The beginning of this week was fall break at our college campus. We had the weekend off as well as Monday and Tuesday. Since I had been planning to return home to northern Minnesota for the first time since moving down to west central Minnesota in August, I decided to take Thursday and Friday off also. The few days I spent away from this desolate prairie wasteland and back among the conifers and lakes were phenomenally enjoyable.
This is my first year of college away from home and a long way from home it is. I remember the first few weeks I was down here, only vaguely though, a lot of adapting has taken place since then. The three-day dragged out orientation process for freshmen and transfer students at the end of August was intensely boring. I had been informed by mail that my presence was required but it would have been great had I known what it entailed and that I very well could have gotten away with not attending (this sounds negative, I know, but I’m sure some of you can relate). I remember the immense amount of time and effort it took to meet new people and figure out who to make friends with. Luckily the homework load had not picked up yet and there was plenty of free time to devote to this. Did I mention I had never bought my own groceries before coming to college? The first night I went to buy food I had no idea what I needed to sustain myself in a semi-healthy manner. The first five items I put in my basket had something to do with hotdogs. I’ve since learned a few things about grocery shopping and cooking. Although the first weeks were uncomfortable and sometimes frustrating, it was well worth the effort to take them on.
The drive home was long and rainy. There were a few deer that crossed as I approached them but staying attentive kept my vehicle intact. My lily plant sat quietly on the front passenger floor and when I inadvertently opened the glove box on its head I caught myself apologizing. Talking to a plant seemed odd to me so I ignored it and its personal temperature preference for the rest of the trip.
When I finally got home just before midnight, I sat in my living room with a bowl of soup, quietly but excitedly looking at everything I hadn’t seen for a while. The pictures hanging on the wall, the bookshelf filled with various things, the scent of my dad’s cooking brought forgotten memories rushing back to me. The plant atop the bookshelf with vines that had hung down half way in August had now reached the floor. My dad, who was sitting in his recliner on the opposite side of the room with his own bowl of soup, talked about things that had happened while I was gone, the new addition on the back of the garage, why our silverware was different, and how my aunts and uncles are doing.
The weekend flew by quickly and before I knew it I was sitting in neurobio again yesterday morning (we have wednesday discussions in the cafe now so PZ can get coffee). The time I spent among the seemingly infinite number of trees and lakes in northern Minnesota was enough to keep me going until I can go back again. For now it’s just good to know that everything I call home and everyone who means the most to me are still up there, safe and sound.