One of the best advantages boarding school has to offer is two weeks off for spring break in March. Normally I don’t do anything special for spring break. Instead of embarking on a several thousand dollar investment for a school trip or jetting off to the Cayman Islands with my family, I enjoy two weeks at home in Vermont. Two weeks to sleep, start and finish a new season on Neflix (or rewatch “Gossip Girl”), pick up a few waitress shifts, hang out at my favorite coffee shop, and play fetch with Kiara in my backyard. However, for the past two years, my spring break was filled with two fun trips. Last spring I set foot on the West Coast for the first time to visit my cousin and his now ex-wife with my aunt and uncle. I didn’t expect the beautiful drive up the coast to Santa Barbara, the hills, or the disappointment in eating In ‘N Out (Five Guys all the way). It was great visiting Cali, but I came to the conclusion that home will always be on the East Coast.
This spring break I had the excitement of visiting one of my best friends in Pittsburgh! Fayla and I were very close childhood friends, and we reconnected during our freshman year. Her family ended up moving the next summer because her mom got a job at Washington & Jefferson College. Battling a long distance relationship with both her boyfriend and her friends from home have been a challenge for Fayla. We’ve written letters and texted every day, keeping in close touch (as you would expect from 21st century teenagers). I’ve always wanted to go visit her in Pennsylvania, but life just hadn’t made the time (or money). Luckily, her mom stepped in and helped plan a surprise visit! I would fly from Albany to Pittsburgh on a Wednesday night and leave the following Monday. We managed to keep it a secret; that was the best part, even though Fayla isn’t a huge fan of surprises.
The look on her face when she saw me coming down the escalator from the baggage claim was priceless. It took her a few minutes to register that I was really there. It was a rejuvenating reunion. Fayla and I had a great five days in her new hometown. We went into Pittsburgh nearly every day to shop and eat. We ate at this amazing Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Van. I developed a new-found love for Pho and shrimp rolls after two stops into Pho Van. My second favorite destination was Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It was absolutely gorgeous. The colors, smells, scenes were absolutely stunning. We awed over the pregnant couple taking photos. If I lived in Pittsburgh, I would go there every day, especially in the winter to help battle SAD. We managed to get $10 skirts at Urban Outfitters, worked out at the college’s gym, and somehow put a 7 month old baby to sleep without his parents for the first time! We concluded that being a teen mom is not on the top of our bucket lists. I also went to my very first Casino (not actually in it because I, unlike few seniors, do not have a fake ID) to bowl with Fayla and her friends. It was a lot of fun. I felt like a grown up, which I will officially be this summer! Crazy how quickly life takes us.
Five days somewhere I had never been before and with someone who I love to be with was the perfect way to spend part of my spring break. I flew alone for the very first time, and I loved it. I was on my own agenda and had ultimate independence. I felt ready to take on the world by myself (of course, with my blanket named Hanks). I got my suitcase up into the overhead bins all by myself, got the correct gate, and boarded the right planes. It was hard for me to comprehend that the next time I’ll be boarding a plane may very well be to Italy for 4-9 months. I figure though that you can’t go wrong with a suitcase, a plane ticket, and the attitude to be adventurous and make memories. Thank you, Pittsburgh & Fayla, for doing just that. I’ll see you and spring break again soon! xo ~e.