Travel Diary 3: Stanford University EPGY, Final

August 9, 2010 § 2 Comments

Well guys, this is it.

Let’s get to it.

The best parts of camp, in my opinion, were those that were mundane. The things that we didn’t realize were going to be special at all became the ones that stood out most in memory.

We despised study hall. It was a two and a half hour window of silence, used only to finish work. For the Expository Writing class, that meant writing five-hundred word essays. Daily. We weren’t allowed to be on Facebook, or our e-mails, or anything else other than Microsoft Word, really. But, some of my favorite memories go back to our sneaky, wily ways of getting past that rule:

See, you can play Robot Unicorn Attack (or watch Old Spice commercials, or chat on Facebook, or read blogs) all you want, but Eric scares the bejeezus out of you when he decides to sneak up and suddenly scream like a banshee in your ear.

Lazy walks– to dinner, to breakfast, to explore, were just as fun. While it was an activity we had to do all the time, we always managed to make them memorable:

Photo by Sasha Kudler

Exhibit A: Piera had a thing for tying jacket and sweater sleeves together. Strange girl, that one, but an amusing one at that. Laughter was abundant, as well as other things I can’t even explain:

Photo by Sasha Kudler

Of course, the nightly house meetings can’t be forgotten. On the last night, especially, we stayed up all night laughing. We were allowed to ask our counselors anything and everything, heard scary stories about our haunted house, confessed to all the things we may have done, and spent some important time ordering Taco Bell:

And of course, having an all out water fight:

Photo by Piera Bochner

It got pretty brutal:

Photo by Piera Bochner

Imagine lots of people storming up and down all of our staircases with water balloons and water guns. Poor Molly, one of our counselors– she was minding her own business and reading on a couch when a balloon just exploded in her lap. But don’t you worry, hugs made up for everything! We also listened to an amazing song that Robert wrote for Slav Dom. I’ll admit, it made me all teary-eyed. Then, we had a major gabfest:

And most importantly, we feasted on Taco Bell at two in the morning:

Chicken burritos just taste insanely awesome in the middle of the night. It looks so appetizing contrasted with that colorless blanket and the gorgeous green carpet. Not. But it was extra yum!

Remember Capitola Beach? Here we are:

Look at that sky! It was a gorgeous day and I was surrounded by gorgeous people. But, once again, can I just emphasize the fact that I fell asleep before putting on sunscreen? That’s a huge no-no! I have a tilted tanline with a wonky circle lookin’ shape to prove it.

Memorial Chapel is one totally breathtaking, wondrous church. All of the stained glass, the walls, the doors… It’s a place of splendor and beauty and peace. Time stills. You pause to think and just to breathe. It’s what gives everyone their first impression of Stanford!

Photo by Sasha Kudler

Now, I know I say this a lot, but this definitely was one of my favorite memories. Chalk was ‘the thing’ for the first couple of weeks. But then, things started getting nasty. Some people from another house wrote a lot of pro-anorexia sayings and drew a bunch of hateful pictures. Slavvies, who are the best, went over and completely redid the sidewalk- we turned it into a body-lovin’ mural on the ground! That was that, but it sparked a lot of hate towards Slav Dom and a lot of the houses began to write hurtful messages. The counselors noticed and chalk was banned from there on out!

Photo by Sasha Kudler

Oh, memories and happiness for everyone!

And sometimes, after meals when we were too full to move… Naptime just sounded like a really good idea. On the benches at the dining hall.

Fountains were a universal love:

Most of the time, they were a great form of recreation and used to refresh ourselves or just to dangle our feet in while we feasted on snacks. But other times…

We got a little more creative. As in… Prank calls! In the words of one of our victims, “what is that? Chinese water torture?” πŸ˜›

One of the more standout memories:

Remember August? The guy who married Piera and I? He had this, ahem, interesting habit of leaving his mandarin orange cans in Piera and Sasha’s room and in my tote bag. We weren’t going to stand for that! One afternoon when he was out, Piera and I begged the counselors for streamers and artistically decorated his door with trash. It was beautiful if I do say so myself.

It’s all good, he thought it was funny and left his door like that for the rest of camp. Poor Shu Jian, his roommate! We asked him for permission beforehand and he thought it’d be hilarious though πŸ™‚

Photo by Piera Bochner

Other people’s reactions were pretty priceless. Cindy fell to the ground laughing. The counselors all touched our masterpiece with wonder. And August? He reached into that chip bag and asked if there was any left. Hmm.

And then, there were the dances. We had a mixer at Kairos in the middle of camp and on the very last night, we had a luau-themed dance right at Slav. We spent an hour or so getting ready (ignore the highly creeperish positioning of the photo)…

Photo by Adrian Yu

And then danced our hearts out! It got really hot in that tiny, cramped room, so we went outside to hang out on the fire escape, chugged some sodas, and….

Photo by Adrian Yu

(He did what?) Gossiped, of course!

Photo by Adrian Yu

It was major chill-out, it’s-starting-to-hit, we’re-leaving-in-the-morning kinda bonding time.

Look at our red, sweaty faces! Just kidding, that’s kind of really unflattering. I just wanted you to see those luau-y necklaces and all.

Photo by Xandra Xiao

A few short hours later, we were on the shuttle to the airport. I was on the third shuttle, but only four people left before me. Piera was on the shuttle before mine and when she left, that’s when I started legitimately bawling my eyes out. Since my shuttle was the one with the most people, all that was left of Slav Dom came out to say goodbye (as well as other houses). We got into one last huddle and cheered our little ‘Slav’ cheer one last time. I was pretty darn classy, sobbing and screaming at the same time. There were a lot of tears and a lot of hugs, but alas, our time was up and we had to go home.

At the first terminal, we all got off except for Xandra and Conor and Cameron. It was pretty tough saying goodbye to Xandra, but I was already all tear-ed out. Once off, I separated with John (Alaska) and August and Stephen. There were hugs all around and I went go check in. But then, at security check I saw August and Stephen and we realized our gates were by each other. So we all went and grabbed breakfast together. Holy guacamole, my breakfast quesadilla was good but HUGE!

Soon after that, I was off. Four hours on a plane with a super berserk-y back and a lot of sadness in my heart (awh). It was painful.

And that, was EPGY. I learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of doing. I’ve changed. I’ve changed other people. I surprised myself (once again- 11 essays in 3 weeks. Like whaaat?) and challenged myself. I went through something amazing. Looking back, it was perfect. There were glitches, for sure, but as they say, the imperfections make it truly perfect. I wouldn’t change a single thing.

Long live Slav!

C

PS. You will see how we keep in touch tomorrow. Because, boy oh boy, we keep in touch.

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