I spent a lot of my time today feeling strangely productive and adult-like. I cleaned my room (it wasn't *that* bad by college standards, or even my own, but the emptiness of my room makes any sort of disorganization or mess glaringly obvious), vacuumed my room and bathroom, washed dishes, cleaned my sink (and the toilet... ew...), did laundry, and I even DECORATED my walls.
There's nothing particularly extraordinary about these things, or the fact that I did them (though my mother might tell you otherwise), but I'm finding it rather odd that I chose to spend most of my day doing things like that rather than simply wandering around campus aimlessly. However, it's not like I did those things alone, without people around, or did nothing else but that. My social life still existed during most of that. I suppose it must be a measure of how comfortable my new friends and I are around each other that we can turn the time during which I would be doing something monotonous and eerily similar to chores into a few hours of hanging out. I mean, you know you must be close to people when they see you sorting through your dirty clothes.
At any rate, I guess what I'm trying to say is that college today was a strange contradiction. It's weird to feel childish (some of that social time was predictably spent coloring in my Sesame Street coloring book. Don't judge me, it was a gift!) and strangely grown-up at the same time. It's also strange to realize that my dorm room, for the moment, feels more comfortable and home-like than my room at home did when I was there just a few days ago. Time spent here is kind of relaxing, and feels just as familiar as my house did.
I'm not even done decorating yet-- I need more postcards/pictures/posters to decorate the walls with and I'm kind of hesitant to cover a lot of the extra wall space I have now in case I get a new roommate... though I need more STUFF in here to keep it from being echo-y. I'm decorating in stages-- I'll post pictures when I have finished putting up everything that I currently have.
I don't have deep thoughts today, but lacking in philosophy, I have a bit to talk about so far as my actual life goes.
I might have mentioned this in my first post of the month, but I'm trying to be vegetarian this month. Last week, I messed up while at home (delicious grilled chicken... I couldn't say no to that), but being vegetarian doesn't necessarily mean eating healthily. I've had about five desserts today (butterscotch brownies + chocolate ice cream = heaven), and I've been kind of struggling to balance my diet enough so that I don't end up eating variations on carbs for every meal, or pizza for that matter, though honestly, the pizza here is fantastic and deserves to be eaten at every meal.
I thought, when I decided to become vegetarian for a month, that it would be a relatively easy challenge. My school makes it quite easy to eat vegetarian foods, but at the same time, the selection doesn't always seem to be that great. While there are plenty of carbs and variations on roasted vegetables, the truly "vegetarian" meal in the cafeteria doesn't always seem to be the most satisfying meal. There's the addictional problem of the fact that I actually like some meat. Pork, chicken, and turkey... the tempting smell of sausage nearly did me in this morning but I suppose that's why it is a challenge. There aren't always veggie-friendly substitutes for the meaty foods, much to my dismay, and though bacon is tempting, giving up on my challenge so soon into the month would defeat the purpose.
There's a bit of a story to why I decided to become vegetarian this month. The main one is that I have entertained the thought of becoming a vegetarian throughout high school and it never quite seemed to be the right time. Here, I figured that it would be easier and since I'm making my own decisions about food for the first time, it would be an interesting challenge to see if I am even capable of maintaining a healthy diet when I am not cooking for myself at all (unless you count Easy Mac), but have access to more options of food than I could possibly eat. And despite the strange conversations I've had about what is the point of becoming vegetarian for a single month, I still think it's a worthwhile endeavor. I have a few other reasons, and I'm sure I'll be articulating those at some point in time as I continue to try out this lifestyle.
Today ended up being a pretty fantastic day. The weather was more-or-less perfect, but in contrast to yesterday's rain and gloom, it felt like a perfect transitional day. A bit of rain, a lot of sun... a good day for walking, which is lucky because I ended up doing a lot of that.
So, my friend Alec had an assignment to do for his anthropology class. He had to go observe people and write down his observations in order to write a two page paper (I'm not sure the point exactly but people-watching is fun), so we decided to walk downtown. That's about a mile or so to walk, up and down hills of course but not an unpleasant walk when the weather is nice and you have nothing better to do with an afternoon.
Watching people in Downtown Asheville is strange. It's not quite a big enough city for there to be the distracted-and-serious business people, and it's not quite bustling, but there's enough activity to make it interesting. It's relaxed downtown, and nobody seems in any particular rush to do anything or go anywhere. But like any other downtown area, all the people walk by, oblivious of their surroundings and so focused on their own thoughts and their own lives that they don't seem to notice the rustle of the leaves in the trees, the cool fall breeze that seems out of place in September but makes the day the perfect temperature.
It always strikes me when people watching, how lonely everybody seems. All these people, lost in their own thoughts, moving on autopilot... how interesting it would be to step into their mind for a second and see if they are even living fully. Even here in Asheville, the people walk by like robots, smiling to themselves and generally uninterested in anything outside of their own minds. I can't blame them for it, since I have days like that too, but it's just interesting to note the stark contrast between the lively community of the drum circle downtown on Friday nights with the sleepy monotony and loneliness of a Tuesday afternoon.
So, I'm back at school now, and for once I'm alone in my room with my thoughts. It's weird... it seems to quiet and lonely in here without the companionship of my friends.
Today, I seem to have retreated into my own mind a bit. Caught in my own analysis of my surroundings and distracted by other stories or people or places, I'm not sure what I need to snap out of this silence. I'm unnerved by the fact that I feel like I'm neither here nor there, not fully present in conversations as thoughts whisk me to other places and reality snaps me back.
It's been raining lately, patches of torrential downpour and moments of gloomy grey sky. I'm enraptured by it, the noise and the feel of it... I've danced in it already, and I'm still cold and shivering. A moment of brief respite from my mind, though a few minutes of spinning around like a madwoman possessed by some undeniable urge to be strange for no apparent reason. Cold and shivering with rain battering me, it was easy to feel small and forgettable for a little bit. Unfortunately, this foolishness, though not regretted, was only a momentary escape before my mind closed around me again and I found myself at a standstill.
Sometimes, in moments like that, I believe that I shouldn't be around people at all. Like the presence of people I barely know but already know too well (it's a strange contradiction) makes the fact that I'm silently lost less legitimate and more like a show of my inability to decide how I should act or what I need to be doing.
These are scattered thoughts, but I'm thinking in terms of rainstorms, ideas and judgements and my own uncertainty... leaves tracked in by feet, unnoticed until they are scattered across your floor. I'll just keep dancing around in circles, embracing the rain until the world is a blur and my mind has settled.
Lacking words to describe today, or any deep revelations to share, I leave you with a few scattered thoughts.
This weekend felt like summer, prolonged.
Repetition of familiar trails isn't always bad; the familiarity is comforting.
Sometimes the best quotes are the ones that are embarrassing.
Moments between friends when seen by an almost-stranger are incredibly awkward.
It's hard to explain some things and still sound sane.
Here is where the new and the old collide. Here is where there is only the unknown, and the possibility of a shift. Here, on this treacherous crevice of choices, I hesitate and wonder if I have the courage to jump off the edge or if I will simply fall backwards and trust the solidity of solid ground.
So, I know it's after midnight so it's TECHNICALLY September 3rd, but so far as I'm concerned, it's still the 2nd so this is still a daily post.
I'm back home, in my even-more-empty-and-echo-y room, and I can't help but feel a bit disconnected. This is home... my room and my bed (though it now looks freakishly small after dorm beds), my house, my car. This is my town, the place I've lived for the last eight years, but part of me doesn't recognize this as "home" anymore.
Home is in the mountains, in my little dorm room with few decorations and far too much window, where the sun wakes me up cheerily every day by shining directly in my face. Where I spend a lot of time wandering aimlessly with these friends that are already like family, and where we spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing.
The thing is, a couple of them are here for the weekend. One of them lives in town, and the other is living in my house for the weekend so that she isn't alone on campus. They're my new home, these friends, and here they are, lurking in the home I've known for years. It's a strange disconnect and a strange sense of displacement. Our friendship is almost defined by the where-- the Botanical Gardens (the Botans), the Ridges, and even the mountains themselves-- but here, far away from mountains and far less shady, our friendship remains the same sort of comfortable companionship that makes it seem like I have known them for much longer than the time I have.
Driving around my town tonight, music blaring and banter flowing freely as it always does, it strikes me that home is never a set place. Home is everywhere that you find a place to be, where you are comfortable with yourself and your surroundings. And seeing home as a sort-of-stranger only seems to make it more magical, because it is not the physical place that matters, but how you see the place.
It's September at last and as promised to a few people months ago, I will be blogging every day this month. There's a lot going on right now-- hence the fact that I have yet to post despite the abundance of things to write about lately-- but I think this is an important month. This is my first month of college life, and I've also decided that for this month, I'm going to become vegetarian, just to see how it goes. Granted, I'll probably make a few exceptions this weekend since I'm returning home (and cafeteria food is more vegetarian friendly, though not always the most delicious).
At any rate, this is just the short intro post since I'm running out of time to write today and I desperately need sleep.