Iím in a good place right now, and Iím about to go to good places. Having finished the whole college thing earlier today, Iím now on a flight to what is by far the longest and should be the most interesting trip Iíve ever taken.
First, some quick notes on the ending college thing. I didnít cry because itís been a full experience. Not studying abroad or graduating early meant I was around for the full four years. Most places would start to get old by then, and aspects of Penn (popped collars, having to wear a shirt to class) made it wear thin faster than most places. Yeah, Iíll miss many aspects of my West Philadelphia experience: Buiís egg and cheese sandwiches, the handful of close friends Iíve made, being surrounded by many people smarter and harder working than me, and having no real responsibilities to speak of come to mind. Then again, I suppose I donít exactly have pressing obligations weighting on me as I take off on what is in essence a prolonged and widespread vacation...
But more interesting than my nostalgia and lack thereof is funny shit thatís happened recently. I just realized that Iíve gone skinny-dipping this semester with 2 of the ~half dozen graduates who were specifically mentioned at the graduation ceremonies, which is just odd. One got lost in the woods at 4 in the morning wearing only her towel, but thatís a different story:)
Another of the more enjoyable experiences of the college career also happened during the graduation process. As those of you who have spent more than 30 seconds in my house at Penn have learned, I am quite proud of the kegerator that my housemates and I built. A refrigerator for a keg of beer, this construction has been used extensively over my college years and facilitated many memorable experiences. However, none topped getting my dad a a lot more than a bit intoxicated last night. Suffice it to say that his response to a friend whoís graduating arriving at my house was to accidentally replace the typical ďcongratulationsĒ with a slurred ďhi Vicki, happy new year!Ē
Actual graduation ceremonies (one for Wharton, one for all of Penn): heavy drinking and not much sleeping meant I took a bit of a nap during both. What I remember was pretty interesting, and Iím glad I went to them. Iím delighted that I didnít wear a shirt under my gown and left it entirely unbuttoned throughout the Penn ceremony. Call me an easily amused wannabe nudist, but I stood out and wasnít quite as sweaty as all the tools dressed well (or just fully dressed) under their academic regalia.
So about this trip. On a philosophical level, Iím probably compensating for feelings of inadequacy stemming from a college experience that could have been more exotic and the dawning realization that I will eventually be widely considered an ďadult.Ē Logistically, Iím hitting 5 continents as I travel for a day over 2 months straight. After a (so far) solo trip to Brazil that Iím taking later this summer, I will have set foot on every continent but that one of dubious legitimacy that resembles a giant ice cube. Physiologically, Iíve noticed that I havenít been needing nearly as much sleep during the weeklong drinking binge that was senior week. Whether this was caused by my liverís exhaustion making the rest of my body feel comparatively awake, my post-marathon lull in exercise, or what was possibly a brief bout with mononucleosis I may never know. This trip lets me introduce a shitload of time zone fluctuations to the equation, and Iíll be surprised if the results arenít entertaining.
While Iím rambling, I might as well wane philosophical a bit more. I might not be totally full of it to say that Iím controlledly falling a bit off the face of the earth. 2 bookbags, both of which are small enough that I took them as carry-ons for the flight, will need to get me through 2 months. Suffice it to say that there wasnít room for more than 3 outfits and 4 pairs of underwear, let alone much in the way of amenities. And thereís the disconnectedness: I canít check my email hourly, read all the New York Times columns daily, drink gallons of beer weekly, or waste hundreds of minutes a month blabbing into my cell phone when Iím in the outback. All of these will be nontrivial but positive (and most likely temporary) lifestyle adjustments. Cue the sentimental violin music: these changes just might help me reevaluate my priorities. Hopefully, Iíll at least suppress the travel bug enough to work my ass trying this whole career thing for at least a few years.
I know Iím becoming boring but just a bit more about that cellphone. Since I wonít be in the country for quite a while and I use email for everything anyways, I was really looking forward to canceling the service and smashing it to pieces at the airport. But, itís still in its usual, half-functional intact state for 2 reasons. Smashing a cellphone in the middle of an airport is high up there on the list of behavior so suspicious that large men with guns would want to send me to places with deceivingly attractive names like Guantanamo Bay or at least a locked asylum. Starting off an international trip by fucking with airport security = not a good idea. Also, my decaying memory salvaged a useful tidbit: people are all about selling and buying used cellphones at the computer stores in Pakistan. I wonít get much for my crappy relic, but maybe I can at least arrange to get a pet monkey on loan:)