as we could until each child had a portion. Several times I was nearly caught myself and had to keep from laughing at just how ridiculous the little project had become.
Just when all the kids had begun to eat the snack we had brought them, Professor Garrel came up to the group. We froze. He gazed at us all, children with food half-way to their mouths, “Any left for me?” he said, eyes twinkling with the childish naughtiness so many of us have forgotten. We of course, gave him a portion of our fare and ate with smiles all the more wide. We managed to sneak back to the sleeping area without incident and sleep with bellies full and minds full of our adventure. I pray to God that it will be enough to get them through the next week. From what I have heard, they will be free to return home then. God willing.
Well…welcome to the waiting part. All the preparations have been made, more or less. But there is still quite some time until I leave. I still need to see my friends before I go, but three weeks just doesn’t seem like enough before I must be gone again. For a whole year. But that’s what I’ll have and use it well, I shall. When the time comes that is. Still have to make a difference in the lives of children first. Priorities. I still have them.
July, 10 2012
The Goblins have come in close to the school. We are unsure what to do. The children have been sent to Elder Hall and the rest of us are making plans for the defense of the school. It is frightening. And yet, exhilarating.
Strangely though, I find myself focused, untouched. I acknowledge my fears, my doubts, even my excitement. But I do not hold them. I am at peace. I feel as though, somehow I am ready for this. As though these creatures from the dark, of my childhood nightmares, have suddenly become less frightening. Less the shadow, less a threat, than an obstacle. We are called to the walls and I am off.
It is late. Very much so, but we have done it! We have beaten back the Goblins. I do now know how hurt they are, but this night is ours! They began their attack soon after the setting of the sun. Just when the children had fallen asleep. It is just like them, the nastly little things, to terrorize them when they are most vulnerable. Still, we were ready. The first line of defense was to simply pelt them with bows and crossbows. Then, they began to climb the walls. They lost about half their number before they made it to the battlements, but even then there were many more of them than us. Still, we fought with our swords, spears and axes. Eventually we cut their numbers in half again.
Then their leader came forth. I had the misfortune of meeting him on the battlefield. He wielded a massive broadsword and was nearly twice the height of the other Goblins. I met him with that strange peace instilled in my heart and began a battle that was, most assuredly, for my life. He swung with all the power of a blacksmith’s hammer and it rattled my hand in every case. I could hardly believe the force with which that creature could strike, nor the speed at which he swung his great weapon.
Still, I parried as best as I could and watched for an opening. It came quickly, to my relief and salvation. The Goblin cocked back his arm just a hair too far and I struck with my own, lighter sword more quickly than he could react to. In an instant, he was killed. His eyes rolled up in his head and he fell. With his death, the remaining Goblins dashed off in a panic over our low walls and back into the forest from whence they had come.
And now I sleep. Left with victory and a strange unease. I wonder what this “adventuring” has in store for me. What is to be my life?
July 8, 2012
I have been outrageously busy, and thus have neglected this poor diary of mine. However, I hope that this will soon be remedied. There have been many memories with the children who have been staying here at the University and I could never hope to tell them all. Let us just say that it has been wonderful and that I will no doubt carry the experiences with me. Perhaps they have even better prepared me for the adventures I plan for.
There is one particular memory I do wish to share. Ever since my encounter with the Hermit, I have wondered about what he had said. It has largely worked and I am glad of the success. However, it has set me to thinking. I was picking blackberries outside. Despite the heat and drought, there has been just enough rain to produce a few. I was alone until Ellen, the girl attacked by the giant spiders, came to join me. It was nice. We sat and chatted. It has been a while since I was able to do so with someone. You see, Ellen has been gone for some weeks now and only recently returned. Life is so strange. Gone, our friends and family seem a distance ache; we could live without them, but we still feel it there. But present. When you sit and pick blackberries, have lunch, dinner, whatever with friends and family there is the need for them there. It is like shelter. We can survive living in a hut or a tent, but there is something about living in a house that runs far above the others.
We quit picking early. The heat was monstrous, though I have already begun to become accustomed to it. Others, however, have not and I would never go so far as to say that I was comfortable either. Still. There is the desire to stay. Because now I must remember the words of the hermit. And after living in a house, it is all the more difficult to return to my one-room sod-house. Glorious experiences or no.
There really is no other way to describe my travels and trials for the ever-sacred Visa. You might say “pointless journey,” “waste of time,” “epic journey” or possibly even “LONG,” but in the end it really was, quite simply, an adventure.
This adventure started Monday night, when I left camp to go home so that I could leave for Chicago from there. Everything was going quite normally and fine until, all of a sudden, the traffic came to a dead stop. I was concerned first for my own safety, then for whoever may have been the cause of the stop, then I was just confused. You see, once traffic began to move smoothly again, I found that there was no crash. In fact, I could find no explanation for the stop at all. Looking back I might have taken that as some kind of omen.
Yesterday I woke up, got all the paperwork together (there is a MASSIVE amount of paperwork for just one little visa) and set out with my dad on the four-hour-ish drive to Chicago. With an extra hour left for traffic and finding the place.
It all went really smoothly until Chicago. Then it became an adventure. Expectedly, we hit massive, crawling traffic. Then we got into the city and it got REALLY crazy. (You should know that I hate cities. Mostly because of their penchant for one-way streets.) The first time we missed the road we need to turn onto, my dad lost it. END OF THE WORLD. Of course, that meant I had to be extra patient (which is a special skill of mine. Actually, I thought it kind of entertaining). Long story short, it took us a LONG time of litterally driving around in circles to finally find the Consulate AND parking.
Once we had, we discovered that our extra hour of play time was COMPLETELY EATEN UP and we had to run to the consulate office. Where my dad promptly went in the out door of the security machines. In his defense though, they weren’t marked at all. So we got there, went to the Consulate and then my dad left to go to the bathroom while I turned in my paperwork. PROBLEM. Don’t have a stamp for the envelope. So after my dad comes back from being LOCKED IN THE BATHROOM (true story), we take the map from the woman at the desk and go to the post-office to get the stamp. My dad, ever the wonderfully impatient man that he is (honestly, its not always a bad thing. It means he’s also very assertive which is quite a boon to me), didn’t wait at the line for the lady to call us. However, she was nice enough to us. Probably because I was ecstatically happy and enthusiastic and sincere about EVERYTHING.
The one stamp: $18.
ANYWAY, we got back, turned in the stamp…and that was it.
SO, we drove the four hours back and that was that.
Is there a more effective way to do this? There HAS to be. But I guess it wouldn’t have been near the adventure it was otherwise.
AND it gets me here: