Being on campus during the summer is very different from the hustle and bustle of the school year. Buildings lock at 5pm sharp, and there’s a strange hush hovering over the cracked sidewalks. Even the wind, which is still as cold and strong as ever, seems quieter.
The first thing we did was unpack. We didn’t bother moving any of the furniture, so Maddie and I have very little space to move around in the corner bedroom, but it’s cozy. I put up some loose white curtains to make it feel less intimidating, and my stuffed teddy bear always greets us with a smile and open arms when we enter.
After settling in we walked to the grocery store to buy sundry supplies and some food for the night. We ran into two friends, one carrying a brown paper bag stapled at the top, and the other bearing a plastic container of cut pineapple. The four of us laughed and commiserated over homework at the street corner, the wind whipping our hair every which way and tugging at our jackets and sweaters. We soon parted ways, them to their warm home down the street and us to the consumerist lighting of the grocery store.
I always associate the grocery store with my mom, so going without her continues to be a surreal experience. I still remember everything she taught me about shopping, like how to find the best fruit and to always look for expiration dates. Never buy diet drinks or anything that says “no sugar” because it’s probably made with fake sugar (I still don’t know why that’s unhealthy but it was drilled into me from a very young age). Always put your fruit, vegetables, and meats in separate plastic bags. Never buy anything with the sticker “Manager’s Special” unless you plan to cook it today because it probably expired yesterday. Always buy bananas that are mostly green and not too yellow because they always ripen faster than you think they will.
Upon returning to the apartment, we microwaved our TV dinners and started catching up on emails with Flannel Graph playing softly in the background. For all the chaos of excessive homework loads and worrying about logistics in preparation for our jobs next year, the apartment feels safe and like a peace haven. As I write this, I’m sitting cross-legged on a blue couch, trying to remind myself that life is actually quite wonderful.
Stick around for what will hopefully be daily reflections on this adventure for the next two months. I’m excited to see what God will do in us and through us, and I can’t wait to share those experiences with you. I’ll be back with another post tomorrow!