This summer I conducted an in-depth study into the effects of constant visual and audio stimulation on the teenage brain.
In other words, I chain watched a lot of TV shows on Netflix.
During a TV binge spanning two seasons and three late nights, I watched a Psych episode about a talented data encryptor who uncovers a plot to sell off the locations of police confiscated drugs to major drug lords. He is murdered, but not before he heroically manages to send an encrypted email to his old a cappella friends containing a video revealing the true culprits, using the harmonies of the song "It's so Hard to Say Goodbye" as a key to the encryption.
My goodbyes were hard but, fortunately, not nearly that tragic or dangerous.
My wonderful boyfriend Wallace O'Donnell made me a romantic dinner complete with fake candles, cloth napkins and tissues for the final course. I alternated giggling and crying. It was perfect.
Despite my numerous attempts to convince him to drop out of high school and travel the world with me, he has opted to continue his education.
That will undoubtably turn out better in the long run but it's still a bummer.
Why does my boyfriend have to be so smart and grounded? It's seriously unfair!
After meeting friends for goodbye coffees, goodbye sleepovers, goodbye berry picking and goodbye paint pick ups I was finally ready to say bye to my dad and brother and be on my way!
My entire life for the next six weeks is contained in that tiny backpack. It's roughly the same size as my school bag junior year (the most textbook-intensive year of high school), and probably about as heavy.
At some point I will post a picture detailing everything in my bag, mostly because I'm so proud of how much I managed to fit in there. I used the "Clown Car Method" of packing, where you fold everything on top of each other.
Unfortunately, no matter what special method of packing you use, things have a certain amount of matter that can't really be folded out of existence.
My mom and I drove to Seattle for a Middlebury party and for my extended family send off.
The party was absolutely beautiful. It was at a current student's house, and her parents threw a wonderful party for us even though she is in NYC doing an internship this summer and didn't fly back to Seattle for a two hour party (fairly reasonable.)
Their house had a view of Lake Washington, a tree house turned into a chicken coup and a giant apple statue in their front courtyard that could fill up my whole house. They also had a cheese platter with little radishes cut to look like mice.
I wanted to take pictures of everything but decided to pretend like I saw giant statues and gated mansions every day instead. Also I left my phone in the car and I was too lazy to go get it.
After that party, my mom and I drove to my aunt's house for our next party. I felt very cool party hopping like that. It is definitely not an everyday occurrence.
My wonderful family gave me a send off with great advice, Thai food and extremely practical gifts of toilet paper, earplug and enough Euros to (optimistically) last me a week.
My great grandmother who I called Gaga used to re-gift presents wrapped up in tin foil, and it has become a bit of a tradition. I'm really hoping the toilet paper and ear plugs aren't too used though!
I'm so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life that make saying goodbye so hard. I'm thrilled for my trip but also excited to come home to the people who make my time worthwhile.