Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rhode Island Reunion

Last week, we spent five glorious days in Rhode Island, visiting old friends and even older friends, eating all the vegan food, soldering tiny robots, and contracting one epic hangover. It was pretty wonderful. Here are some photos. 

L: the view from B's family home in Portsmouth. R: the cliffs and water at Squiggly Island.

Right before my dear friend Erica moved to Rhode Island and left me bereft in North Carolina, she gave me the best birthday present ever - half a plane ticket to come visit her for UNCW's Fall Break. Thanks to my $99 US Airways companion ticket, Nathan was able to come too. We arrived on Wednesday night and immediately ate a delicious meal, drank a bottle of wine, and passed out. 

The next few days were spent doing All The Things. We took a day trip to Boston, visited the Mapparium and the outdoor art on the Lawn at D, ate more food, worked for a few hours in a campus student center while Erica met with her students, went to a mini Maker Faire and learned how to solder and also saw 3D printers in person, saw the movie The Skeleton Twins in a tiny, adorable theater, walked around Brown Univeristy's bookstore, went to an art exhibit at RISD, and visited Erica's new library, which is tiny and quaint and has an actual, still-in-use card catalog (be still my former-librarian heart!). It was a lot to pack into just a few days, but we are nothing if not ambitious. It helped that we were fueled by a lot of delicious food. Also, Providence is now one of my favorite cities of all time. 

Lawn on D art! L: skywriting, as seen through an app I downloaded. R: giant swings!  For swinging!

L: quote from the Mary Baker Eddy museum that I liked. R: CARD CATALOG.

The only thing better than visiting Erica in Rhode Island was the fact that two of our best friends from undergrad also live in that tiny state, which meant we got to spend the weekend with them, too. (We went to their wedding last year, you may recall.) And because the Northeast is so small (especially compared to, say, Texas) our friends Nicola and Joe from UNCW came up from New York City for the night. At this point, we were all crashing at a family home right on the bay in Portsmouth (see sunrise photo above) and it ended up being two days of drinking, dancing, wigs (it's a long story), grilling, drinking, board games, and drinking. Oh, and laughing. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard, so much, in my life. 

MFA reunion! 

Nathan and I returned home on Monday night, and for the first time I didn't feel worn out or exhausted or slightly depressed, as I usually do after a big, exciting events. Instead I feel buoyed, energized. I'm not going to lie - the last few months have been a tough transition and quite lonely, especially because most of my friends who are going through the same experience aren't here with me. This weekend, I was reminded that I do indeed have a community, even if I don't see them every day, and that I'm not alone, even though it often feels that way. The fact that we can sit around a coffee table, drinking wine and laughing so hard we cry, no matter how much time passes, how many sublets we've burned through. how much debt we've shouldered, or how many rejections we've received is a really wonderful, important, and necessary feeling. 

And don't even get me started on the friends we were able to spend time with from undergrad, people who have been in our lives 14 years and counting. If there's anything this weekend showed me, it's that we've been lucky to form amazing friendships, and we're good at keeping those bonds strong. May they never falter. (And may I never have a hangover like that again.)