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it’s a crazy beautiful life we live AKA the dream

So, today for me was one of those days that would seem insane to other people, but for me, it’s insanely energizing. Hence the reason I am typing this at 11:34 PM from Espresso Royale rather than from my couch. Anyway.

9 AM: Up and at ’em!

10 AM: Yogurt and YouTube.

10:30 AM: Arrive at Helen C. to pick up midterm exams.

10:50 AM: After fighting the wind, arrive at Bascom to proctor the midterm exam (BASCOM HILL ASCENT #1)

11:00 AM: Proctor exam.

12:00 PM: Return finished exams to office in Helen C. (BASCOM HILL DESCENT #1). Hang out in office answering emails and stuff, forgetting to eat lunch.

1:15 PM: Teach first class of the day.

2:15 PM: Upon leaving first class, realize that I do not have what I need for the third class I have to teach today. Guess I gotta run home at some point.

2:25 PM: Teach second class of the day (BASCOM HILL ASCENT #2)

3:05 PM: Dismiss second class 10 minutes early because I have to run home and get stuff I forgot (but they don’t have to know that). (BASCOM HILL DESCENT #2)

3:20 PM: Arrive home, proceed to tear up apartment. Just when about to give up, locate papers needed to give to third class. No time to celebrate: gotta run back to teach third class.

3:30 PM: Sail into third class exactly on time, almost face planting in front of the desk. Teach third class of the day.

5:00 PM: After stopping at Fresh to pick up sushi, fruit, cookies, and coffee, head to Helen C. for office hours.

6:00 PM: Office hour done, go home to drop off backpack.

7:35 PM: Arrive at salsa class in Van Vleck only 5 minutes late (but actually on time, since they started 10 minutes late today). Salsa for an hour, dance dance dance (BASCOM HILL ASCENT #3).

9:00 PM: Arrive at home, check in with parents. (BASCOM HILL DESCENT #3). Just enough time to drink some water, change my pants, and pick up my Latin shoes.

9:40 PM: Arrive at Latin dance class, 10 minutes late, but it’s a full hour so I didn’t miss that much. And today of all days is Samba stationary walks, bota fogos, and whisks, nonstop, at a dizzying pace, with a new teacher, an awesome tiny lady who threatens to kill us all if we stop dancing. Since no one wants to die, we all dance for most of the full hour. I get complimented by her on my hip movement.

10:40 PM: Walk home, but run into a friend who is heading to the library, reminding me that I have some stuff to scan there.

11:00 PM: After a short debate with myself, decide I’m on a roll, drop off shoes, pick up laptop and scripts to scan, and head to library.

11:25 PM: Leave library having scanned script to email (only 11 pages) and decide to reward myself with some snacks.

11:40 PM: Arrive at Espresso Royale, which is the only coffee place on State that is open until midnight to enjoy coffee, jellybeans, fruit, and Goldfish crackers and type this post.

It’s a good thing that the gym is closed or else I might have ended up there too. Call me crazy but I love days like this.

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Excuse Me, For I Shall Be Exiting Via the Emergency Snow

I should totally not be blogging right now, but today I got my first visitors from a country I have not been to, Ukraine (Ласкаво просимо!) and a country that I have been to, Slovakia (vitajte!).

In January 2012, I got to spend two wonderful weeks in cold, wintry Slovakia (which was not nearly as cold as it is here at the moment, -6 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of don’t-even-tell-me degrees Fahrenheit) with Dramatic Adventure Theatre. Jesse and Mary, who have been running this program for a decade now, are fantastic people and I can’t wait until I have the chance to travel on one of their trips again. I went with them to Ecuador as a part of ACTion: Ecuador in 2009 (three weeks after I graduated from UMass!) and was thrilled when I was chosen to be a part of their team in Slovakia. Based on that trip, I made connections and received the inspiration for my thesis, but this post isn’t about that.

Of all the memories and stories from both DAT trips, the one that stands out to me happened on one of our final days on the trip, and didn’t have anything to do with theatre or travel. We were staying at a privat (hotel) in the town of Zdiar, a resort town in the High Tatra mountains, doing independent writing/artistic projects, and preparing for the trip home. My days in Zdiar were usually spent exploring the town with Richard, our group’s translator and my roommate for the trip. One day we were walking back from somewhere (I think it might’ve been the day we discovered the secret resort hotel, but that’s another story) and we had been walking for quite awhile. It was getting late, and my legs were so tired. Our hotel sat sort of in the middle of a hill; to get into the town, you walked up a steep path towards the houses/restaurants/businesses, and to get down the road leading out of town, you walked down a steep path directly parallel to the first. This created a pretty sheer and severe drop, getting up to several stories high, and as it was winter, it was covered in snow. As we passed some children playing with sleds and riding them together down the cliff of snow, I wondered what it would be like to do it. I wanted to slide down the hill too. It sure beat walking. I asked Richard if he wanted to do it with me; he said no, that I had a backpack full of souvenirs (true) and that we didn’t even have sleds (true) so how would we get down the hill? Then, I dared him to go down the cliff on his bottom, and then I realized that that method of nudging does not work in Slovakia. Maybe he would do it if I went first.

“I’m going to do it.”

I looked out over a drop of at least four stories, then took my backpack off my back and strapped it to my front. “I’m going to do it,” I said, once more, as he looked at me, incredulous. “Those little kids just did it on their sleds; I can do it without one.” He still didn’t believe me until I crouched on the ground, then sat and scooted to the edge of the cliff. “Last chance, Richard, come on, do it with me!”

I waited a few seconds, then wrapped my arms around my bag and pushed off the cliff.

Richard couldn’t believe it, and neither could I.

I started off with my eyes closed, but opened them when I started to pick up speed, whipping through the snow. It was incredible. I could hear the roar of the spirit of the avalanche (or maybe just my coat causing friction) and I watched as the scene skewed itself, as if the mountains were moving upward as I landed on my feet, standing in knee deep snow, and now at the bottom of the hill. I dusted myself up and shrieked with delight, I looked up at Richard, waving at him to come down.

He just shook his head and moved away from the edge, continuing down the hill on the same path, whereas I had chosen The Path Less Traveled. Or at least less traveled by crazy grownups. After I checked my bag to make sure I hadn’t broken anything, I proceeded up the less-steep lower path.

And that’s how I beat Richard back to the hotel.