Wednesday, June 30, 2010

With Intensity Comes Change

It's been nearly a month since I've written and the last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride. Here's an update...

The first week in June, tragedy struck my family. My dad's older brother committed suicide. It was completely unexpected (at least for us) and fairly unexplained. He had been somewhat estranged from most of the family for a while, so none of us knew much about what was going on with him. We still don't know the whole story but, apparently, he had been very depressed for a while. When my mom called to tell me the news, I just couldn't believe it. I was never close to my uncle David but I still never imagined that he would do something like that. I was instantly very concerned about my dad and my grandma, because I knew they would be taking it especially hard. For the rest of that night, I was in complete shock. I talked to my parents several times that night, making sure my mom was going to stay by my dad's side. Needless to say, it was a very rough few days. My parents insisted that I not come home, even for the service, because I was planning to visit the following weekend. It was hard not being physically with my family but I checked on them everyday via phone. It's funny, and a little unfortunate, that it takes something like that to make you realize how much you value your family, and really everyone in your life. Though this incident was definitely a blow to my family, I think it made us stronger and brought us closer together. I was really glad to be going home soon, which leads me to the next part of my update...

The second weekend in June, I went home for the first time since January and I was really excited about seeing my family. My parents had been planning a graduation cookout for me, since several of my family members weren't able to attend graduation, but I was hesitant about having it given everything that had taken place. Even so, my parents were adamant that it go on. They said it would be good for the family. And as it turned out, it really was. Family and friends came together to celebrate my graduation and it meant so much to me to have them all there. Usually, I struggle with who to visit while I'm home, because it's for such a short period of time, so I was happy to have everyone in one place. Despite the previous couple of weeks, we all had a good, light-hearted, fun time. Every once in a while, I would catch my grandma looking off into the distance and I believe she was thinking about David during those times, which is certainly normal, but even she seemed to enjoy herself. My mom put together this amazing table with pictures, mostly from graduation day, my cap and hood, and a few other things. AND my parents ordered a dozen cupcakes for me, which were incredibly tasty. :) It was a great weekend.The table my mom put together for me.

A delicious assortment of cupcakes!

The following weekend, I stayed in Greenville for the first time since before graduation. I had a lot of odds and ends to take care terminating files at the clinic and my internship. I also went through EVERYTHING in my room and got rid of what I haven't used lately and knew I likely wouldn't use in the future. I'm not good at throwing things out, because I tend to be sentimental and hang onto things for that reason, but I ended up with 4 garbage bags completely filled with stuff. It was actually refreshing to "clean out my life", especially with all these changes that are quickly approaching. I donated it all to My Sister's Closet, which is a consignment shop here in Greenville. Their proceeds benefit the Center for Family Violence Prevention, where I've been interning for the last year. It was tough to say goodbye to my things, but nice to do a good deed.

Last weekend was spent in Wilmington. Brandon and I had seen each other once in the past 3 weeks so it was great to spend an entire weekend with him. On Friday, we went to look at the apartment model again. I couldn't remember exactly what it looked like and wanted to refresh my memory so I can start thinking about where we might place furniture and such. It really is a beautiful place. Of course, the model is furnished so that makes it look better, but the place itself is lovely. The model has a fireplace, as opposed to the sunroom we're going to have - which will make the living room so much bigger. We met a new staff member too and she was very nice...we took that to be another good sign. After checking out the apartment, we went to dinner at On the Border and saw The A-Team. It was a great movie...I definitely recommend it. On Saturday, we drove to South Carolina, which was only about an hour away, to get fireworks (since they're illegal in NC - we're rebels) in honor of July 4th. On the way, I texted my mom and told her Brandon and I were going to SC. For some reason, she jumped to the conclusion that we were getting hitched...maybe before her sister ran off to SC to get married? We definitely got a kick out of that. Speaking of my mom, she was saying in Topsail Beach that weekend with my aunt and a friend of hers. Brandon and I went to visit them Saturday night and they cooked us a really great dinner. We sat around for a while, enjoying the conversation with each other and the quiet of the beach. It was much cooler with the ocean breeze. I was happy that Brandon and my mom were able to get to know each other a little better. On Sunday, we were complete bums. We slept in, got lunch, ran a few errands, got caught in a torrential downpour, and took a 3 hour nap. Both of us had some sleep debt from the previous weeks, so I think we were trying to catch up. That night, we watched Pandorum, which was a movie he'd been wanting to see for a while. It wasn't as bad as I imagined but it was definitely a typical "guy movie". I always hate coming back to Greenville after a weekend like this one.

And along those lines...I only have about a week and a half left in Greenville. That is so surreal. What is even harder to believe is that I'm only 9.25 hours away from being completely finished with my Masters degree. I had 99 to go on graduation day. I've come a long way, baby. Today, we said goodbye to the office manager at my internship, Lori. I've grown to love Lori. She's been one of the few people there who really looked out for me and never seemed to mind listening to me vent my frustrations. And she's always had such nice things to say to and about me. I'm really going to miss seeing her. Of course, her leaving made me realize that I'm leaving next week. Next week. I haven't always enjoyed my internship but leaving, like graduating, is bittersweet. And I still can't believe this whole terrible, wonderful, challenging, growth-inspiring, eye-opening (and there are many more adjectives that would certainly apply) Greenville/grad school experience is so quickly coming to an end.

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