Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nostalgia: Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's, well...Not.

I visited my high school for the first time in a while on Tuesday.  I went with some of my friends; we made a date of it, really.  We like to go back occasionally, to see what's new, to visit some of our favorite teachers, a few friends that had yet to graduate.

But what I had failed to take into account was that I had just come from IU. My entire high school holds maybe five hundred people - the freshman class at IU has about 10,000 members.  IU's campus is larger than my entire town.  IU has restaurants, movie theatres, concert halls, auditoriums.  My town has one four way stop and no stop light, a tiny donut shop, a general store that might be older than the town.

I walked through the front doors, and it felt weird to be back.  I hadn't realized how small everything was until I had experienced something bigger than anything I had yet seen - or at least lived in.  It's not small in a particularly unpleasant way, though.  It's small-town small, country small.  Bordered by farmland and grass. Not quite big enough to have its own Football team.

And you'd think, with a place that small, you'd recognize somebody.  But, with the exception of the friends we went to see and the few people I had classes with, no one there was familiar.  They were the new freshmen coming in from junior high, the sophomores that were just young enough to be unrecognizable, and even the juniors and seniors I knew because they are friends with my brother.

I realized, while I was there, that my class was gone. We were scattered to the wind.  We were off doing our own things, trying to pass college, trying to get jobs, trying to be something someday, and the school was forgetting us.

The teachers remembered, though.  Some of them had us for all four years of high school, and some of them taught our parents.  They would remember us long after the freshmen forgot about us; after our names were scribbled out of textbooks; after our faces in the class photo, all seventy of us, were unrecognizable to other students.

I hope we gave them something good to remember.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Exercising when you don't want to and not eating all of the Girl Scout Cookies

Since going to college I have lost some weight, but not because I have made any major changes to my diet or lifestyle. There was really only one major thing that caused the weight loss.

I had to walk everywhere. 

My high school is one building, with two floors and maybe a dozen hallways. It is no colossal labyrinth like some people's seem to be.  We had to take PE for one year and that was it, and I was never quite good enough or motivated enough to join an actual sports team.

But college, that is an entirely different monster.  I'm pretty sure IU's campus is larger than my entire town, with a population nearly quadruple the size.  Between just getting to my classes and elbowing through massive throngs of people, I got a full-body workout without having to go to the gym.

I would also say the lack of a good, home-cooked meal also led to a slimmer figure, but my dorm had a convenience store that never ran out of ice cream or cheese cake.  I will say this, though: Nine times out of ten, when I went on a grocery run, I bought hummus instead of cheesecake. I love hummus; one of the first things I checked when I got home was to see whether or not we had any hummus (we have two tubs full-the mother lode).

But now that I AM home, there IS food everywhere-free food, too, and I don't have to walk anywhere to get it.  For the first couple of days back I was basically sedentary, except when I was making myself food.

When I finally came out of my food haze, though, I realized what I was doing, and decided I had to stop. That particular plan has not gone so well, but in light of that I decided I have to start working out.  So far I've ran for three days in a row, which is a pretty good start, I think.  Also, I use the word run loosely. Really, I walk kind of fast, but I count it.

And I made a playlist (not like a brilliant one, but I like it). It's really random but it helps keep me on track. The centerpiece of the whole thing, the crux, is I'll Make a Man out of You from Mulan. When it comes on I run as fast as I can for the whole song (which is only like three minutes long, but cut me some slack. I'm lazy) and hope for the best.

Not the best method, sure, but it's better than anything else I can come up with.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Today is my last day at IU.

Freshman year has gone by fast.  In a haze of classes, dorm food, and almost unashamed boredom I have spent two full semesters here.  I am still shocked every day to see that the beauty that initially made Bloomington my first choice for school has not faded away. The coming summer months make the place greener, fresher, lovelier.

But I am ready to go home. I have lived too long with a room mate (not that she's a bad person, I am just a private one) and I have had enough of classes for now.  I miss my family, my friends, my dogs, my familiar bed - 

But that is where I stop.  This bed has become familiar to me.  When I go back for weekends or holidays this is the bed I want to sleep in. The people in my classes, the teachers, have become welcome sights. I might not have my own pets, but I do have squirrels and chipmunks that will almost stand still long enough for you to pet them.

And - I'm not going to lie - living away from my parents has been fun.  Part of that might be because I haven't had to do chores, but I think it's also shown that I have responsibility. I'm not dead. I'm not addicted to drugs. I haven't gone to jail. I enjoy living away from all of that, from the same town I've been a part of since I was six.

And I've made so many friends here, from so many different places.  They are not my friends from home for sure, but they're just as good, and now I have to leave them for four months.  I am being stripped of the people that I have spent nearly every day of an entire year with.  They are some of my best friends now, some of my favorite people to talk to and gossip with and drink coffee on a cold day with.

I'm not sure how I'll be able to cope.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Post In Which Caitlyn Chronicles Her Attempt To Learn The Ukulele

My love of the ukulele has been a long but rather uneventful series of lusting after a ukulele and then forgetting about it a week later, much like my obsession with the harmonica (of which I have four yet I still do not know how to play any of them).  

A few years ago, however, my school got a new band teacher who could play the ukulele.  Slowly but surely he indoctrinated my brother into his horrible ukulele cult of Jason Mraz and large Hawaiian superstars.  My brother has some weird attachment to string instruments; he can play guitars and basses and once attempted the violin, though he then proceeded to break it.  He decided he needed a ukulele, too, just to complete his collection.

When his ukulele arrived, I was jealous, I'll admit it. So I proceeded to buy one for myself, out of ukulele envy.  I then brought out my evil laugh, just to make it a little more dramatic.

Since I bought it, so many months ago, I have managed to learn one song (Over the Rainbow, of course) and can occasionally remember I'm Yours by Mraz. I recently looked up Hedwig's Theme and The Pirates of the Caribbean music as well, but it turns out that I was not built to play string instruments (unless you consider the piano a string instrument, but I always call it percussion) and I have been having some trouble getting my fingers to do what they are supposed to.

But I shall labor on, eating myself into a catharsis and moving to Hawaii to become a famous ukulele player before my brother. Because I am always better than him.

These are not opinions, these are facts.