Saturday, March 19, 2011

Montréal & Vermont, Part 1

I am currently writing this in the lovely hotel room my Dad managed to score for me and the ladies at Le Westin in Old Montréal...and let me tell you, we are so grateful for the room and the sweet deal he got us. We've got free wi-fi, a heavenly shower, and Brenna and Austin are about to go take a dip in the glass-bottom pool on the fourth floor that overlooks the street outside. Swank-yyy!

Now, in installments, I present the saga of my first collegiate road trip!

Day One: Tuesday
It's always best to begin with the beginning, so we begin our tale with my flight from RDU in North Carolina (where all my trips begin, really) to Hartford. The flight was full of me working on my Anthropology Midterm Study Guide (eek!). But more of interest it was, unlike Thursday's flight, abrim with sunshine and puffy clouds. Luckily for me I got a window seat on both flights (yes, I am the rare breed of people who prefer the window seats to those on the aisle) and simply sat, watching the clouds puff by and marveling at the smallness of the intricate cities miles below me. I love how small people seem when you're up in the air; it's a lot like playing the board game Life, when the people are small and slim and casting long shadows as they get into their cars. Amelia Earhart once said that "I have always believed the lure of flying is the lure of beauty." Every time I am in the air I feel so weightless and unbound, like the stars and beyond are within grasp.

Have I mentioned how much I like planes? And Amelia Earhart?

Once my feet and thoughts left the clouds I was in the rather unassuming Connecticut town of Hartford. Upon landing I was greeted by the gleeful face of my roommate, Austin. She and I made the hour drive back to Mount Holyoke where we deposited clothes and picked up my camera and from whence we went to my aunt's house for the night. 

Day Two: Wednesday
We awoke the next morning to the pitter-patter of rain which, much to our chagrin, persisted late into the afternoon. We had hit the interstate around 10 a.m. and it was not until we hit I-89 that the then-terrential downpour finally let up. As aforementioned, this was my first road trip where I was the driver, and to begin such an endeavor hydroplaning more so than actually driving was really unnerving. I persisted, however, with Austin as my unfailing navigator. Once we cleared the rain we marveled at the nothingness that is Central Vermont. 

I had teased Brenna before about there being more cows in VT than people, but never was it more of a gripping reality than when we both were hungry and had full bladders. Having primarily grown up in the Southern USA where there are more Chick-fil-A's and gas stations off the highways than you could ever possibly visit, this was certainly a learning lesson. A learning lesson that resulted in Austin and I begrudgingly pulling over to the only commercial place within five miles of I-89 we could find: a bait shop. A lunch of pringles and Dr. Pepper was in order. 

Yet the nothingness is no vacuum; once the downpour ceased there were beautiful mountains and cliff faces to behold. I've always loved the mountains, having lived most of my life in the hills, but these were those craggy peaks you read about in my stack-o-fantasy novels. They were purple-y green and gorgeous, just like out of your average quest-to-overthrow-the-dark-king/lord/wizard tales tell of. For the geek that I am it was lovely.

More lovely than the peaks, though, was the arrival at Brenna's house! Her family and home are just as warm and sweet and inviting as she is (and not to mention her incredible cooking). It's strange to think I've only known her and Austin for less than a year, but in so many ways I just know they are going to be with me for a long while. College creates new families.

And on that note, I'll tell you more of the saga tomorrow!
current jam: "carry on my wayward son" kansas
best thing in my life right now: brenna's baking
days until my (now official!) departure: 78 

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