Story Time: SNOW DAY

Snow days are really rare at my university. So rare, in fact, that the one we had last year broke a nearly forty year streak of never once cancelling classes due to weather.

So imagine our surprise when, amidst a 14.1 inch snowfall overnight, the university emailed us to say we were getting a snow day the next day (Monday/yesterday) for the second year in a row.

There was screaming. There was jumping up and down. There was quite possibly a massive dance party with my roommates in our living room that left me more exhausted than most workouts.

Yesterday morning I lay in bed for a while, reading All the Bright Places (by the way: as good as everyone says), then did some work (because even when classes are cancelled, there is work to be done), then finally got up for real and had Belgium waffles and peppermint tea with Hannah, cozy in our PJs with the snow blowing outside our windows and the apartment building quiet around us.

After breakfast, we got bundled up in a billion layers, threw on Hogwarts scarves (Ravenclaw for me; Gryffindor for her) and went to meet another friend outside her apartment. (We’ll call her Oxford Friend.) The city was quiet–a lot of stores and restaurants closed due to the storm–and coated in a clean layer of white. The three of us walked from there across campus to the Arb.

IMG_7862If you don’t know U of M well, the Arb (short for Nichols Arboretum) is a massive park full of woods and fields and hills, bordered on one side by the Huron River and absolutely gorgeous. We hiked through the snowy paths for a while and stopped to watch geese on the river, climb a snow-covered stack of logs, and throw snow at one another (multiple times).

IMG_7865Hannah and Oxford Friend made fun of me for stopping to take a picture of a frozen drinking fountain out in the middle of nowhere. (But that thing looked like it belonged in freaking Narnia.)

IMG_7877For a while, we sat on a fence at the top of a hill and just took in the valley stretching below us. (No pictures of that. It was too peaceful to ruin with pictures.)

At one end of the Arb, we found a bunch of people sledding on a hill, including a friend whose group had bought an inner tube and made a jump out of the snow. We took turns going down on the inner tube, then Hannah, Oxford Friend, and I walked back to our apartment and ordered a ton of Chinese food and grilled cheese and made soup and nachos (because who needs to be healthy when it’s a snow day).

Our other roommates sat down with us, another friend came over, and we watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone then Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets back to back. (We’d been marathoning Harry Potter all weekend, but we started with Prisoner of Azkaban, because we’re reading that for fantasy lit class right now. So the snow day gave us the chance to go back and watch the first two, too.)

Lying in bed last night, I couldn’t get over how lucky I was: To live in such a wonderful place, to have such wonderful friends, and to get a snow day at all. It was basically as perfect as a day can get.

If you got pounded by the blizzard the past few days as well, I hope you’re staying warm and safe and having fun with the snow, too.

Talk to you tomorrow!

~Julia

PS. NEW HARPER LEE BOOK SEQUEL TO TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD WHAT. (Just had to throw that in there.) (But also this, unfortunately.)

Wordy Wednesday (“Poetry, Take Two”)

So, yesterday was basically one of the most exciting days of college so far, because not only was the 2014 Hopwood Underclassmen Award Ceremony in the afternoon, but we had a snow day.

You heard that right: The University of Michigan. Cancelled classes due to weather. FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1978.

With wind chill, it was -30 degrees Fahrenheit. My hall spent the day snuggled up in one of our hall lounges, where we dragged a TV and lots of junk food and pillows, and watched the first five Harry Potter movies in a row (due to the Hopwoods, though, I missed the end of Sorcerer’s Stone and all of Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban–which, you know, was sad, but also totally worth it since it was THE HOPWOOD UNDERCLASSMEN AWARD CEREMONY).

My parents and grandparents came into town for the ceremony, which was awesome (love you, guys!), then afterward we got dinner with my brother and I gave them all a tour of the dorm and then I studied for an exam I had this morning (which I ended up arriving a half hour early for, thanks to the dorm fire alarm playing us the song of its people).

I’ll try to get a couple pictures from the Hopwoods up this weekend, but in the meantime, here’s a shot of the lounge you wish you spent yesterday in.

we got dat loungePaintings by Hannah.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is another clump of random short poems and bits and pieces I’ve got lying around.

**********

I can feel the distance in my bones

how far away I am from home

and I need Ann Arbor like I need veins

for my blood to run in

*****

There is something sad in that silence,

the weight of waiting.

And knowing that the waiting is still better than what is to come,

but the future holds a different kind of pain

that maybe is ultimately worse, but shorter, easier to swallow–

a gunshot versus a hangnail that drags on and on.

I don’t know if I want the silence or what comes next.

*****

You turn the volume all the way up

to drown out the silence

But it keeps creeping in

in the loudest parts of riots

And you don’t know how to be

the person you’re becoming

And you don’t know if sound is better

or if you’re only running.

*****

All you ever heard were the words I never said

the things you didn’t want, the things I don’t regret

The lines upon my palm, a map from long ago

you let it define me, so you could let me go

And I’m sorry I never said sorry

but I’m not sorry for the things I did

I never tried to erase them, I couldn’t if I hid

I never pointed them out, and you shouldn’t have searched so hard

But I understand this is my fault, for carrying my battle scars

*****

I can’t take this feeling in my head

the weight of words left unsaid

*****

You go back and you paint everything grey

Don’t understand those memories anyway

A wall made of thickest glass separates you

from everything that happens and everything you do

’Cause you don’t feel skin anymore,

just empty air and an open door,

that’s locked—somehow

And you can’t feel them on your tongue

the words you say as you come undone

just one by one, they slip free

As you sacrifice yourself,

as you sacrifice me

*****

The truth about life

is that you will always be

terrified or stressed or angry

about something.

The key is to find the one thing

that is still worth it

despite it all.

*****

There’s that moment

when you stand beside something

truly great

and it makes you believe that

maybe

you could be great too

just by being in its presence.

Someday.

*********

76

~Julia