So if you live on the East Coast and you live somewhere between New York and North Carolina, you are currently experiencing one of the latest February snowstorms or enjoying its aftermath.  It really didn’t snow all that much last semester.  We got a couple of inches right at the end of finals that ended up delaying Amtrak trains on my way home but we at least got a white Christmas.  Now that the holidays are over, I’m really over the whole snow thing.

I actually don’t like snow all that much.  When I was little I loved building snowmen and going sledding.  However at school I don’t have snow boots or snow pants.  (I actually just ordered some boots on zappos because I have a feeling the snow isn’t melting anytime soon) I absolutely love skiing but I don’t own my own skis, boots, or poles and I don’t have a car to get to the nearest mountain.  Hopefully next winter I’ll get all my own gear instead of renting it.

So yeah I’m not very prepared for all the snow we got.  The first snowfall happened on Friday going into Saturday.  We got about a foot and a half then.  It took the college awhile to get to removing the snow from the parking lots and sidewalks and a lot of the eating places on campus were closed, including several restaurants and bars in Carlisle.  And then yesterday afternoon, it started snowing again and didn’t let up until about early afternoon today.  The only footwear I have that is appropriate for trudging through all this snow are my cheap Target rain boots that don’t do a great job of keeping my feet warm and dry.  I have never actually brought my snow boots to school because I never thought I really needed them.  We do get some snow in central PA but it usually melts pretty fast.  I also don’t have any ski socks which would probably be really handy right about now.  Not to mention I left my good gloves at home… or maybe that’s because I lost one of them.

But hopefully my new boots get here soon and I can prance around in the snow proudly like a peacock with them.  I don’t know if we are going to get more snow but I wouldn’t be too surprised if we did.  At least the college snow clearing people shovel the front of our apartment for us which is very nice of them.  The guys came around at least 4-5 times to get rid of the snow that kept accumulating.  However, they don’t clear out the cars that are parked on the side of the road.  Some cars have been snowed in since the last storm but a lot of students took time to shovel their cars out after the first storm.  I can’t imagine their frustration at having to shovel their car out a second time in four days!

Speaking of shoveling cars out, on Monday we had our first Dreamcatchers session of the semester.  We pick up all the kids in these college owned vans that are parked in a lot right next to the HUB, our student center.  I was assigned to shotgun that day.  We all take turns driving the vans/shotgunning to pick up and drop off the kids.  Well when we got to the parking lot, lo and behold, the college owned vans were the only vans that had not been cleared out of the snow.  The other two girls who had to drive and shotgun somehow managed to back their van out despite the fact there was a good two feet of snow surrounding the car and that snow spanned a distance of a good 3-4 feet.  Unfortunately, for Anna (the girl who was driving the van I was shotgunning) and me, we got stuck with the older van and there was no way it was going to back out of the space without being shoveled out.  The other two girls went over to DPS to sign out a shovel for us and we got to working on getting the windshield clear since there was a TON of snow on it.  Once we got the shovel, the other van went off to do its pick up route.  I tried shoveling the van out but luckily for us, one of our club coordinators walked by and he managed to single handedly shovel the van out and back it out for us.  So we picked up all the kids suuuuper late and somehow managed to beat the first van back that had left way before we did.
My mentee was super excited to see me and I was excited to see her but I forgot how easily distracted she gets.  Her homework is ridiculously easy and I seriously wish I could do the easy worksheets where all you do is regurgitate facts word for word.

What else? Oh, that famous comic book guy, Art  Spiegelman, came to Dickinson to give a lecture about comics.  I had to read his “graphic novel” (I think this term is super weird… just call it a comic people!) Maus for my creative writing class.  Maus is autobiographical and recounts the story of Spiegelman’s father during WWII in Poland.  Spiegelman’s family is Jewish and his father was constantly hiding/escaping from the Nazis with his wife and eventually ended up in Auschwitz.  However, his father somehow survived and he and his wife settled in Rego Park, Queens, where Spiegelman grew up.  The whole entire graphic novel is Spiegelman interviewing his dad who is already pretty old by this point and his father going back in his own personal history, telling his son about his harrowing experiences in Nazi occupied Poland.  What is weird about the graphic novel is that every nationality is represented by an animal.  The Jews are mice, the Nazis are cats, the Poles are pigs, the French are frogs, the Americans are dogs… I only read Maus I though.  The story is divided into two graphic novels and I could have bought the 2nd one at the bookstore but I wasn’t required to read it so I chose not to get it.
The lecture was interesting but after awhile it got kind of bogged down in comic strip drawing techniques and then went off onto random tangents.  I ended up not staying the entire lecture because I was honestly getting pretty bored.  However I can tell Spiegelman is a character. I mean, he entered ATS, the building he gave the lecture in, with a pipe.  According to my creative writing professor, Dickinson had to negotiate with him not to smoke his pipe during the lecture since all the buildings are smoke free environments.  However, they told him it would be ok to smoke during the reception afterwards.  My creative writing professor saw him smoking like a chimney which tells me the guy seems to have addictive issues… Well he did spend time in a psychiatric hospital after all.  All artsy and creative people seem to have a lot of deep seated emotional and/or mental issues.
Oh and Spiegelman and his wife cofounded RAW magazine.  Anyone ever heard of it? I think I have but I’m not sure in what context.

I’m still working on grad school stuff which is stressful, especially since I did not do as well on the GREs as I could have.  I really hate standardized testing.  I remember not doing that great on the SATs either.  I don’t understand how decoding a bunch of analogies is supposed to predict how well I will do in grad school.  I read a ton but somehow there are still words out there I have never heard of.  I know not to expect much in math…  my quantitative reasoning skills have always sucked.  I wonder what the French would think about standardized testing… they would probably laugh at us.  Multiple choice tests/exams don’t really exist over there.

So yeah not so great news there… but I’ve decided to join my parents in Utah for spring break! It was either that or join my Dickinson friends in Georgia.  My friend Megan has grandparents who live outside of Atlanta and I could have road tripped down there and stayed at their house for a week with a few other friends.  However I ultimately decided on Utah.  It’s okay though because Megan has invited a bunch of us down to her condo in North Carolina for a week after graduation.  It will be nicer in May than in March and I still get to look forward to a long road trip with my friends in a few months.
So what about Utah??? After last year’s trip to the Grand Canyon with my sister (which I obviously didn’t participate in since I was in France last year), my parents realized there is a lot to visit in the American southwest.  Some of the places my dad would like to visit are Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Death Valley, and some other places I can’t remember.  We are flying into Las Vegas which is exciting since I have never been there, though I don’t think we are going to spend too much time there.  I’m excited to be traveling and seeing new things again since I haven’t done that much traveling since I came back from Europe last year.  I really miss blogging about the places I visit so expect a long (or several, it might better to divide it up) post on Utah once I return from spring break in March.

On a more serious note: I found out a really good friend of mine had to get brain surgery done last week and that one of my sister’s friends from high school had died suddenly.  My nerves were shattered for a few days and then we got the huge snowstorm which I consider to be piece of bad luck #3.  My friend had the surgery done and is at home right now recovering so it looks like she is going to be okay. 🙂 Today, the family had the funeral and burial for my sister’s friend.  As always, my thoughts and prayers are with this person’s family and may that person rest in peace.

Oh and el Primo Frances has returned from France.  His visa got approved by the embassy so he is back until whenever this visa expires, which I think is sometime this summer.  He did not get a snow day today unfortunately, but it looked like my parents did.  I had no classes today, not because any of them were cancelled, but because I didn’t have any to begin with.  It would be nice if some of them got cancelled tomorrow.  🙂 I shouldn’t complain though, I’m only taking 3 classes this semester and I don’t have classes Wednesdays or Fridays which is a pretty good deal.

If you’ve got snow where you live, hope you’re all staying warm and not breaking your backs from shoveling! Only about 5 more weeks of winter according to Punxsawtawney Phil (though the Staten Island groundhog predicted an early spring… looks like the Pennsylvania groundhog was right this time around).

Stay warm and dry and drive safely if applicable!