“I wasn’t lucky enough to be born in the South, but I got here as fast as I could.”
Since I’m probably going to be back home for a good long time after graduation, I want to take advantage of all the uniquely Southern things that North Carolina has to offer. I want to learn how to dance the Carolina Shag. I want to figure out how to roast a pig. And I want to get better at shooting guns. Continue reading
Well, I will be.
I’ve accepted an offer to work in sales for General Mills in Minneapolis.
It’s a great company with a long legacy of strong brands and values, and I’m thrilled to be part of such a respected organization. It feels great to have my job situation settled and decided before fall semester exams, and I know I’m really fortunate to be in this position.
I’ll graduate from Notre Dame in May, but my start date at General Mills isn’t until February of 2013. That leaves me with about eight months between college and career – and puts me in kind of an odd, fun limbo situation.
I’m going to have eight months to do whatever the hell I want. I’ll probably move back home, and I’ll need to find a way to fill my days. I could teach swim lessons, go to Europe, fold sweaters, sling lattes, volunteer, and/or sit around being lazy. I could do all or none or some of those things, and I think that’s cool. I’m really excited to start working for General Mills, but I’m also pretty excited to have time to relax before starting real life.
Last week marked my blog’s one year anniversary.
When I started blogging, I intended for the site to serve as a journal of sorts during my trip to India. I didn’t really think anyone would read my blog except for my parents and the handful of friends I had emailed about it. I wrote mostly about football when I returned to Notre Dame in the fall.
Things changed when I wrote about my reaction to a Mass held for a classmate who was killed in an accident on campus. Because of Twitter and Facebook, the post quickly made its way through the ND alumni network. The comments people left on the post are truly astounding – a real testament to the power, strength, and compassion of the ND community. I never responded to the comments because I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t.
In January, I moved to Rome for my semester abroad. I had all kinds of fun blogging from Italy and writing about my experiences traveling around Europe and living in Trastevere. Now, I’m back in the U.S.A. and I have a summer of intern adventures in the Windy City ahead of me before I kick off senior year.
Things are still just as unsettled as they were twelve months ago. I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing a year from now, but I’m eager to find out.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for a great year.
Here are links to some of my favorite posts so far:
Since I returned to the United States, I’ve been putting off writing about the end of my semester in Rome.
It’s hard to summarize four months and do justice to all of the cool things I did and places I visited, and it’s even more difficult to succinctly recap my experiences without being trite or cliché. Yes, the semester abroad changed my outlook on the world. Yes, I recognize the value of cultural immersion. Yes, I learned another language and made great friends and had all sorts of fun hopping around Europe. Those are the big things. But I think the real value of studying abroad comes from participating in daily life in a foreign place and becoming part of a community of regular people in another part of the world.
The vivacity and energy that the Trasteverini give to the neighborhood is perhaps what I miss most from my time abroad. The sense of community was palpable in Trastevere. I learned quickly that it’s a place where people look after each other. Over the course of the semester, my morning routine in the neighborhood became one of my favorite things. I loved the outdoor market, the winding streets, the sunny piazzas, the grand palazzos – all of it. It was comforting that the folks at the coffee shop knew my order, but I really began to feel at home in Trastevere when I began to recognize the other residents: the mail carrier on his motorino, the hat-tipping accordion player, the gypsy who limped pitifully in Piazza Santa Maria but walked just fine inside the grocery store, the knife man and his bike with a grindstone tied to the handlebars. Describing it, Trastevere sounds like a caricature of an Italian neighborhood, but I swear I’m not making this up. I feel so lucky to have been able to live and work and play in such a wonderful place.
Coming home to North Carolina was pretty much like I expected it to be. I don’t have reverse culture shock because I know how America is and I didn’t expect it to change very much while I was away. People drive big cars and eat dinner early and drink soda with ice. Fine. I’m finding it amusing to compare certain aspects of life here to life in Italy (like appropriate church attire, for example), but I’m not disgusted with the American way. It’s just different.
It’s good to be back home – as much as I loved my time in Rome, I was ready to come back to America. And now, in just a few weeks, I’ll move up to Chicago for the summer. I’m interning at an advertising agency downtown for nine weeks, and then I will move straight from Chicago to Notre Dame at the beginning of August for RA training. I don’t know if I’ll be back in North Carolina before Thanksgiving, so I’ve had to unpack my Rome things and simultaneously repack for Chicago and for school. That’s the other thing – this is my last time packing for school, what with starting my senior year in college and all. Senior year means graduation and (hopefully) gainful employment. It’s odd to think that this month that I’m spending at home between Rome and Chicago might be the longest period of time I’m ever “home” again.
My year of adventures abroad has come to a close, but the coming year promises to be pretty exciting, too.
Paris feels like somebody took Rome and stretched it out. Paris has wide boulevards in place of Rome’s winding alleys, verdant parks instead of cobbled piazzas, and speedy subways rather than wheezing buses. I noticed a lot of similarities between the cities, but Paris felt distinctly more like a working city. It seems like everyone in Rome must work in service or tourism because the city’s industrial, commercial center is invisible. There are no skyscrapers in Rome. There are no skyscrapers in the heart of Paris either, but the tall buildings of the La Defense financial district pop up at the eastern end of the Champs Elysees. Continue reading
The dead-end corner of Terminal 1 at RDU is always the same. Southwest Airlines flights arrive and depart from the five gates in the cluster. The area is perpetually filled with anxious people awaiting flights to larger cities, nervously checking their watches and cell phones for updates on their connecting flights. This sad little end of the terminal always smells like stale Cinnabon and sweat and soccer cleats.
I went home this weekend. Or maybe I came home this weekend. I can never decide if I am coming or going—departing from Notre Dame home and arriving at North Carolina home. Either way, I spent a few days in Cary, and now I am flying to Chicago. I’ll catch a bus (probably) and the bus will take me to Notre Dame. Continue reading
The mission of every family is to dissolve.
It sounds awful and harsh and tragic, but think about it. What is a parent’s job? To raise and protect children, to make sure that those children are healthy, safe, happy and smart, and to teach those children to be savvy enough to be able to successfully operate in the world on their own.
The mission of every family is to dissolve.
I don’t know how ready I am for my nuclear family to dissolve, but I can attest to the power of this phenomenon in a different way.