Saturday, June 09, 2012

Day 9 & 10: It's over for now.

I'm playing catch-up. I've been running like crazy since Saturday.

Saturday the kids and E came down to visit me and see where we have residency. Their flight was getting in at about 8:30 so I had an early drive into Ontario. I accidentally stumbled upon the dinosaurs when I took a random exit to get coffee at a Burger King.


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I've been to the Ontario airport so many times for Mock Trial, but never driven there myself. I can't tell you how proud I was to find it on my own in the car. Every time I successfully drive somewhere in Southern California all by myself I feel like I've earned some kind of merit badge. The skies in Ontario were a disgusting gray that helped me remember just why I like Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage so much.

I got a little teary greeting E and the kids. I missed them so bad. We explored the hotel and hit the pool before I had workshop, then he took them to see Madagascar 3. We had a quick dinner at Yard House across from the hotel before I had to hurry back to the room to shower for graduation and the end-of-residency party. By this time I was feeling incredibly tired of wearing makeup and doing my hair every day. But you do what you gotta do.

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I suppose I shouldn't have been in such a hurry to be on time. The thing didn't start until almost 9:00.

But graduation was nice, and I enjoyed seeing my friends walk across the stage. It's incredibly different to be a part of this thing when I have an idea of who everyone is. I made nearly all of the 85 people in the program take pictures with me (I won't post them all here for fear of looking like a total dork), and I danced the night away with my fellow nerds. That kind of dorkiness doesn't bother me.

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My first residency in December felt so much more frantic. It was good food for thought, but it was really scary for me. I hate hate hate coming into new situations where I don't know anyone. I pushed myself to meet people, but it took every ounce of energy and courage I had.

People were nice, sure. But I didn't yet have the sense I have now about these relationships being for life. In December I kept seeing the same faces all over the hotel but not really knowing if they were faculty or students or visiting guests. It seemed to me then that everyone else knew each other and I shouldn't intrude when they were deep in conversation.

I'm not sure when the transition happened--was it online after December? on Facebook?--but somehow now I know who I can text if I'm out of class and I want to hang out. I know who to go to for gossip and who to go to for advice on my writing. I know my professors and the visiting guests are (mostly) not scary. I know who wants to eat pickles with me on my porch. I know that I can sit down and talk to anyone. I know how much the new people need someone to reach out to them.

This residency just felt comfortable, like being at nerd camp with my friends. I feel the same camaraderie I saw other people enjoying at meals last time. I left feeling the same sense of motivation and inspiration when it comes to my work, but also feeling a warm sense of community.

Community rocks, y'all.

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