I have decided not to ramble at length about my adventures visiting my sister-in-law at her new college in Clemson last Friday. Hunter is eighteen, and doing the dorm-room-thing for the first time.
I think, instead of giving you my best attempts at explanations for the day, I'll just show you a few photographs, see if I can't let the images do most of the talking for me.
(EDIT after I finished writing: I totally lied. I ramble all over the place in this entry. I'm going to go ahead and say I politely misdirected your expectations! See, it's not a lie if I use really big words to explain it)
Hunter, in her Clemson shirt, showing Robin and I the stadium. When we first arrived, Robin and I and our stockpile of cold medicine, snacks, and clothing waited outside Hunter's dorm for her to get back from class, wherein I discovered that Robin knows everyone. Or at least three kids on campus were people she recognized within about five minutes. It is really fun to watch.
When Hunter returned, we lounged in her dorm room for a bit; incredibly coordinated and well-kept. At some point... the walk began. We saw classroom buildings, a beautiful clocktower, had lunch at a place I seem to recall was called the Pita Pit, which was like Subway if Subway had hummus and tsatziki.
The walking... continued. Jason's family has kind of a history with Clemson, and there is no shortage of fun stories and things to point out while you walk with Robin.
I highly recommend Robin and Hunter as Clemson tour guides; I never stopped being entertained and learning things.
The stadium is called Death Valley. Along the sides, high up in the stadium, there is a happy cheerful message declaring "Clemson Welcomes You to Death Valley." For the fans, of course, this is a happy and loving greeting. For the opposing team, however, I imagine it's a little more unsettling.
This... is a rock. It is a very important rock, as it was presented to one of Clemson's coaches, and it is in fact a rock from Actual Death Valley out in California. Apparently, before the game, they take the cover off and the members of the team touch it for luck?
The library is beautiful. Actually, most of the spaces here are beautiful; even patches of unused grass seemed to be planned out and executed on purpose. Most of the "free spaces" have been worked on so there is careful landscaping, pretty benches. Something to look at.
Clemson is a really sprawling campus; from having driven by it once or twice in the dark, I was surprised to discover just how much land it takes up. I believe I walked at least half of that land on Friday, and my legs believe that, too.
Even if their students have way too much free time, clearly. In case you can't tell, this is one of those little seed-y burrs stuck onto a stick, which is then stuck into the ground. Hunter discovered several of these things.
I was eighteen once...
and I had too much free time.
Point proven. Check and mate.
There's a point in here where I didn't take any pictures, because I was too busy enjoying my time with Hunter and Robin. Hunter is this incredible self-assured woman, and I keep thinking about the teenager I met for the first time when I was nineteen. We were both so shy about it we hardly spoke to one another, as I recall, at least at first. I was terrified of doing something so completely insane that I would be forever disliked not only by Jason's family but possibly the whole state of South Carolina at large and I can only imagine Hunter was trying to figure out what this crazy lady was doing in her house.
Sometimes I still worry that I am about to do something completely insane.
Well, it's not so much that I worry I might as I try to figure out exactly when. Really, it's not a matter of if.
In any case, there was a lot of walking. A lot a lot a lot. I kept up, and I impressed myself. Once thing I can say is that taking up our long walks back in Illinois was really good for me; I have a lot of energy and stamina I didn't have six months ago, I can tell you that.
We went by their student center for ice cream; Clemson as its own microcreamery, where students study ice cream.
I am beginning to think my career plans should change; I want to study ice cream now.
We had some, and it was that incredible thick Coldstone Creamery-type of ice cream. I did not take pictures because I was too busy eating it. So there.
At some point, we went back to have a few minutes at Hunter's dorm room before heading off with her friend Ben to see Crew, the rowing team, in action. And here, I began taking pictures again. I was asked to take some photos of Hunter and Crew stuff.
I have a few pictures from warm-ups, but I really like this one because of the way Hunter is smiling like that.
The rowing boats. I have this urge to call them 'rowboats' even though I know that's not what they're called. Canoes? I don't even know what they're called. I'm sure someone out there does and will tell me.
The lake, with the dock and the bleachers by it. It was, surprisingly, really quiet over here. I really enjoyed my time alternately watching the rowing people and just sort of closing my eyes and being aware of the lake and everything.
A sailboat, just sort of gliding along in the lake. I don't even know. This just seemed like such a moment out of time I couldn't help but photograph it.
Where I spent much of my time sitting, next to the docks, on the bleachers. The sun was beginning to go down, slip-sliding in and out of the clouds. There was just something kind of wonderful going on.
There is an interim period here where we lose Hunter for a bit and then find her again. We went out to dinner with Robin, my father-in-law Rusty, Hunter and her friend Ben. We had delicious, delicious foods. I caught a ride with Rusty so I could get home in time to have about an hour with Jason before he had to leave for work.
Then, as mentioned in my previous entry, I worked a pretty grueling two days. I went to work for a shorter shift today and was informed by my manager that I did a pretty good job with what was handed to me those two days. I have a shiny new sense of pride in what I can do at my job, my manager is giving me a four-day weekend, I ate a giant chocolate-covered cream puff today just because I could, and Jason is for some reason napping on the living room floor instead of in the bed.
I don't know. Don't make me explain these mysterious habits.
Tomorrow I go to Do Laundry over at Jason's best friend's place. After that, the three of us are having spicy chicken taco soup. Or at least chicken taco soup with the option of spiciness included.
I can't lie; it's going to be pretty exciting.
Well, I'm excited.