Lanc Love

Springtime is coming, and I’m overwhelmed with a love for this place I live. One of my favorite things about Lancaster is it’s proximity to so many wonderful places. The past few weekends I’ve done little road trips. A spontaneous trip to Baltimore and spontaneous afternoons roaming the countryside, a day in Washington DC exploring the Mall and checking out the cherry blossoms. Philly and New York are both close, too, and the beach is as well.

But as great as it is to have so much, so near, the city itself charms me continually. One of my recent favorite spots in Lancaster is Horse Inn. After countless reccommendations, I finally went for the first time a few weeks ago (and then for a second time a few days later). I was smitten by the speakeasy vibes, jazz band, killer cocktails (the Hemingway is my favorite) by Ben, the award winning bartender who looks straight out of the Roaring Twenties, and the FOOD. So far I’ve tried the burger, the burrata, and the wedge salad – all good. My favorites so far are the horse fries (think parmesan and HEAVY CREAM) and the Nashville hot chicken sandwich which actually had me crying from the spiciness (to me, this is a good thing).

Other recent loves in Lancaster: hiking at Landis Woods, chocolate croissants at Lancaster Central Market, and the new Copper Cup Coffee shop that just opened in the city (I’ve only gone through the drive thru, so no cool interior pictures from me).

Here’s a few photos of what I’ve been doing in Lanc lately:

 

xoxo,

Carrie

 

The beginning of the end (or me starting to freak out and get nostalgic because I graduate in 12 days!)

Fun fact: I just wrote an entire blog post. Then it disappeared. What?! Where did it go? Sometimes I love the internet and sometimes I hate it. I keep checking, like, maybe it will have magically reappeared, but no. Ok, cool. Hopefully this isn’t indicative of how my week will go. Now for recreating said post…

Today I picked up my graduation regalia. It does not seem real that this cap and gown and sash and tassel are really mine. I haven’t been here long enough. This can’t be right. I only graduated high school… last year? Right? There’s no way it could’ve been four years ago. I’ve gone back to school every fall for the last 16 years. This year, I won’t.

I’m currently sitting by the Millersville pond, my favorite spot on campus. It’s a morning like a thousand other mornings I’ve had over the last four years. I’m pretending to read a book for my Drama class tonight, but I’m secretly letting myself be distracted by the swans, the ducks, and the squirrels (and the “TURTLES,” which the annoying girl down the bank from me keeps screaming every time she supposedly sees one).

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The Pond, complete with the school swans, Miller and S’Ville

As I sat here, reading my book, I realized this book of Eugene O’Neill plays is the last book I need to read before graduation. This is the final one. What?! Since I began my studies, I’ve read many books similar to this one. (And sometimes Shmooped or Sparknoted many books similar to this one.) They’re books that are interesting and literary and “part of the canon,” but also books I’d just as soon trade for a book of my own choosing. Too many times to count, I have whined, “Plays are meant to be watched, not read.” Today, I don’t want this book to end. I want time to move just a little bit slower so I don’t have to think about this season of my life being over.

I’m reading the book for my last Drama class, with my favorite professor, Dr. Carballo. Tonight is the last night that I’ll just get to sit, occasionally add some input, listen to him lecture, and be blown away by how intelligent he is, and how he seems to have 90% of the books in this world stashed away in the library that is his brain.

I was absolutely terrified to take a class with Dr. Carballo in the second semester of my sophomore year. He was the gatekeeper. You have to take Comparative Literature to get into the upper level literature courses, and at that point, he was the only professor teaching that class. I’d only heard bad stories about Carballo… throwing students out of class for going to the restroom, yelling at people for sneaking a snack during class, even supposedly losing his temper at someone for reaching for a paper rather than letting him hand it to her. Sadly, I never got to see these supposed displays of anger.

I did get to see a professor who expected much from his students, and gave them knowledge, and insight in return. I got to see a professor who demanded respect, and gave respect in return. I got to know Carballo on a personal level, and I love him. In fact, his friendship is probably the most important friendship I’ve acquired here at Millersville. Carballo complimenting me on a paper I wrote, or giving me an A on an essay exam, or writing me a letter of recommendation means more to me than any other professor or peer doing the same thing.

Dr. Carballo is retiring after this semester. I feel so sorry for future Millersville English majors, who will miss out on his wit and wisdom, but it also feels right that his retirement and my graduation coincide. I am glad he won’t be here teaching if I won’t be here to listen to him.

Tonight is my last class with my favorite professor. It’s my first “last class” of the semester. The beginning of the end. This is my last week of classes. Next week is my very last finals week.

I’m sad, I’m happy, I’m nostalgic, I’m excited, I’m stressed, I’m emotional, and I’m so ready to see what comes next (in essence, ALL THE FEELS). Here’s to the beginning of the end, and to embracing the future!

What I’m listening to today:

xoxo,

Carrie

A Weekend Spent at Home

A few days ago, my dear Canadian friend Robin messaged me, “I’m going to New York this weekend. Can you come see me?”

Over the next few days we messaged about our favorite places in NYC, and where I’d want to go if I came to see her, and The Phantom of the Opera. (Which she is going to see on Broadway tomorrow. The jealousy is real.)

Everything inside me screamed “Yes!” But my responsible, finishing-up-the-semester, only-has-a-part-time-job, going-on-lots-of-weekend-trips-soon self had to say “No.”

A year ago, I was saying yes to trips like this all. the. time. And some of my favorites were with Robin. From our famous Welsh castle-hopping, backpacking, too-much-American-diner-food-eating, canal boating weekend…

To a weekend in London that included sleeping in hostel rooms with triple bunk beds and 18 strangers. Pretty sure one of us may have started that weekend with literally -7 Great British Pounds in her bank account. I won’t mention any names.

I do miss those days. Study Abroad weekends were the most frivolous of times. Almost every single weekend included at least a day trip or two. I remember the feeling of being so spontaneous, weightless, able to go wherever, whenever, and I miss it. Once you’ve traveled or lived abroad, it is difficult to stay in one place for long. You always feel like there’s some new place you could be seeing, or some adventure you should be having.

Today, I’ve been thinking about all the things I’ve done over the past few days that have made me happy. This weekend hasn’t been glamorous or overly-adventurous, but it has included plenty of happiness. Most of it has just gone unnoticed because I haven’t taken the time to be grateful.

A couple days ago, I baked this delicious bittersweet chocolate cake with lime cream. Holy goodness. And gluten free!

I also baked some whole wheat cinnamon rolls (for you gluten lovers). Baking is something I really missed while living abroad, because I did not have the kitchen utensils, the beautiful, open kitchen, or the ingredients I have here. Baking is also my go-to way to de-stress. The closer it gets to finals week and the end of the semester, the more I bake. (It’s one of my similarities to Dr. Izzie Stevens.)

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On Saturday, I babysat my nephew for a few hours. We went to the park, watched the big kids skateboard, had ice cream, and saw (part of) Zootopia. I also read to him, and of course his book of choice (that we read no less than 4 times), was a book about Tommy taking a train to New York City. Cool. Awesome choice, Desmond.

Last night I hung out with friends and played cards at Prince Street Cafe. Today I was able to worship at my church, where I have to admit my attendance has been sporadic over the past few weeks. It was really good to be back. After church I went out for lunch with several friends and Living Room co-leaders.

Earlier this week, my cousin Warren and his wife Lorna were here to visit. I had so much fun taking them around Lancaster with Warren’s sister, Wanita, and my brother, Clifford. We cafe-hopped and saw a bit of Amish country. Showing other people my home alway reminds me of all the things I love about it!

Today is a beautiful day. I’m not sure why spring is having such an impact on me this year. Have I always been the person that brings up the weather in every conversation, or is this new? It’s been 2 years since I’ve experienced a Lancaster County spring, and I was unprepared for the beauty. Spring comes slowly, with scattered warm days, rain, and even occasional snowy days in April. Then, one day you walk outside and all the trees at your house seem to have budded overnight, and your soul soars. Spring is my favorite season because it’s a season of growth and new life. My apologies to the allergy-prone.

This afternoon I’m ignoring my schoolwork for a few moments more, lying in the sun, reading the book Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul, by John and Stasi Eldredge. I feel like most “good Christian girls” read this book in youth group, but somehow I missed that particular rite of passage, so I’m actually reading it for the first time, for a Bible Study I’m in now. One thing that stuck out to me in the first chapter is that the passivity I see in a lot of people of my generation (especially guys-but maybe it’s just easier for me to pick it out in them) is not a new problem. Adam’s fatal flaw was passivity. So I guess you can say it’s an issue that has been around for a long time. I’m excited to see what the next chapter says about Eve, although maybe that’ll be a bit more of a slap in the face to me?

This weekend hasn’t been glamorous, but it has been filled with some of my favorite “home” things. I love a relaxing weekend spent at home almost as much as I love a fast-paced weekend of adventure and travel and will-we-catch-our-train(?!) moments. Much of the time, I’m too busy to appreciate the little things. When I think back to Scotland, it’s hard to remember how much I longed for “home” things, like my family, bad-for-you cereal, my bed, driving my car, and my mom’s kitchen + the ability to bake anything. Though I do love a good train journey with nothing but a backpack to my name, I’m pretty content with a weekend spent right here.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” -Terry Pratchett

How was your weekend? Did you get carried away, or stay right where you are?

xoxo,

Carrie