Pumpkin lovin'

I absolutely love Fall! The reds, oranges and yellows are out in full force, and even though we had a freak snowstorm last week, I’m still glad that winter is a ways off; I’m not ready to pull out my warm jacket yet. Celebration of Fall involves pumpkins, right? My friend David recently opened an art studio in the small coastal lobstering town of Gloucester, and one of his main efforts is to reach the community with affordable and accessible art projects and classes. This past Saturday he hosted a pumpkin carving contest, and so my floor went in and spent the day scooping out pumpkin guts and throwing the seeds and strings at each other. After we finished carving our pumpkin, we wandered around Gloucester as we had some time to wait before the pumpkins were to be judged for prizes. The small stores and festive decorations of the quiet streets give the town a quaint feel, as though this is a place that doesn't want to be reproduced, that it wants to exist outside of time, and for all sorts of people. Hungry, we found our way to a wonderful little Italian restaurant and stuffed ourselves full of the most delicious pizza and bread and salad I’ve ever tasted. One of my girls brought warheads along, so we dared each other to eat as many of the sour candies as we could before resorting to ridiculous facial expressions. Many laughs later, we left quite contented, and returned to the pumpkin contest just in time to hear the announcement of the winners. To our great delight, my floor’s pumpkin (photo of the group above) won second place, which had an attached price tag of an impressive $75! We’re excited to use it towards a fun floor activity, and our pumpkin as a token fall floor decoration. I love the surprises this season brings. Blessings!

welcome home!

While I’m still two years shy of graduating, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I won’t always live in the amazing area that is Boston’s North Shore, so I’m trying to soak up all this area has to offer, and those wells are proving deep and full. On Thursday my roommate and I found our way to a Salvation Army thrift store and browsed to our hearts’ content. My findings? Comfy jackets, colorful sweaters and a pair of boots with fuzz on the outside. I love thrift stores and the leftovers of other lives, and the low price tags certainly help me survive on a budget. Last Sunday I went to the Topsfield Fair with some friends, the oldest in America at 191 years. I was able to go last year and see the world’s largest pumpkin and eat some of the world’s best fries—soaked in vinegar. Quite the treat!
Life on campus is just as exciting, though. Some of my girls hosted a movie night on Friday, and so we crammed into a room and laughed and sang our way through Aladdin, coloring books in lap and colored pencils in eager hand. This past weekend was homecoming, and it was wonderful to meet alums and hear their stories, to catch up with old friends and make new ones. We were treated on Saturday night to “255 Grapevine,” a variety show featuring faculty, staff and students singing country songs, dueling on pianos, acting in skits and telling stories. My personal favorite was a STOMP-inspired choreographed piece using brooms, volleyballs, whistles and cans to create sound and rhythm. The audience even got to use pencils found in our welcome bags to create the sound of rain! It was a wonderful night, and I hope it happens again next year. Welcome home to Gordon!

On the road

My RA staff and I went on our fall semester staff retreat two weekends ago. One of my RD’s friends owns a farmhouse in rural New Hampshire, so for two glorious days we relaxed, shared parts of our testimonies, played all sorts of games (“Pit,” with its fast-paced Wall Street-trading finesse, is a new favorite) and simply enjoyed each other’s company in front of a real fireplace. And there were s’mores. Lots and lots of s’mores. Plenty of laughs and stomachs full of home-cooked food later, we returned to Gordon rested and happy. It’s good to be back after time away, the people and memories of this place becoming more and more like a second home with each passing day spent here. Today particularly felt like Fall, the crisp, cool air matching the leaves that are beginning to show their true colors in the woods surrounding the campus. Back home in Connecticut this time of the year is marked by the arrival of “leaf peepers,” which are not actually frogs but rather tourists from the lesser-foliaged regions of New York driving up the highway to take in the glorious reds, oranges and yellows to which we in New England have become accustomed. I’m enjoying a piece of homemade zucchini bread as I type this, eagerly welcoming the autumn and hope which always culminates in CHRISTMAS (!!!!) and the excitement that is promised as all creation seems to wait in eager anticipation of new life. Ah, this truly is a wonderful journey. Grace and peace this day.