Monday, September 30, 2013

Family Fun Day

Our friend Sean has always talked about “Family Fun Day.” It’s this mythical time he has out in the suburbs of Maryland every week, and it has kept him from countless social activities with us, his awesome friends.

We were all very curious about what comprised Family Fun Day. I had briefly met Sean’s mom, but I kept hearing about all these cousins, aunts and uncles. And it sounded like there were babies everywhere, constantly doing adorable things like dancing and singing along to Beyonce. This had to be some amazing time for him to constantly ditch us.

We started asking if we, too, could join Family Fun Day.

We were consistently ignored.

Maybe it’s because he lives so far from the city and figured we’d complain the whole ride out there (we would). Maybe it was because he was afraid his family was a little too boisterous for us to handle (potentially true). But it took ten years before my friend Rebekah and I were finally offered the golden ticket to come to Family Fun Day.

And then Rebekah had a conflict and couldn’t go.

HA! *I* will be the only outsider to experience this magical land! Fine by me.

So, turns out, the day I’m supposed to go is also the day when the family will be celebrating Sean and his uncle’s birthdays.

And I’m told to wear clothes that I don’t mind ruining.

I’m sorry, what was that?

Apparently, it has become a tradition at Family Fun Day to cake fight during birthday parties. And not just that cutesy wedding toast kind of smash of frosting in the face. No, this is full out war simulation type frosting play here. Like some diabetic-coma inducing rite of passage.

Everything started out all pleasant. There were a lot of people there and everyone was just kind of chilling on the back deck – until it started raining.

Oh darn, guess I won’t be ruining my clothes today!

What was that? You still cake fight inside the house??

Sean assures me they do.

So we all pile into the downstairs basement. And that’s where I start to get scared.

One of the uncles looks me in the eye like we are marines entering enemy territory and he says something like “stay with me and you’ll be safe.” I then glance over to see an older cousin panicking, backing out into a side door squealing that No One Better Touch Her Hair! In the process, she leaves her two-year old in the line of fire. I hear her as she disappears behind a door yelling “Just don’t get it in the baby’s hair!”

(We totally got it in the baby’s hair.)

I see people nervously bouncing around me in anticipation and I’m fascinated. I glance back to the cake table where Sean and his uncles are now practically circling each other like lions.

I see grown men smear frosting on their faces like war paint and start working themselves up like NFL players before the Superbowl.  I position myself so I could potentially run back up the stairs if things get too crazy. Finally, everyone starts singing a frenzied, slightly frightening version of Happy Birthday and before we even get through the whole song, the men start yelling the final words and frosting starts flying everywhere.

I turn and see people fleeing upstairs. I look back at the cake, then decide to make a run for it too.

Too late. I nearly get trampled in the stampede.

 I lose a flip flop.

I turn to go back down just to see what’s going on with the cake, and something comes over me and I want in the action.

I grab a fistful of cake and clobber Sean.

Big mistake.

I see happy murder in his eyes and I black out a little. I come to and know I’ve been hit. I start to turn and end up taking frosting to the face by one of the cousins. At some point I end up with one of the birthday candles stuck to my bicep and there's frosting in my ear. The fight ends up trailing upstairs, even out the front door at some point. Then finally people run out of caloric amo, and the battle ends.

As the sugar smoke clears, I pass one of the uncles in the kitchen who takes one look at me and just bursts out laughing, incapable of forming words at the sight of me. Another one nods and simply states “You’re one of us now.” While the other uncle who had initially been my potential battle buddy, just shakes his head grimly saying “I told you to follow me….”

I finally get to a mirror and see the full effect of my war wounds.

Oh the humanity...

At some point I see Sean wearing some kind of child’s plastic cowboy hat, covered in frosting, looking like he just lost several good men.

 It was all so dramatic and hilarious.

I pass the upstairs bathroom and see another cousin scrubbing frosting off the front of a door, muttering to himself  “this is bad, this is really bad….” I walk back into the hallway and find the two-year old who had been left to the wolves.

That is one angry kid.

(And also now possibly my favorite photo in the entire world)

Everyone cleans up the best they can and we settle in to actually eat another cake.

That’s how into this that family is. They now buy two cakes.

Everything after that was normal until people start to leave later that evening.
And then I witness yet another ridiculous tradition: The Send Off

Whenever someone starts to leave the house, one of the uncles announces it. “Hey guys, DANA’S LEAVING.” Then you feel that tense anticipation yet again and you aren’t sure what’s about to happen. When it was my turn, I reached the top of the stairs I needed to walk down to escape, and the entire party starts screaming “GOODBYE DANA! GOODBYE! BYYYYYYYE! GOODBYE!......”

And I hear it out the front door. And all the way back to my car.

I hop in and drive away, leaving the magical place behind, with only my memories and the frosting still stuck in my hair, as momentos.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, but Thoughts Tear ACLs….

I’ve been talking to friends lately about the power of positive thinking. I think I’m usually pretty good about staying positive, although it might be more that I’m just a good Goldfish Poodle: I’m not necessarily planning a ton of things, just being surprised and excited with whatever comes along.

But every now and then, I want something so much, that I’m scared to hope for it. I worry hope will make a fool of me, so it feels safer to just prepare for the worst instead. That way, if it doesn't work out, I won’t be crushed by disappointment. Instead I can be smug, like, “well I knew that wouldn’t work out! Duh! Pfft...”

Obviously, most of us know in our head that it’s better to think positively about a situation than to have that kind of attitude. That’s why athletes visualize wins before they start a game, and why people immediately correct someone for vocalizing a scary thought. “Don’t say you’re going to laugh until you pee your pants! That’ll make it happen!!”

But this idea didn't fully sink in for me until a few months ago, when I was having coffee with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. At some point we started talking about skiing, and she launched into a story about her brother.

Her brother had apparently hurt himself at some point and tore the ACL in one of his knees. And while he was still rehabbing that knee, he decides to go skiing anyway.

Men: it’s decisions like that, that make us females think your kind are simple creatures. Just sayin’.

So he’s skiing with Lynchie, my friend who is telling this story, and:

He falls. Right in front of Lynchie.

And tears the ACL in the other knee.

I mean… who saw that coming?

So they have to call their parents and tell them what happened, and after that, Lynchie is a little traumatized, as one might expect. So the next ski season – they try again.

And Lynchie is obviously skittish and her brother is like “what’s wrong with you?” And she sheepishly explains that she’s still a little scared from their last ski trip. “I just can’t stop thinking….I’m going to tear my ACL!”

And of course, her macho brother -

(who, incidentally, skied himself to the medics after last year’s incident. On two torn ACLs.)

Men: It’s things like this that make us females think you are simple…but also strong, attractive, intriguing creatures… so keep up the stupid hero stuff, it works....

-tells her she’s being silly. But says, “Ok. Why don’t you take a ski lesson then? That’ll get you feeling confident again, start you off slowly, then we can meet up later.”

So she agrees. “Yes, why would I tear my ACL just because my brother did?” And she takes a lesson.

And her first trip down the bunny hill during the lesson:

She falls and tears her ACL.

I know! Ridiculous!

So then they have to call their parents again and the parents immediately joke “well I hope you aren’t calling about another knee injury!” to which Lynchie has to reply “yeah, about that….”

So now, when I’m tempted to let my thoughts run wild and be as negative as I feel, I think of this story.

Hope might lead to disappointment, but fear can apparently snap ligaments.

 I’ll take my chances with hope….


Friday, September 20, 2013

In Honor of my Grad School Graduation Party Tonight, I give you: One of my favorite Grad School Moments

My friends were sweet enough to throw me a party to celebrate the fact that after starting grad school on a whim (my ex-boyfriend thought it was a great idea so I agreed...) two and half years ago, I am finally a MASTER! In tribute, I'm reposting one of my favorite grad school stories below. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Me and...Bobby Brown?

So, I've complained talked a bit about how I'm taking grad school classes while still working full time. And I've mentioned how, like so many other things in my life, I basically got into school on a whim. I fell in love for the first time last year and after we broke up (I broke up with him but it's a long story), we decided We Should Go To Grad School Together! Anyway! Wouldn't that be fun? Not unhealthy at all!

So I guess at the time I just wanted a reason to see him - so I applied. To Grad. School. I suppose I could've just, I don't know, dropped by his house occasionally instead of committing thousands of dollars and years of my life to something. But where's the stress-inducing, bank-account-reducing fun in that?

We both got accepted.

And he started dating someone else.

*gritted teeth grin* Oh that's fine! We can totally still be buddies and see each other in class each week and hang out after class and catch up ON LIFE WITH YOUR NEW GIRLFRIEND.

...I dropped the class three weeks in.

Well, switched to another class actually. So that's the reason I'm even in grad school at all at this point - sane, right?? - and he has since basically dropped the program altogether so most of the time I'm like "how again did I get into this??"

But "sort of accidentally falling into something" is surprisingly how a lot of great things happen in my life. So I'm going with it.

And I have to admit, there've already been some interesting things in my other classes. But nothing tops what happened - Last Week.

We were given partners in my Speech Writing class at the beginning of this semester. We haven't done much together until last week, when we were given an assignment to co-write a commercial, Billy Mays-style!, for a product of our choice. My partner emailed and asked if I had a product in mind already and since I didn't, she suggested -

The new Bobby Brown cd.

Oh...kay. That was fast. And specific. And random. But whatever, we can sell a CD just as easily as anything else. So I went to work on a script that basically made fun of everything about Bobby Brown.

(I'm sorry, but Billy Mays commercials are ridiculous and Bobby Brown's life is just too easy to take cheap shots at. I went for the low-hanging fruit. Sue me.)

I sent it to her and she was fine with the concept, and even started sending me more fodder on Brown's life. She said she was sort of an "expert" on Brown. (oh...kay...this girl Loves her some Bobby Brown...) but she did make a comment about how the script was maybe a tiny bit mean, but whatever, it was for a grade.

So we go back and forth and I send her my final draft and say "let me know if you have any changes - I hope it's not too mean" to which she replies: "Oh, it's fine. I'm just a little biased -


(She did not actually write in all caps but that's how my brain read that sentence) And that's where I blacked out. I'm sorry, wha? Your what?? Ima need more explanation than that, partner.

So I ask if she changed her name, since her last name is not Brown. And I also immediately start Google-stalking her.

And sure enough - there is a YouTube video of them together and he calls her his sister. (He also punches her in the Ta Tas. She was being pinned for a military promotion and he sure did haul off and punch that pin in an unfortunate place...which does seem like something a sibling would do.) I was floored. Then she emails back and explains that while they aren't blood-related, their families are so close they might as well be.

Neat. I just wrote a script bashing the life of a guy you consider family. Thanks for the awkwardness! I told her I was then DYING and asked why she let me make fun of him. She laughed and said "girl, we needed our grade, and it's not like our commercial's going on YouTube or anything!"

Side note: my friends totally begged me to tape the presentation and put it on YouTube and I had refused. Bullet. Dodged. Barely.

So in the end, we got rave reviews on our script and a good grade and the whole thing was funny. But I definitely said "please tell BOBBY BROWN(!) that I didn't mean it and that I love his music."

Really never thought I'd be saying that in my lifetime.

Below is the script so you can cringe at my expense (It was coupled with video direction like 'cut to Bobby's mugshot' or 'cut to Bobby failing at Celebrity Fit Club'...sigh. Me = Horrible. Person. It really was just supposed to be light-hearted and I didn't spend much time on it...I'm sorry Bobby!...(seriously, how do these things happen to me...) Enjoy:
Are you tired of listening to boring music?

Are you uninspired by artists who seem to have it all together?

Do you wish your music artists made you feel better about your own life?

Then do I have an album for you!

Bobby Brown’s: The Masterpiece.

Imagine grooving to new songs from the man who brought you My Prerogative, Every Little Step, and Rock Witcha -

While feeling superior that your life, is better than Brown’s.

Did you get kicked out of New Edition at the age of 16 in a spiral of drug abuse?

Did you have an insane relationship with Whitney Houston that lasted 14 years?

Did you have to face your weight problems on national t.v.?

No! And each time you enjoy The Masterpiece – you’ll be able to see how your life is a Masterpiece...Compared to Bobby Brown.

For just 12.99 you can enjoy good music that makes you feel better about your life.

So let go of that boring pop music sung by do–gooders on your ipod. Start feeling superior that your life has been pretty productive compared to the creators of your music. It’s your prerogative!

Get your copy of The Masterpiece on September 6th. Only at Target.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Hope You Fail (The post wherein I quote Ashton Kutcher)

I was asked the other day in an interview to explain a time where I failed. So, apparently, it’s good to have failures if for no other reason than to be able to answer that question in an interview! And, of course, I tried to think of one that didn't make me look too incompetent, but instead just some example of how I’ve learned from something. I described the time a colleague recommended I look into the graduate program he did at Harvard.


I have to admit, for some reason, that is the Ivy League school I’ve always had on a pedestal in my mind. Not Princeton, or Yale, or even Cambridge where I spent a semester romantically riding my bike around that campus pretending I really was a full-time student there (of course I also spent time around that campus running hysterically down stairs in bookstores and wearing flame retardant suits while driving go-karts, as explained here, but I digress).

So when this man (who incidentally had deployed himself to help with the response efforts I was involved with for Hurricane Katrina and was telling me about this Harvard idea while he was sleeping on the floor of an abandoned mall....) told me he thought I could succeed in this program, I was all about it.

Not about it enough, however, to put much time or thought into the three essays I was supposed to write for my application though.

I realized later that I went into that situation with arrogance. I thought my little work experience, and the fact that this guy was vouching for me, would be enough to get me in.

Fun fact: you actually need to try to impress Harvard. Shocking, I know.

So of course, I got rejected and then life kept going and I never really thought about reapplying, but I used that moment as a lesson to myself to never get cocky or entitled. It’s ignorant and it doesn't work out well.

So that’s the innocuous story I used for my interview, but that’s certainly not the worse failure I’ve had. But you know what? Failure is a really important part of growth. I really dislike working with this new generation of “teacup kids” who are known by the fact that they grew up never being told "No," never experiencing rejection (and ok, I'm actually technically part of that Teacup Generation due to my age, so I'm going to blame that for that whole entitlement moment with the Harvard thing...) But not only does that mentality make for a really obnoxious group of people, it’s also really debilitating to them. Because life can’t be totally controlled. And when something does become hard for them, they are going to panic and crumble.

Whereas if you’ve gone through something once, you fear it less the next time.

I was sitting at my pool yesterday and this little boy was playing with his mother and she’d make him throw a floating ball as far as he could into the pool, and then he’d need to jump in and swim to that ball. It was a goal for him to get him swimming farther and farther. And I heard him say “I’ve done it before so I can do it now.” And I thought to myself how great and simple that was and how adults should keep reminding themselves that about a lot of situations. And the little boy jumped in and got almost to the ball –

and his mother plucked it up and threw it out farther.

Ain't that just like life? Always moving the goal post on your dreams.. Son of a…

But in the words of Ashton Kutcher (never thought I'd say that): "Opportunity ...looks a lot like hard work." You have to put forth effort and along with that, you have to be willing to take risks. 

do think it’s important to not only work hard, but also to prove to yourself along the way that you can survive failure. It actually feels a lot like surviving embarrassment. For instance, I now know I will not, in fact, die of embarrassment if my pants split open during a run because it happened here, or if the guy who just broke up with me joins an awkward date I’m on, as happened here, or if THIS happens. 

Seriously, who else does that happen to!?

Did I need that many examples? Not sure. But it does make me less fearful about embarrassment. And I've definitely tried out for things and applied for things that I just didn’t make the cut for – and I survived those too. But my – and apparently Ashton Kutcher’s – point is: you can’t stop trying. You can’t expect things to just happen. You really do need to put in effort and risk failure, embarrassment, and disappointment

My pastor (who also recently quoted Kutcher… seriously I feel like this is a sign of the end of the world or something) just said something to the effect of “think of those people who you’d most want to be, and I guarantee you, you would not want to travel the road they took to get there.” Everyone sees the “overnight successes” that actually took 20 years of working unnoticed to get to. 

And for anyone who wants Ashton's job, listen to the video below of some of the road he had to take to get there. And for anyone who thinks working in the government sounds great, take a look at some of the roads I've taken here... (ok, so maybe I also take ridiculous roads because I'm curious and can't help myself. You probably shouldn't necessarily seek out opportunities to glue Styrofoam together on your own journey to career-bliss....)

So, I recently applied for something that I really want (I won’t know if I got it for several more weeks so you are just going to have to wait for that news, sorry. It’ll build character.) And as I was sitting with my friends, talking about the application process, my friend Sean interjects with a  “and she went after it like a Spider monkey!” And I had to laugh, because he’s right.  It became like my second full-time job to get in all the pieces I needed for this application and to network like crazy in the area where I’m trying to get to. I wanted to make sure I went above and beyond the criteria and get a buzz going about my motivation. But you know what might also be part of the reason for my spidermonkyness?


Had I not experienced failure, I probably wouldn't fully appreciate the importance of hard work and going after what you want.

So in the end, I wish you all the gift of failure. Having failed at things will teach you what to change the next time. But it also just frees you up from worrying about failing. You’ve already been there and done that. Just wrap tape around your thigh and keep running. 


Sunday, September 8, 2013

That Time I Was On CNN Looking Like a Drowned Rat

To end my 9/11 memories series, let's go back to the two days after the attacks. As I mentioned before, we all returned to work the day after and in the middle of secondary alarms and everything else, my office learns that the President is planning to hold a Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the National Cathedral.

The next day.

And we needed to help with a large chunk of the guest list.

And it's like 4:00 in the afternoon already.

Well, so much for taking a moment to recover from a terrorist attack in your city!

So we go to work immediately. Our job is to contact leaders in religious organizations and coordinate getting their tickets to them the next morning.

And us interns start calling people on behalf of the President.

To this day, that is still one of the coolest moments for me. I called the head of the Salvation Army on behalf of the President. His wife excitedly called him to the phone because clearly *I* was important.

I was 21 at the time.

Living in a two bedroom, one and a half bath apartment with five other girls, in a bad part of the city.

I ate for free at receptions whenever I could and did a food service gig at a football game for extra money.

But for that moment, I was representing the leader of the free world. Ridiculous.

I made only a couple calls before I realized that I could actually serve the cause more with my fast typing skills and I volunteered to take over the data entry portion of our operation as we struggled to find contact information and log tickets in an excel spreadsheet at warp speed.

Hey don't worry about me, guys. Go ahead and call Billy Graham on behalf of the President of the United States. I'd rather TYPE!

Me=not so great at decision making.

We continue late into the night, me typing away hearing my fellow intern yell things like "If Pat Robertson calls for me, tell him I'll be right back!" and we miraculously do pull off our job. We then wake up early the next morning and start handing out tickets.

In the rain.

Because this feat wasn't challenging enough as it is.

Funny enough, one ticket I gave was to my now pastor Mark Batterson. A man I would later camp with in the middle of Ethiopia while we were surrounded by lions and monkeys.

Life is so strange.

Another ticket I gave was to famed Redskins football player, Darrell Green. I literally handed his ticket to him through the window of his car as he drove past me in the rain. That is how frantic this whole operation was.

The last person I remember handing a ticket to?

Jerry Falwell.

So it was quite the day already.

When we finished that task, we ourselves loaded into giant white Martz busses and were taken through the city by police escort to get to the Cathedral just in time for the event to start.

Did I mention this event included nearly every living U.S. president at the time and pretty much every VIP that could possibly get there?

So there was a tiny bit of security. Our buses had to drop us off quite a ways away. So me and my fellow interns trudged, in our suits, in the rain, into the cathedral and were all seated in various spots among the crowd.

Finally. We could relax. And start crying (at least I did) as famous opera singers sang hymns and Billy Graham and President Bush and others spoke.

After it was over, I went to find another intern while other people tried to gather around Presidents Clinton and Bush Senior. As I walked up to my fellow intern Steve, he blurts out "I saw you on t.v.!"

I'm sorry, what was that?

Apparently, Steve was sat behind a column where he could sort of see the stage but also had a television monitor showing the live news coverage of the event. I had been seated on the edge of a row along the middle aisle and apparently, right when my rain-flattened head was tilted to one side as I was crying during a hymn --

CNN panned in on me.

And thus my tired, drowned little face filled television screens across the country for a couple seconds.

Incidentally, that wouldn't be the worst I've looked on television. During Bush's second election, I was at the official election party all night while we awaited the results (which didn't come until the next morning) when I raced home, changed clothes, didn't shower, raced back for the news that we won -- and was promptly interviewed for Channel 1. My sleep-deprived, disheveled mess of a self, babbled on about the win before wandering back to the party. I never saw the footage but I can only imagine what I looked like. Thankfully that channel is only broadcast throughout public schools across the nation and not on regular television...

When we got back to our homes, I was flooded with calls and emails from friends and family members all over the country who had been shocked to see me on the news. Some of my aunts in Washington State said that seeing me unexpectedly somehow gave them comfort in the midst of all the scary, horrifying events that week so I've always thought that was God's doing, because goodness knows why CNN chose me to pan in on me in a room full of people. (And if you ever want to do that again, CNN, could ya give a girl a heads up so she can fluff her hair or something?)

In the end, obviously the events of that week changed every American's life, but it personally changed mine in so many ways. Being at the White House when all of that went down; later serving in the office that was literally creating the new Department of Homeland Security due to the attacks; meeting service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who were wounded in the wars that ensued because of those attacks -- it's like 9/11 has been woven into my life ever since. That's why, when Bin Laden was finally taken out, I raced to the White House to celebrate there with one of the girls I interned with so many years before. It felt personal.

And while I don't still have the Jumbo in my apartment, and I'm not sure where the video is of my brief moment on national news, I'll always have these memories of when I was miraculously fortunate enough to be able to be so close to history. And every September, I remember them all again.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

More September 11th Memories

So two years ago, I posted my memories from spending my second day of working at the White House being evacuated on 9/11 (here).  But so many other things happened around that time.

First of all, we all went back to work the day after 9/11 happened. But obviously nothing was ever the same and everyone was on heightened alert. I remember walking out of the building on 9/11 but I remember running out of the building two days later when there was a report of a potential car bomb on the street outside. (the funny thing is, I did take the time to grab my lunch before running for my life. Some people make sure others get to safety, I make sure my tuna fish sandwich isn't wasted....) But by then, everyone knew what had happened to our country so whenever something suspicious occurred, people overreacted just in case.

One precaution taken was that our office was moved to across the street. Apparently where our office was situated originally left it too vulnerable to the street so a week after I came in early and discovered planes were crashing into buildings, I came in early and found-

our office gone.

Yep, over the weekend it had been moved, yet NO ONE THINKS TO TELL THE ALREADY-SKITTISH INTERN! So I eventually find out where the office moved to, and then I spend part of that week helping hand-carry office furniture between the two places. Because that's what interns do. Whether at a dog grooming company or at the most powerful place in the world, you're gunna staple things and you're gunna pick things up.

Jumbos look like this http://www.pbs.org/programs/presidents-photographer/
And here's where I admit to something I probably shouldn't. So there are these giant photos termed "jumbos" all throughout the White House offices of different scenes throughout the presidency.  
And sometimes staff will take them for keepsakes at the end of the term. Well my fellow intern - also moving furniture - decides now would be a perfect time for us to grab one for ourselves since we were already moving things out of the building. Granted, it was not the end of a term and we hadn't asked anyone if we could take them but we figured - eh, staff do this, these aren't even great pictures and no one will miss them. And since the guards were already used to seeing us schlep things across the street, they didn't even bat an eye when we walked out carrying giant photographs.
Well my conscience quickly gets the best of me and I can't take it anymore. There is a jumbo, in my apartment, and I didn't ask permission! So I finally hang it up over my bed and snap of photo to remember it's existence - and I smuggle it back into the White House compound the next day. Clearly, I picked the right profession - that being anything but a thief. 
So we get all situated in our new office space and calm down from the second building evacuation for the false alarm (when, I might add, I passed a lady on her cell phone apparently telling someone that we were all scurrying around again for another emergency, and all I heard was "I gotta get some ICE CREAM I can't HANDLE this sh*@!" which became my second favorite random outburst on that sidewalk. The first being the man asking passerbys for money each day calling out to me down the street "oh here comes a pretty lady!" then when I got close enough to refuse to give him my cash, he spits out "of course not, you're too STUPID TO BE PRETTY!" Ah, D.C. life.)

But back to the office. So after 9/11, the false alarm evacuation, and all sorts of other alarms around the city, such as antrax letters etc. - our office gets yet another scare.

We get our own suspicious letter.

So now we're all back to being evacuated again. We pile out into the street (I did not grab office furniture or a sandwich to amuse myself this time so of course I was impatient for this to just be over with quickly) and we watch as a real-life robot goes back into our office and fetches the letter. I kid you not. I saw that little thing carry it out while we all stood at a safe distance. At that moment, I think a switch turned on in my head that said "you will never be shocked by anything else in your life again after this semester." And we watch the robot leave and we go back and continue our day.

More to come from those crazy weeks in my next post.