Here we go. It's only been a couple days, but it's been a pretty long two days.
Graduation day had its ups and downs, as expected. Was irritated in the morning because I was awake so, so early and then had to stand around the arts quad for 90 minutes before anything happened. Then we walked.
There was a procession around the quad and then by the professors, by Uris, and then up to Schoellkopf.
It was the fullest I have ever seen that stadium. Sat through the ceremony, which made me almost cry once or twice, remembering the last four years. Skorton mentioned Brian Lo, and I teared up there. He also mentioned "The Pickup," our freshman reading assignment, and there was a collective groan from every undergraduate. He mentioned the video "This Is" which two seniors made about Cornell. I miss it. I knew I would, but it still seems strange how much I really do miss it. Just the feeling of it. Not the classes, not the hills, not anything specific. Just the feeling there. The last couple of days there I had to block it out, not think about leaving, no more thinking about lasts or finals or goodbyes.
The English ceremony was good, too. "It's not easy being an English major, you get made fun of a lot, sometimes unfairly." But I was hot from sitting through commencement and hungry because it was 1. Afterwards I was miserable and started getting a really bad headache, which then ended up being a migraine. Hurt to see, to move, etc. And it hurt so much it made me nauseous. Yeeesh. Drove to Outback for dinner and promptly threw up. Glad I made it to the restaurant, though, because I really thought I was going to have to pull over. After that I just had a headache and was a little tired and dehydrated, but felt comparatively lots better. So, rough day. Long day. Anywho.
I left Tuesday, because my lease was up at 8am and I didn't have a place to stay after that. Heading out of Ithaca, maybe 40 minutes into my drive, I panicked a little bit. Okay, well, actually, I panicked quite a bit the night before because it just occurred to me how ridiculous my plan was. I thought "I can't do this. I absolutely can't do this." I moved on but then, driving away from Ithaca it was incredible. I was doing it. What in the world!
I started listening to a country station because it's what comes in nowhere and a song called "Knee Deep" came on and it made me feel better. It reminded my why I wanted to do this trip in the first place. I want to be with myself in a place where I don't have to worry about the things I usually worry about, so I can really figure out what it is I want to do/be/whatever. And I want to see new places. Anyway, it brought me back to a good place and I kept on my way. Until I found a Sonic. Which was completely awesome, especially because my strawberry limeade was half price.
I got into Gettysburg at about 5:30 and all of the monuments close at 5. I went into Wal-mart to buy a tent, but then couldn't figure out where to go for a campground so I gave up the tent and then spent quite a long time in the parking lot trying to figure out where I would stay for the night. I found a cheap motel with good reviews for $55 a night and thought I'd go for it. Good part of town, decent enough looking. Get my room, lounge about, then walked around Gettysburg to see the cute buildings.
Went back to the room after my stroll through the cemetery and around town and set out to find lodging for the next night so I didn't end up stuck in a Wal-Mart parking lot again. While doing this, I found a gross round, red bug in that little welcome folder that's in rooms. I freaked out because it looked kind of like a tick, but bigger and pushed the folder in the corner away from everything. I was still a little grossed out but figured I would just sleep on top of the blankets since it was warm anyway. I keep feeling squirmy and then felt something sharp on my leg, like a bite, and I flinched. I shifted and then saw an identical red bug scurry out from underneath me and into the folds of the blanket. NOPE! I very quickly packed all of my things and took them back to my car and decided to sleep in my car.
I squeezed myself into the back but couldn't get comfortable. For reference, my car:
Quite full. I tried to take a picture of me sleeping in it so I could show people how ridiculous the situation was, but I couldn't extend my arm far enough to even get a shot. It was about a million degrees inside and I was lying on my bag of shoes so it was just impossible. I finally gave in and went to the Motel 6 a few miles away. By this time it was already 1am and I was super exhausted because I'd gotten up at 6:30 to finish moving out of the apartment. I paid for my room and realized I didn't know where my credit card was. I had used it to pay for gas and dinner and then it was gone. I thought I left it in the bug room. So I drove all the way back and looked for it. No card. Decided it probably fell out of my pocket while crawling into the backseat to try to sleep. It hasn't been used by anyone yet, but I'll keep checking to make sure. Went back to the Motel 6 and fell asleep right quick.
I hit snooze a bunch in the morning and didn't get started as early as I would've liked, and I had to go turn the key in at bug motel and ask if I could get my money back. She seemed just as grossed out as I was, but said I would have to talk to the owner when he came in at 11 (it was 9:30 then). She said she would call me when he got in. I went on my way for the day.
Appalachia! This is a terrible picture, and all the pictures I took were terrible, but it's absolutely a beautiful place. I love it just after driving through, in a mildly frightened way, with no cell phone reception. But it is crazy beautiful out here.
I got off the highway to go to Antietam, unaware that Antietam is not really a city. Or a town. Or even a hamlet. I did a lot of driving and there were a lot of cars and a lot of homes, but the homes were on big lots and I couldn't figure out where on earth the cars could be headed because there are no stores or anything like that around. I ended up turning around and going back to where I got off the highway so I could get cell reception again and figure out where to stay for the night. The plan had been to buy a tent and camp, but that had been based on the silly assumption that there would be stores in Antietam. I ended up settling no a B&B in Sharpsburg which is close to the battlefield that I want to go to in the morning. It's lovely and I'm very happy with my choice, even if I'm not happy with how much I'm spending to stay here.
Tomorrow is Antietam, Manassas and Fredericksburg, hopefully. And hopefully to Richmond by evening, but we'll see. So much adventure in just two days! More to come, I'm sure. Hopefully some grand personal insight soon, too. It's only been two days so I haven't had much time for reflection yet.