One's younger sister only turns 21 once in her life, and there are only so many times a number of one's college friends can gather together in the same city. Thus, I spent the weekend at Villanova, my alma mater, for some good ol' (disappointing) college basketball, quality time with old friends, and birthday celebrations.
I coerced my friend Diana to drive up the dreaded PA Turnpike with me late Friday night, and we arrived on campus just in time for a French-themed fête at Niamh's apartment, where red lipstick, cheap wine, and striped apparel abounded.
Saturday morning took us bright and early to the Wells-Fargo Center, where after some raucous tailgating and joyous reunions, we watched Villanova lose to Georgetown in quite a nail-biter of a second half. Oh well. After snacks and lots of lounging, our stamina failed us and we ended up choosing bedtime over bars. Typical postgraduate behavior.
We spent Sunday morning eating sandwiches and getting caffeinated at Milkboy Coffee in Ardmore, an excellent haunt where I spent many a long thesis-writing weekend as an undergrad. When our drinks were finished, we ran around campus in the winter sunshine, reminiscing and trying not to look too out of place-- next time, we'll bring backpacks. After saying goodbye to friends, Niamh and I got ready to meet our parents and little sister for dinner at Sangkee Bistro in Wynnewood, where we ate lots of delicious Asian seafood, showered Niamh with birthday love, and laughed at our waiter's ridiculous antics. And then, after the family had gone home, there was a trip to the bars for a celebratory drink (or four) come midnight.
On Monday, I walked back to campus to meet up with two of my former professors. Though reminiscing about college life with my friends on Sunday left me feeling a bit bereft, the strange feelings lessened come Monday, and I felt as though I could have sat there, drinking coffee and talking for hours.
Confession: I not-so-secretly long to have the life of an academic.
I left campus and drove home with the Arcade Fire blasting, the window down (halfway), and feeling very positive about life. It was so nice to sit down and instead of discussing philosophy paper deadlines or conjugating the ever-elusive subjonctif, we could swap book titles (and actual books), chat about interesting movies, and catch up on life in general. It was very nice indeed.
Optimism continues to prevail and I feel quite confident that whatever direction my life is due to take in the next few months, I will still have some really great relationships with my family, old friends, and other acquaintances I can count on for intelligent conversation, movie recommendations, and des spectacles (merci, SW).
And now, some photos:
Post-script: I baked the Avoca Cafe chocolate orange cake for Niamh's birthday. Recipe to follow.