Yesterday was a scramble to wrap up preparations and mid-afternoon I made the quick trip from my home-sweet-home to Nebraska City. Unlike a lot of the people in the program I live relatively close and don’t have far to go. Most traveling by car had a rough go because of all the flooding in the area. Those flying, well, had that nonsense to deal with of course. In truth, the drive was one of the best parts of my day. I would not have minded a detour that took me two hours off a regular route (as long as it was expected). I covet the time I’m the car to think about life.
My thoughts largely rotated around my expectations for the next ten days. I’ve got a week and a half of immersion in all things writing related and Lied Lodge Living. It’s an experience that truely does not compare to any other in my life. I can expect to laugh, and cry, and be filled with anxiety, doubt, confidence, and satisfaction. Sometimes all at the same time.
On my drive I was thinking about my first Res and how one of the people in the “upper class” said something about crying. At the time I’m sure the look in my face was screwed up with disbelief. What on earth is there to cry about? She just said “you’ll see”. Now that I’ve been here twice before, I know exactly what she’s talking about and was thinking about that in the car.
What will it be? How does one spiral into that frantic state. Is it the total immersion? The people? The overwhelming amount of thought my brain goes through? Probably a combination of all of it and the only other question will be “when”. Then again, life always has a way of surprising us so maybe something about this time will be different. So far though, that has not been the case.
Day 0 and I’ve already gone through the familiar first steps of coming together with the group, feeling awkward like I don’t belong, worrying about where to sit (there were not very many open seats when I came in the room and none next to any familiar faces), and then sitting alone in the front row.
Time slowed down to a snails pace and the next 15 minutes in that seat felt like 5 painful years creeping by. Why the hell would they say to be there at 6:15 if they were not going to start the welcome presentation until 6:30? Good grief.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the dinner to follow was equally awkward. I went into the dining room with a friend from my weekly writing group and we selected a table and made a straight line for the buffet. When I returned I found someone else’s plate at my space at the table which left no open seat for me to sit and eat. My choices? Sitting at the adjacent table alone which would make me a stark center of attention, or sitting with people I didn’t know, or squeezing in – making that 4-top into a 5-top. I choose the latter. It was super awkward.
I fucking hate the dining room. Hate it.
Anyway, after a dinner of salad and chocolate cake I lingered a bit because Margret was telling a story and then i left at the same time as she did. I went to my room to recover. It sounds like no freaking big deal, any normal person would not batt an eyelash. But not yours truly. I wish I could get over myself. Good grief! 🤦🏼♀️
After that I went for a walk and that felt great. The sun was nearing the horizon and I knew I had about 45 minutes to go out and come back to the back patio of the lodge to watch it dip below the tree line. That’s exactly what I did. The walk was peaceful albeit not exactly refreshing as I could not relax my mind. I got a few nice snaps in of a tiny lake area that I had not visited before. Then, returning to my starting point, found a lovely inconspicuous spot on the patio.
The sunset was so-so. I’m sure there will be better ones in the future because I’ve seen it.
After the sunset I lingered again and a first year student came out solo for a view or a bit of fresh air. That’s when I did a thing I almost never do, which is approach and introduce myself. We chatted about the program for about a half an hour and it was good. A highlight of the night really. One on one is much more my speed.
When that conversation exhausted itself, I excused myself and went to the “bookstore” to help a few of my friends do inventory. That was it for my night. What would follow is the familiar return to the room for a night of tossing and turning and trouble falling asleep.
Fitbit says I got 6 hours, but it certainly does not feel like it.
Right about now I’m 54 minutes into a sesh with the treadmill in the exercise room at the lodge. Another familiar space, and a welcoming one. I only have a few more minutes before I need to scoot my booty to get dressed for the day, eat breakfast (sans dining room), and get to student orientation which starts at 8:30 (or will it be 8:45? 😉).
I’ve gotten some steps and now it’s time to dive in!