March 23, 2010
We set sail on the HMS Andromeda five days ago. The setting off is always the most exciting: the briny wind in your face and the sea stretched out endlessly ahead of you. It was smooth sailing from the Port of New York all the way to the Carolinas. The New World holds great promise. It is a land awash with lemons. The only problem the crew and I have now is… which ones do we choose?
On Wednesday, March 17, I packed my little red Toyota Yaris with eight boxes, a laundry basket, a poufy comforter set, and a bunch of other random essentials. And, to my immense surprise and relief—it all fit, and with room to spare!
On Thursday, March 18, I bid farewell to my dad and my brothers, and my mom and I set out on our “blind road trip”. Blind because we had no set plans, only to get as far as we could, perhaps try to reach Roanoke at the farthest, and because we couldn’t see out the packed-nearly-to-the-brim back of the car! We drove through Pennsylvania, a tiny piece of Maryland, and then a bit of West Virginia. But I was most excited to hit Virginia—my native state! It was also the most beautiful part of the trip. We were surrounded by mountains (I want to say on one side were the Appalachians, and on the other were the Blue Ridge.) At sunset the world became awash with layers color: the grass a bright emerald green, the trees red with bursting buds, the mountains behind purple, and the sky glowing orange. We made it to someplace 15 minutes outside of Roanoke and stopped for the night.
On Friday, March 19, we set out once again. But first, we had breakfast. It was free. A word to the wise: never eat breakfast anywhere if it’s free. About a sluggish hour or so later, we had a second, much better breakfast and gained back our energy. We drove through the rest of Virginia, the whole of North Carolina, and then finally hit South Carolina. (I’ve never seen so many trucks before!)
On Saturday and Sunday, my wonderful new roommate showed my mom and me around Rock Hill and Charlotte. I think Ithaca spoiled me. It only takes five minutes to drive anywhere there, and the most complicated highway is Route 13 with two lanes. In Rock Hill one must drive on two- and three-lane highways for at least 15 minutes. I must say, though, that I’ve never seen so many shopping centers in one area. (It’s a good thing I haven’t that much money to spend!) A big challenge for me will be getting used to driving on the interstate. But I suppose if I can drive on 81 and 77 with a stuffed car, I can drive to Charlotte with an empty one.
But I think my favorite thing so far—aside from the freedom, my wonderful roommate, the super cute French bakery in Charlotte, the enormous Barnes and Noble, and the Panera Bread—is being around holly and magnolias again!
It has not been the great shock I feared it would be. Usually when I venture out on my own, I get hit with a paralyzing fear and all I want to do is cower under my covers. But it hasn’t happened yet. Perhaps it’s the leftover practice I got from college. Or perhaps it’s just further proof that it’s past my time to be out on my own. And there appear to be plenty of lemons for the picking. But you know what they say about appearances....
Well, we’ll have to see what comes next.
Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too. (Hope Floats)