Friday, January 7, 2011
Residency Day 1
I'm here. After 11 hours of car, planes, and bus, to say nothing of the months of anticipation, I am finally in Seaside, Oregon for my first residency.
It is, so far, everything I secretly hoped it would be. I woke up this morning and thought, "Holy cow. I'm doing this. I'm actually getting on a plane and leaving my family and heading to spend ten days with a group of people among whom I know not a single soul. What in the world have I gotten myself into?"
Something amazing. That's what.
Okay, I haven't done much. I spent most of this first day just trying to get here. That part of the trip was a classic game of fortunately/unfortunately, including the downs of being one of the last on the plane and finding that there's no more luggage room and having to check bags I totally didn't want to check, walking MILES of airport concourses with an aching foot, and feeling like I was on the verge of starving because there was a suspicious lack of food in the gate areas and none on the plane. On the plus side, both of my flights ended up with me in a row by myself on an otherwise packed plane, arriving in Portland early with plenty of time to catch the shuttle which was otherwise looking like a tight shot, and downloading a book on the spur of the moment that kept me utterly engaged the entire way.
Once at the airport, I met some of the faculty and students, and learned everyone is so friendly, and you'd think by the hugs of the established students that they were all the very closest of friends.
The hotel is incredible, right on the Pacific Ocean, and my private room is HUGE with all kinds of amenities. I had enough time to check emails (but not necessarily write back) and clean up a bit and then went to a new student "mixer" in one of the big conference rooms. The great thing about starting with just the new students is that NONE of us knew anyone, so it was really easy to jump into conversations ("Where are you from?" was the most used ice breaker) and I didn't see anyone standing around without someone to talk to.
An hour later all the rest of the students joined us for dinner, and you could tell the shift in energy level as they all arrived with screams and hugs and non-stop talking. And some were awesome in engaging us newbies, too.
At nine there was supposed to be a gathering of all students and faculty, but by that time people were trickling off to their rooms. Most people, even those from out here on the west coast, had spent a long day traveling and tomorrow begins the relentlessly long days of classes and workshops and writing. I hung out for an hour with a few new friends, and now I'm turning in myself. Jet lag is kicking in.
I am not the oldest, by far, but on the whole I probably do raise the average age of the group. I feel funny mentioning marriage and kids when I've hardly met anyone so far old enough to have husbands or wives or kids. And I haven't embarrassed myself fashion-wise yet, either.
But then again, the residency is still young. :) I have plenty of time for embarrassment.