We got home late last night from moving my brother Jared in. It’s about a five or five and a half hour drive from where we live. Mom, Dad, and I drove up Monday afternoon and had dinner with a colleague of Dad’s. They’d both just recently gone to the Smith meeting in Atlanta (Dad’s a geneticist and the colleague we had dinner with is a pediatric geneticist I believe).
Move-in Day for us started bright and early. Jared managed to snag a dorm with the earliest move-in time: 8:30-10:00 AM. Even better? He wasn’t even there to move his stuff in. I think I mentioned before how he’d gotten accepted for the hiking pre-orientation program that Duke offers. Well, he was still gone with that and wasn’t expected back until about 1 PM that afternoon. But it wasn’t all bad. It took us a little bit to figure out how to get to the dorm because they had a policeman directing traffic at the intersection where we needed to turn and he wouldn’t let us. About ten minutes later, Mom or Dad (don’t remember which) saw that others were getting to turn there because they had a sheet of paper in the window. So we found the sheet of paper and voila! He let us turn. After that it was a bit of a wait as cars inched along up to the dorm building. But it was all pretty efficient. Once you got close to the dorm staff was outside direcing you to open spaces on the curb where you could pull up and unload. They didn’t allow anyone to park and as soon as you were unloaded you had to leave and drive to a lot on the edge of West Campus to park so that they could keep things moving. A shuttle bus made rounds between the lot and dorm areas. Dad’s the one that drove the van to the lot but he ended up walking back because he didn’t feel like waiting that long for the bus. He said it was maybe a mile and a half walk, so not terribly bad.
The dorms moved-in in shifts so I think only one or two dorms were moving in at a time–at least that’s how it seemed. Outside the dorm were a crowd of kids wearing these lavender colored shirt with FAC written in white on the back. They basically swarmed your car as soon as you pulled up and helped you unload. Not only that but once they found out what room your student was going to stay in, they whisked it all away. Mom and I didn’t carry a thing up to the room. It was truly amazing. Kinda wish SMC had that but then again, Duke’s about 4 times the size of Saint Mary’s (Jared’s freshman class is about 1700–that’s slightly bigger than my entire school. We have about 1600 I think). They also had music blasting from the lobby though I think that was to help keep the FACs’ energy up. If I remember what Jared told me, FAC stands for First-year Academic Counselor.
Jared’s roommate, Henry, and his family were already there by the time Mom and I got up to the room. He’s from Pheonix, AZ. He and his family were all really nice. His mom, dad, and youngest brother were all there. They weren’t staying overnight though–his brother apparently was starting school ( I think he’s in six grade) the next day so the three of them were taking an afternoon flight back. Henry is the oldest of four. We didn’t meet his older younger brother (who’s a junior in high school) and his sister (who’s a freshman) because they’d started school the week before.
Their room is pretty nice. I don’t know what the dimensions were but it looked to be a little bigger than my freshman dorm room was. Though that could also be that boys, or at least these boys, are minimalists. Compared to girls that is. They both had so much space left in their closet areas it’s not even funny. Seriously. I’m not saying that I’m one of those major girly girls who obsesses over clothes or anything like that but I definitely would have used up more space than they did. The two shelves were pretty full I belive, but their hanging clothes took up a fourth of the alloted space. Maybe. One thing that was settled without much fight was which one of us will get the TV. I’m going abroad this year, so of course I won’t be needing it, but it looks like he won’t either. Duke doesn’t have cable. We found that out after Jared got back.
He did seem like he had a wonderful time on his trip. I refused to give him a hug until after he’d taken a shower though. I’m sure most of you would have done the same. Hiking in the Pisagh Mountains for two weeks with a LNT motto (Leave No Trace). That means that in addition to no campfires (they cooked on portable little stoves), they also had to use any water that they boiled or treated (ex: if they made pasta, they had to drink the pasta water) so you can probably guess where this is going. They didn’t shower for two weeks. Even better? Jared was one of few who participated in the One Outfit Challenge. Now, given the title, I’m sure you can guess what that means. Yep. He didn’t change at all, with the exception of changing shoes once, the entire time. So he smelled worse than the other kids. Yay. He took a twenty-minute shower once we got back to his dorm. And Mom put his stuff in the wash. His room is almost directly across from a laundry room. I think they must space them out throughout the floor/building instead of having them all in one big room in the basement.
One thing that surprised Mom, Dad, and me was that apparently they did a 36 hour solo. Meaning that the leaders led each of them a little ways off the path and then left them by themselves for 36 hours. You could leave your waterbottle by the path and the leaders would make rounds every so often and fill them or check your bandana that was looped around a branch near the path to make sure you were fine (I think Jared said you were supposed to tie a knot in it to show you were okay and then when they’d seen it, they would untie it) but the whole point was that you weren’t supposed to interact with anyone. Oh, and no food. You fasted for those 36 hours. When Jared first mentioned it, first thing I thought of was the Native American Visions Quest that their teens would go on. Dad was thoroughly impressed. I’m not sure what all Jared did during those 36 hours but he did say that he left little notes in his bandana for the leaders (each hiker was given a mini notebook to write about their experience).
I feel like this is starting to get a bit long, so I’ve decided to just make it a 2-part thing. Everything above was just the first day. Part 2 will be the second day.