As I sit here eating my Lucky Charms and sipping very strong coffee on a Sunday afternoon, I can’t help but feel that the adult world I’m stepping into and the adolescent world I’m leaving behind sometimes come together in beautiful ways. You’d really expect them to clash which, believe me, they do, but this weekend my life seemed to be a bit more harmonious than usual.

It might be that it started out with not having my classes on Friday, thus giving me the afternoon to go into Towson and run some errands. That phrase alone, “running errands,” just makes any shopping experience sound more adult. Heck, I was just buying more paint and chilling out at Barnes and Noble for a while until I met up with my friend Emily to buy some groceries. While I was alone for that time I felt more relaxed and contemplative than I’ve been lately.

I’ve felt a little stuck in a rut creativity-wise. Overall I’ve been very productive, but originating ideas hasn’t been as easy or as frequent as usual. Which, as an artist and writer, is kind of crucial and a little worrisome. Taking that time to be by myself helped clear up some of that creativity block, though.

Later in the evening Emily came over for dinner: breakfast! Pancakes, bacon, and eggs, even freshly squeezed orange juice! Between the food, the singing, the dancing, and the joking around with awesome people, I had a relaxingly fun night.

Claire brought out her ukelele and serenaded us!

Emily making freshly squeezed OJ!

So much good food

I know all this might sound a bit humdrum, but prepare yourself, because I assure that the low-key atmosphere of my apartment on Friday became electrically charged on Saturday.

How, you ask?

Because we hosted a gaming night and it was awesome.

Remember how I joined the gaming society at UCC? Well, Erin and I were missing that weekly adventure of RPs, strategic thinking, and general geekiness, and we had a lot of games, so we decided invite a bunch of friends over for what turned out to be an unforgettable night.

And by “lots” of games, I mean: Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, Cards Against Humanity, Settlers of Catan, Werewolf (think slightly more complex Mafia), Saboteur, Geek Out (trivia), a Firefly Card Game, and so many others.

And by “a bunch” of friends, I mean over 20 (during the course of the night, not all at once). If you had told me in high school that 1) I would know over 20 people who wanted to hang out and 2) these 20+ people had a shared love for general geekery and being goofy and that being with them is a beautiful thing, I wouldn’t have believed you. Parties and social events are usually the bane of an introvert’s existence, so I never would have thought I’d have so much fun mingling with so many people, let alone hosting them in my apartment.

This is only half the room. I've never had so many people over in my life.

Erin enjoying the food and company

In the end it isn’t the fact that I’m in a weird transition period that makes me stop to think, but it’s the way the two worlds I’m in between mix together. Yes, there was a sense of adult responsibility last night – everyone brought some kind of food and they mingled and had little chats – but there was an overwhelming youthfulness when the final group left at 3 a.m. after a wonky game of charades and I still had unspent energy.

I don’t know how long this period will last, but I hope it continues to surprise me and be as enjoyable as this weekend was.

Sisters, Friends, and Study Abroad

I think I made what is to be one of my favorite college memories last night. It was one of those moments when you can step out of yourself and say “This. This is what I’m living for. And I don’t want it to end.” Of course it does, but now you have a snapshot of that one particular moment with that one particular set of feelings and that one particular smile of pure contentment playing on your lips.

Before I tell you what it was that had me loving life, I should probably give you some context before you think all I do is cook and partake in other house-wifey duties. I should also mention that this relates to my future plans for next year.

I know I’ve written that I have a sister, Curran, but I don’t think you know much more other than there’s 13 years between us and she is now raising a beautiful family with her husband Tim in Massachusetts. I didn’t get to visit her very frequently during high school, and I get to even less now that I’m in Maryland. However, since starting college, I’ve begun the practice of visiting her for about a week in the summer and winter. Those visits are truly a change of scene that I wouldn’t give up for the world.

In the winter we sit in front of a crackling fire and sip hot cider while reading books after the kids have gone to bed. In the summer we go to children’s museums in the day and concerts in the park at night. But no matter the season we always cook together. Curran has her own garden and a farm share to supply fresh vegetables and herbs; I swear it tastes different from what you buy in the store. When we start a recipe from her arsenal of cookbooks, I always end up learning something new about the art of cooking. From a faster way to chop onions to the proper order of making pesto, she makes these lessons family memories.

This is due in part to the conversations we have and the music we listen to, but the best thing we share during these bonding sessions is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. Yes, I know, I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s something that has become a family past time. As we mince garlic and wash lettuce, we try to guess the Listener Limerick and always have a good laugh when Paula Poundstone is on the show.

And as of last night, I was able to share this experience with my roommate Erin. After an exhausting week we wanted to keep our Friday night relaxing, so I made homemade spaghetti sauce with fettuccine for dinner. Instead of playing my usual cooking playlist and dancing along, or Erin watching Doctor Who in our bedroom, we enjoyed each others’ company in the kitchen. And listened to Wait Wait.

As I stirred the sauce, I looked over to see Erin laughing at Peter Sagal’s commentary while playing her 3DS, the warm light creating a comforting glow, and our future dinner filling the room with a tantalizing aroma. That’s when it happened. That moment of happiness: a sense of belonging based on the trust of friendship and the sharing of interests.

Now, as to how this could possibly have anything to do with my future plans, well…next semester Erin and I are embarking on an adventure. We’ll be leaving family and friends (though I’m sure we’ll make some new ones) to study abroad in Cork, Ireland! We’ve agreed not to be direct roommates for that time, but it’s reassuring to know she’ll still be there with me. To say I’m excited to share new experiences and make new memories would be the biggest understatement of the year. I am beyond excited.

I am impassioned, thrilled, wild, ecstatic; basically every possible adjective that could express happiness at this wonderful opportunity to learn about a new culture and make some amazing memories with one of my good friends.