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O Fim duma Viagem

In Lieu of a Schedule

USA | Tuesday, 9 June 2015 | Views [277]

After we got to campus, my father and I walked to the Marcum Conference Center to pick up my key, then back to the car. We were able to rest the car right by the dorm while I got my stuff out and went up three flights of stairs. By the time I'd said goodbye to my father and had everything in my room, it was almost 4:30. At 4:30, a knock came on our door from Maram and Griselda. They'd planned on going out and exploring a bit at that time. When they saw that I'd just arrived and was still unpacking, they offered to wait. I told them there was no need to wait, and got ready to go out exploring.

As I've already mentioned, I'm used to not having any free time the first few days of a new experience. Freshman year of college was like that. Morocco was like that. Next semester is likely to be like that. So trying to navigate the surrounding area minutes after setting my last box in the room seemed perfectly acceptable.

So we set off walking. Our levels of familiarity with the campus ranged from completely nonexistent to “we know some things.” Maram and Griselda had gotten a mini-tour and description of campus and surrounding town during their ride back from the airport. I knew some buildings on campus, having walked past or through them. Together, we were able to get off campus and onto a main-ish street with several restaurants.

We walked along the street until we found something worth stopping at. This turned out to be a Chipotle. The others had eaten much earlier than I had, and didn't have a time zone change, so they were were hungry. I certainly didn't mind the opportunity to enjoy air conditioning and something to drink. (We had oru swipe cards, menaing we would theoretically get meal points at some point. We weren't entirely sure when or where that started, though.)

After eating, we headed back to the dorms because people had leftovers to put away. I was able to do a little more unpacking (mainly getting my sheets on my bed so if it did turn into a really long night, I'd be able to crash once it was over) and then we set out again. First, though, we explored the building, and spent a bit of time sitting in the lounge.

We walked the same route we had previously. This time, we didn't pass much that was more interesting. It was also still really hot. At least, people kept complaining about it, or the humidity. It was a few degrees cooler than it would have been in the suburbs of Chicago, so I found it perfectly pleasant.

I'm the only midwesterner on the program and it's making me feel really lonely. I mean, I'm technically on my home soil, but still. It's been a long time since I've gone somewhere with a program and not had someone else who grew up in the same general area. Especially people who grew up in Wisconsin or Illinois, since I have the most in common with those two states.

We walked until the frequency of shops dropped off, then we turned around and headed back to our dorms. Along the way, we stopped for frozen yoghurt and smoothies. There didn't appear to be an overabundance of interesting things. There was an antique shop, two student bookstores, and a decent variety of restaurants. Possibly the most interesting store/restaurant was Insomnia Cookies, which will deliver cookies until 3 in the morning. I'd seen that previously on other campuses, but never tried them.

We got back to campus just in time to see the last car of people arrive. We talked a little bit with the students and driver (our analysis short course instructor) and then let the students go to their room to unpack.

Unpacking. That was a thing I should do. And, since I had the time and space to, I didn't have a good reason not to. It's only been a couple of weeks since I left Carthage, and it felt very weird to be unpacking into a different dorm already. Even weirder when I stopped to think of all of the things I don't get to bring with me next year. I was the oonly person to drive, so I had plenty of room to bring pretty much everything I needed or wanted. I don't get that luxury next year. So I keep looking at things and going “next year, I won't have this.” Usually the object I'm looking at is a book. The number of books I like bringing to college would probably be enough to make my suitcase overweight.

The rest of the evening was rather quiet. We hung out in bedrooms or the downstairs lounge and talked a bit. Delaney ordered around $6 worth of cookies so they'd deliver and, sure enough, a little after eleven, someone showed up with warm cookies for her. (They were prety good.)

The next morning, the other girls and I set out for a restaurant we'd seen the night before. (I say “monring.” It was at least 10:30 by the time we left.) It was a breakfast and lunch place and, since we still didn't know if we had meal points or not, we weren't pushing it. So off to an off-campus breakfast we went.

I'm still a little stunned by how easy it is to walk off campus. I mean, it's not that difficult at Carthage, it just takes over a mile for you to get anywhere interesting. (By which I mean anywhere commercial. If done properly, the mile walk brings you by Lake Michigan, which is pretty interesting. Gorgeous as Miami University's campus may be, I don't see any Great Lakes here.)

Breakfast was pretty good. Delaney made a comment about how, since taking a matheamtical logic class, whenever she sees something on the menu like “served with toast or pancakes” she kind of wants them to give her both, because mathematically, “or” doesn't need to be exclusive. She also followed up by commenting “I've been waiting so long to make that joke to people who would understand it.”

After breakfast, we went back to the dorm and hung out for a while. Around 2 we (still meaning just the girls. We weren't trying to leave the guys out, but they turned out to be difficult to contact) walked to a CVS for everything we discovered we'd forgotten to bring. Then we walked back and killed time before dinner.

We left way too early for dinner (my fault. I didn't want to be late, and expected it to take longer to find the room than it did) and ended up arriving with over 15 minutes to spare. So we hung out in a nearby classroom until the guys arrived and we decided it was close enough to 6:00 to go to the right room. Students and faculty introduced themselves, and then we ate dinner.

Dinner was fried chicken, cheese and olives, and a fruit platter brought into one of the rooms in the math building. We were seated close enough to each other that at times there would be two conversations going on, at times there would be one, and at times there would be dead silence. About what you'd expect from a number of math-oirented people who have just met. The dead silences were kind of terrible. As one person realized she was the only one in the room still talking, she'd tend to get quieter. And quieter. And then just trail off... and no one else would want to say something, because whatever idle comment you might make didn't seem to be important enough to have everyone in the room listening to it. So the silence would drag on for a bit until someone dared to break it. And then conversation would ensue for a while, and then another silence, and then more talking. Overall, it was enjoyable enough.

At the end of the meal, several of us grabbed extra spoons. Then we headed back to the dorm to gather together in our lounge for a few card games. We began by playing spoons, though we only played with giving people letters, and I think we forgot about those after a couple of rounds. Then we played two games of BS, including one with a double deck. Which was interesting. Made it harder to tell if someone was bluffing when they put down three cards at a time.

Someone asked if there were any other card games people knew. I considered for a moment or two, then introduced them to Moving Man's Rummy. I asked if anyone knew Thinking Man's Rummy (no one did) then explained “Moving Man's Rummy is a variation of that.” I neglected to mention that it's a variation that my family came up with, and probably is not played by anyone else.

The idea of Thinking Man's Rummy is that you have 8 cards in your hand, you draw until you can lay down. Runs and sets are valid, and you can also add to the cards other people lay down. More interestingly, you can take a card that someone else put down, provided you're still living at least 3 cards together. For example, if there's a set of four kings on the table and I have a queen and jack of hearts in my hand, I can take the king of hearts, add my jack and queen, and set it down. You win if you can set down all of your cards.

The idea of Moving Man's Rummy is that you don't have turns. Everyone is picking and laying down and rearranging cards all at once.Which makes for quite the challenge when you're first learning the game. (Since no one knew the original, I didn't mention that traditionally, players are supposed to take turns.) We played the first game open-hand, which seemed to help people get the hang of it. Several people had played Rummy-like games before, so they were already familiar with which sets were legal and which ones weren't. A few people had no idea what was going on, but most of them seemed to be getting it by the end.

I thought the open-hand game was especially fun, because it gave me so much to do. I was looking at other people's hands and suggesting places that they could set down cards. My reasons weren't always altruistic. (“Hey, Dana, you can put down your five of clubs here.” Immediately followed by setting down my four and three. La di da da.)

After that game, we played another closed-hand. After playing for a bit, I notitced which players had a lot of cards in their hands and offered to help them for a bit. They accepted, and I showed them what kinds of things they could do. And then I realized that both decks were used, and there still wasn't a queen of spades on the table, though there were plenty of opportunities for one, and it probably would have been helpful to havve it out. So I went back to my hand and was able to play both of them immediately.

Dana won that game, and then we played another which I won, and then we decided to call it a night. (It was a little after 10.) People seeemed to be getting good at Moving Man's, and they also seemed to enjoy it, which is good. It's always a risk when you try and introduce a complicated game to a large number of people.

So those were our days of mostly unscheduled activities. They were fun, and it was nice talking with the other members of the group casually instead of through forced ice breakers, but I'm definitely ready for the schedule to pick up tomorrow. I'm not used to being on a college campu sand not having half a dozen things that need to get done. I kind of miss that feeling.

Tags: cards, exploring, first impressions

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