It’s been four full days on the road making this morning, at 6:09 am, the beginning of day number five.
I’m sitting in the kitchen of a friend whom I met my first year of college at the U of M. I had called her on the road two days ago as I was pulling into Rapid City, not having a place to stay, only having planned on going half the distance that day that I actually ended up covering.
Sofie, like Tarantino’s beautiful but deadly Japanese-American assassin, and I were in the same college at the U, for the first semester at least, the College of Biological Sciences. It’s funny how we met; we met through a mutual friend, one of her friends from high school, named Stefano Shpeely.
There is a summer camp/workshop for all incoming CBS freshman called Nature of Life. Some people say that it’s Bio 1 and 2 that weed out the med students from the non med students. Let’s just say for me that Nature of Life was probably a really strong indication that I shouldn’t have continued with the introduction course that I had tested into for Introduction to Chemistry. Let’s call it Chem .5 as in you’re halfway there.
I say this because my group failed miserably at one of the activities. “How do you fail at an activity,” you might ask. Well, the task bestowed upon us was to observe some slides of something so uninteresting to me at the time that I could not tell you what it was for any grand prize in the world, and then we were supposed to snap different images of these microscope slides and determine if it was A or B and present it to the class.
What ended up happening is that we ended up staring at the slides unable to focus the lens so that we could see anything. Personally, I had no idea what we were looking for, and the blurred images in the microscope seemed to me as if that’s what we were supposed to be finding.
The images that we presented to the class were blurry and some missing, our results inconclusive, our enthusiasm not there. The professor leading the activity was speechless, and managed to conjure up the advice that we should have asked for help sooner, and that was that.
Right, so I was at the bus stop waiting for my parents to come pick me up at the end of camp, and there was one other guy standing around, Stefano. In the fifteen to twenty minutes that we were standing around together, we struck up a conversation about medical school and Scrubs, naturally, and completely hit it off.
There are people that you come across that you identify as being one of “your people,” not in a pretentious way like, the-blue-whale-blue-silk-scarf-you’re-wearing-with-our-mutual-country-club-logo-identifies-you-as-one-of-my-people kind of way (what are the rules on hyphens? Is this considered abuse or creativity?) BUT (there’s the but!) more like an I-get-you-you-get-me-we-have-a-similar-way-of-thinking-and-I-like-you kind-of way. Stefano was like that for me, and it was through him that I was able to meet Sofie. Four years later and Stefano is still pursuing med school, pursuing like hunting down his prey meaning that he has plans to get a master’s degree within a year in a medical something-something program in Florida. What a guy!
Not long after I left the U for a different school, Sofie changed colleges within the U of M to become a forestry major, and now she is in a program to become a naturalist. I’m also sitting in her kitchen and she’s not here! Go figure.
Luckily for me, Sofie has a really wonderful family with whom I’ve been lucky enough to stay with and get to know over these past two days despite ongoing suspicions, dimming suspicions her father might argue, that I am a spy. They’ve introduced me to their closest friends in Rapid including a woman I met on the first night who lives in a canyon. She has incredibly long, beautiful silver-grey hair with lighter streaks of brown running through it. Her house is a small fairytale cabin in the woods. The interior is decorated like nothing that I have ever seen before. There appeared to be only lamps that cast all of the rooms in a dim glow, all of the artwork on the walls, all of the everything. To add to the scene, she named her small dog Frodo, and there is really beautiful stream running behind her house that one can swim in. It’s positioned right against the side of a massive mountain face.
I was able to attend a free production of Shakespeare downtown and hear about the city’s rejuvenation after three years and attend a birthday celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Dicknmary. So many interesting people – artists, writers, extreme backcountry/lichen experts, some awesome neighbor kids who taught me this last night:
Anyway, it’s been four great days so far. I now have a windshield so I won’t be blasted by 80 mph winds and bugs that spew green juices when they explode on my jacket and helmet, the Dicknmarys have pampered me with delicious food, laundry, warm showers, and plenty of rest. Sofie’s brother, who lived in the Portland area for 6 years and is the lichen specialist, backcountry explorer, spent a good amount of time pointing out the best camping places and roads to take from here to Seattle.
Mmm… smells of pines :) Here we come Bozeman!