Sunday, October 31, 2010

Things I Love About C-dom

Here are some things I'm loving about Christendom!

* The chapel. It's beautiful, and it's right in the heart of the campus - exactly where it should be! I love being able to stop in to say a prayer whenever I pass by, and every time I've gone in there have been at least three people praying.

* The amazing library. Seriously, it is soooooo cooooool! It's huge and jam-packed full of all sorts of incredible books. There's also an amazing view of the Shenandoah River out the enormous windows in the back. I could live in this place!

*The classes. The classes and professors are so amazing! I sat in on Theology, History, Philosophy, and Literature on Friday and they were all wonderful. I love learning about that sort of thing.

* The rickety piano laden with music books in the commons. That was the best idea ever! It's right outside the cafeteria and there is pretty much always someone playing it and/or singing...and they're all super super talented! I was seriously in awe! After brunch this morning I joined the group of people standing around it singing...we sang songs from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly, and a bunch of other shows. It was awesome.

* The people. These are seriously some of the friendliest, nicest, most welcoming people I've ever met. Everyone always smiles and says hi to me, most of them are hysterically funny, all the stories I've heard about how polite and chivalrous C-dom guys are are completely true, the students in general aren't in the least bit stuck-up or nerdy or religious freaks, and they're all so very Catholic. It's awesome to see how many people attend Mass and drop in to pray at the chapel, and they just live with such joy. I was also extremely impressed that the entire time I've been here, I've not heard one person take God's Name in vain. Pretty cool!

* The dancing. Oh my goodness, it is SOOO much fun! I fianlly learned how to swing dance yesterday and I'm now really looking forward to the dance tonight, and last night I attended my first dance! It was a contra dance after the Oktoberfest, and I had a wonderful time. I love how they do so much real dancing, and so many people are really good at it, too!

Well, those are a few of the things I really love here. After I get home I'll do a post telling more about what exactly we did.

Happy Feast of Christ the King! And Happy Halloween! And Happy All Saint's Day a day early! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Trip to Christendom College, Part 1

So, this weekend is my trip to Christendom College! I wrote in my notebook the entire way there, and here I sit in the student center (at 11:11 PM - make a wish!) typing it alllll out for your reading pleasure! Hopefully you'll not find a basically minute-by-minute account of my travels by air to be too mind-numbingly dull. ;)

(A little after 2 PM) It took a tortourously long time for the plane to finish getting to the runway and actually take off. But when it did, it was so thrilling! The plane paused and then suddenly the engines grew louder and the plane began taxiing rapidly. Being the speed junky that I am, that was amazingly fun, and with a little ratcheting clunk we became airborne. It was incredible to see the earth quickly fade away, roads becoming neat little grids and rivers shining silver snakes. I must admit that the way the plane was tilting (towards my side of the plane and I'm right beside a security door...things like that always make me nervous) made me a little uneasy, but it soon righted itself. And it was completely worth it for the huge burst of adrenaline as we barrelled straight into the sky and broke in amongst the clouds.

People have always told me that the sight and experience of flying above the clouds is absolutely incredible, but it didn't prepare me for the grandeur of actually experiencing it myself. The plane was wrapped in white, gauzy clouds for about two minutes and then we broke through. Oh, it was beautiful! A vista of whiteness spread around us as far as the eye could see, and the beautiful blue sky shone out through the clouds in varying stripes of pale blue and azul and the softest gray-white. It looked like a whole new looked like heaven.

"Have you flown much?" asked the man seated beside me, observing my transfixed gaze and exclamations of delight.

"No, this is actually my first time."

"Ah! Yes, seeing the clouds is pretty incredible."

"It is! I was really looking forward to seeing it."

"It's like flying above a big white blanket."

So now we're far, far above the clouds that are blanketing the Midwest with cold and gray. The 1st officer just said we're at 29,000 feet (it's 2:35 PM and we're about half an hour from landing in Detroit). When I look out the window I see white clouds all around us, blue skies above, and the sun shining incredibly brightly.

I've decided that flying is very, very fun. The whole nervous getting everywhere I need to be at the airport is stressful, actually boarding the plane is very nerve-wracking, but the actual flying and soaring through the clouds is absolutely blissful and thrilling. It's like riding on an enormous, very tame dragon.

We're losing altitude now (2:49 PM) and it looks like we're flying over Antarctica. The clouds, which really look like a mountainous landscape, are interrupted by patches of blue which looks exactly like water. It's so beautiful...I wasn't expecting it to look so much like a landscape. It's a whole different world in the sky.

(Almost 3 PM) We're sinking and I can once again see the ground! I've never been in MI. I wonder what the plane looks like coming out of the clouds?

You'll appreciate this, Bailey...the man next to me was playing Spider Solitaire.

And now we've left the blue skies and are amongst the turbulent clouds once more.

(A little after 5 PM, sitting on the plane and waiting for take-off...the worst part!) And Mum, you'll appreciate this (or not...) - when viewed from above, subdivision streets look remarkably like centipedes.

So this is what landing was like. After being wrapped in clouds for about 5 minutes, they blew away - puff! We started sinking towards the ground again and Detroit was visible as far as the eye could see. So very odd to think I've been there now (well, I'm still here as I write). The car looked like shiny little bugs gliding along the streets.

We sank lower and lower, getting almost disturbingly close to the fields as we approached the airport. It must take so much practice to know exactly how fast to start decreasing altitude. After about 20 very long minutes of going down all the roads on the runway (another super aggravating/tedious part of air travel), we pulled up to one of the gates and had to wait about 20 more minutes before we could disembark.

The Detroit airport is huge. Thankfully the man who was sitting next to me was very kind (and also, ironically, going to Front Royal!), and he directed me towards the monitor and the correct gate before I, in my slightly discombobulated state, even had time to get my bearings. I started toward Gate B11, taking one of the moving sidewalks, which was very fun and felt a little like flying. Checking in was completely uneventful, and so here I am on the plane.

The planes are much smaller than I'd expected - I felt rather claustrophobic when I got in it the first time. There's only two seats on either side of the very narrow aisle - a bit of a tight squeeze. It's not so bad if you're by a window, however, which both of my seats have been! I actually didn't get the right seat either time, but it doesn't really matter.

And now (5:25 PM) we're moving! I'm such a seasoned traveller now that I barely even looked out the window...I'm sure that blase air will only last on the ground, however!

As usual, I only used one of the things I brought and could easily have gotten by with nothing but my purse and a notebook, since I've spent the entire time writing. This second half of the trip (it's only a little over an hour) will probably be pretty much the same.

(5:33 PM) And we're off! Eeep, I absolutely LOVE that moment of takeoff! As I've mentioned, I do believe I've become a confirmed speed/adrenaline junky. So back I go to my beautiful land above the clouds... The horizon is an absolutely gorgeous shade of plae, pale turquoise.

(6 PM) It's extremely sunny and extremely bumpy! Okay, now it's settled down (the bumpiness...not the sun). Very, very odd to think I'm above Ohio or something right now.

(6:15 PM) The sun is definitely setting and we're once again preparing for landing. This whole trip went so fast! The clouds have cleared and I can see land and MOUNTAINS! I wonder what state we're in. The trees look pretty brightly colored and the grass is green. And the mountains...ahh! They're so beautiful!

(6:30 PM) We're sinking over D.C. and are ahead of schedule - shocking! The wheels came out with a clunk and we're going downnnnn...this is so cool! And taxiing is so fun!

(7:15 PM) So here I am sitting next to Baggage Claim 6 at Dulles! It's still hard to believe that I'm actually in a big city - the United State's capitol, in fact. One of the interesting things is all the different accents and languages I'm hearing - even over the intercom.

Finding my baggage was quite an adventure! I followed the signs saying "Baggage Claim" down two flights of escalators and onto an underground transportation thing that was basically a subway within the airport. That was fun because it went really fast and right through all the pipes and things under the building. I'd been told to meet a Christendom representative at Baggage Claim 6, and therefore I thought that was where my luggage would be too. After waiting for about 5 minutes past the time my flight had been scheduled to arrive (it had arrived about 20 minutes early), I finally had the bright idea of actually looking at the monitor. Oh! The Detroit flight's baggage had to be picked up at Baggage Claim 14 - all the way on the other end of the building! Whoops...

So I walked there and was able to claim my baggage after a few minutes' tense waiting for it to appear. I'm dreadfully paranoid about losing my baggage.

Airplanes, I have decided, are absolutely beautiful. They're so bird-like. Watching them take off is like watching swans in flight. They're also beautiful for the fact that they're such incredible pieces of machinery. When I flew today it made me wish that all the people who had longed for flight over the years could experience it.

Well, I'm toying with the idea of finding something to eat. I won't be picked up for at least 20 more minutes and I don't want to be famished.

(8 PM) There, I walked all the way back to the deli across from Baggage Claim 14 and bought a container of hummus and pita chips for $2.99 - not bad, since I didn't even eat half! It was sooo good...I love hummus.

I'm really enjoying travelling. It's not quite as hard or nerve-wracking as I expected, I haven't had to ask anyone for help yet, and it's rather fun to be doing it all alone and having people call you "ma'am" because you're obviously grown up enough to be travelling alone. The main reason I'd be glad to have a companion would be to have someone to talk to, but that is why I've been writing obssesively the entire trip. I guess I have this strong ingrown need to communicate.

It still feels a bit unreal that I'm sitting here at an international airport outside our nation's capitol...I can't quite grasp it. It still feels like I'm at home in the Midwest and Washington D.C. is far far away on the other side of the country. The idea that I'll actually be sleeping in a dorm at Christendom College tonight also seems a bit preposterous, not to mention the fact that I'll be spending the entire weekend here. Twilight Zone-freaky, man.

It'll be about 15 minutes before someone gets here to pick me up. Now I'm getting nervous again! Oh well...I'll live, and it will be fun.

So, that's how it went - my first airplane trip that I can remember, and my first time travelling alone! I'll write more about my actual visit after I get home, but suffice it to say for now that I am having a wonderful time! :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

*revives dead blog*

My blog has been rather dead-ish lately. I've actually been too busy to post on it, which is kinda nice for a change!

So, I have a few pieces of exciting news! One is that I'm auditioning for Phantom of the Opera next month!!!!!!!!!!!! :D There's a theater group in my town that does a really big musical every two years with students from all the area highschools. Their productions are always was their Les Miserables that was the first musical I ever saw (I was 11). I was literally struck speechless for about 10 minutes after it ended (I really couldn't talk, it was the oddest thing!), and ever since that night I've wanted to be on stage!

So I was eagerly watching for news of what this year's production would be (the other two were Cats and Peter Pan), and I was absolutely freaking estatic when I found out they're doing Phantom, one of my favorite musicals!!! They held three workshops a couple of weeks ago, two of which I attended, and after them I was even more excited than I had been before! The director told us a bit about what the production would be like, and it's going to be INCREDIBLE. This group always does a mind-blowingly professional job, and they have a $70,000 budget for it! She showed us the set designs, which look amazing (they're actually covering the entire archway over the stage to make it look like the Paris Opera House, and the niches for the statues will be the box seats!), and then we learned the music and choreography for "Masquerade". It was SO much fun! It was amazing to hear the melody come together, and the choreography is simply awesome.

So I'm suuuuppppeeeer excited for the auditions! I'm singing "Stranger in Paradise" from the musical Kismet for my song, and reading Galadriel's speech from the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring for my monologue. I'm also doing some pointework, since I'll be auditioning for the ballet corps, the ensemble, and Meg! I would love to be Meg, and several people have told me they think I'd play her really well, so perhaps the directors will agree! :)

Some more exciting news is that I'm visiting Christendom College in the near future! :D I'll have to be sure and post about it!

And...I'm doing National Novel Writing Month (commonly known as NaNoWriMo) this year! It's a challenge to write a 50,000 word (about 175 pages) novel in one month. It's other name is insanity, of course. ;) But I thought I'd give it a try, even though I doubt I'll make it to 50,000 words! Stranger things have happened, though. If you're doing it, feel free to add me as a buddy on the website! My user name is _Tinuviel_ (and by clicking on that link you can read the synopsis of my story...for some reason Blogger isn't letting me paste. :P).

I feel like totally re-vamping my blog. Well, maybe not totally, but somewhat. I've changed a lot lately (I'm not nearly as shy and fearful anymore!), and I just feel like this blog needs an overhaul. I'll see what I can do... Oh, and another weird thing that has been changing is how light my hair is getting! When I was born it was black, by the time I was about 6 it had faded to really dark brown, and then it's just been progressively getting lighter and lighter, especially in the last few months. It's definitely light brown now! Strange.

One last thing. I've discovered two new favorite authors - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie! Now that I'm finally no longer a constant nervous wreck I'm really enjoying mysteries. I think it's mom and sister both devour them too! I'm also reading more of Sir ACD's Professor Challenger books...I love them! They're science-fiction and sometimes hilarious and fascinating and really good.