Adventures

Danger at the Drive-In

It was a Friday. My friends and I were at the Drive-In.

EXT. VALI-HI: LAKE ELMO, MINNESOTA. DUSK.

We started the night off innocently with the movie Minions. Yes, Minions. No, I’m not proud of it. But honestly? It wasn’t bad. I know they’re slowly but furiously taking over our government, nay our world, but the film was not as disgusting as their marketing team is.

The first 30 minutes of Jurassic World rolled by and it was accompanied by a lighting storm. A soft one, but intense, like a soft grunge. A soft grunge lighting storm.

Nobody thought much of it. We knew it would storm but what we didn’t know was how fast it would hit us. How fast everything would change.

All of a sudden, right when the plot begins to thicken, the movie stops and a vague and anticlimactic voice flooded our car speakers. “Just to let everyone know…the National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning…for Ramsey county…Anoka county…Dakota county…and Washington county…which is…where we are…so…you might want to leave.”

Severe thunderstorm warnings are no reason for Minnesotans to get their panties in a bunch. They happen often and (most) people look forward to them. Although, we knew this time would be different.

We quickly packed our Jeep and waited in the line of cars to get out of the lot. 10 minutes later and we were flying down 94 East on the way to St. Paul where my sister and her boyfriend would get dropped off, and I’d continue home 30 minutes away with my friend and her boyfriend.

10 minutes in and that’s when it began, what I like to call: 4D Jurassic World. What makes this storm different than any other storm? Two weeks prior to this fateful day, my mom and I took the soft top off of our Jeep, therefore making our Jeep TOPLESS. Open to anything and everything, and in this case: rain. 10 minutes in and the five of us packed in the car were soaked. Blinded by the torrential rain and wind, we parked under a bridge on the freeway with five other cars for about 10 more minutes. The freeway was a mess. People honking and swerving like madmen. Minnesotans are in no way bad drivers when it comes to driving in bad weather. In fact, I’d go as far to say as we are the true troopers. But this storm was a reflection of the chaos in Jurassic World. People were driving as if a T-Rex was chasing them. Or worse, the Indominus Rex.

When we arrived at my sisters house in St. Paul, it was my turn to step up to the plate. I sat down, buckled my seat belt, readjusted the mirror, and began what felt like my ascension into adulthood.

10 minutes away from home, and the yellow tint of the gas-light was shining in the corner of my eye. We were almost out of gas. I couldn’t bear the thought of being stranded on the freeway during this storm, but I knew I had to continue. After all, the Jeep can last a surprising amount of time with the gas-light on. Next thing I know I was driving on the highway a few minutes away from my house. Though, this time, the highway looked different. Street lights, stop lights, house lights, were all off. The power was out. Even if I needed to stop at the gas station, I wouldn’t be able to. It was shut down. I continued down the dark, eerie, and empty streets. Almost home. Nearly there.

Finally, we arrived home an hour after we left Vali-Hi. We were all in one piece, including the car.  My ascension into adulthood was basically immaculate.

All in all, the 4D Jurassic World was totally worth $8.50. It’s like I was actually soaked, freezing, and scared for my life! Now that’s what I call the drive-in experience.

But actually, this was an awesome experience. The funny thing about this night is that the last time my sister and I went to a drive in, it poured on us, and also I didn’t even want to drive to Vali-Hi in the first place because I thought I would be too tired to drive myself home. But I wasn’t! The rain woke me up.

P.S. – My Jeep was dry the next morning.

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Letters, Thoughts & Rants

End of First Year

First year is coming to a close. People are packing up their rooms, saying goodbye, and leaving Swansea for the summer. I myself am leaving with an addiction to Starbucks, a newfound appreciation for folk music, and a feeling of nostalgia for the past year.

This has been the fastest yet most life changing year I’ve ever had. I can’t imagine my life before university and I can’t believe I have been away from home for so long. I’ve only been in the United States for a total of three weeks since September 2014. I have changed immensely while being here. I even look different. The Andie in September seems years younger than me right now, but I am still the same age as her, and last time I was home, I was her. (Preach time: age is really just a number. It’s all about experiences.) Before you leave, you wonder how much it will change you. There isn’t really an answer to that besides that it just does. Experiencing this year at uni has made me grow so much, and that combined with traveling has made me gain so much confidence in myself. It’s weird because I honestly can’t believe how brave I was deciding to live abroad. Obviously, I couldn’t fully grasp what I was getting myself into, but I’m glad for that. Right before I left, I was sad and a little scared to leave home. I knew I’d never be this young again and that life wasn’t so serious yet. However, looking at myself now, I am so much happier. I would have never gone out of my shell and tried new things if I didn’t leave home. I needed it. The thought of home now has evolved into something much more meaningful, even though I didn’t think it could ever expand any more.

Despite worries of homesickness, I didn’t get homesick at all this year until about April, which is an impressive amount of time without getting homesick if you ask me. I can understand why homesickness is so overwhelming now. It’s a hard thing to want to go back home when you’re so far away. It’s easy to start to dislike differences in culture and whatnot, but it’s a very bad habit to get into. I did find ways to help it a bit though. I took walks, listened to music, Skyped friends and family, watched Welsh slang YouTube videos, and I watched House Hunters International. Oddly enough, House Hunters International really helped. Most importantly though, I became friends with Leah from Canada. Having a fellow North American with whom you can share your struggles with and also share the excitement of being in another country with is really what helped me the most. Homesickness is an isolating feeling and people can never really understand it unless they leave home and experience it themselves, but it is something that you can get through. Overall though, it was a lot less of a problem than I thought it would be.

To answer everyones question: my favourite part was probably meeting all of the different people from different places with different accents. It’s cool to learn about people and culture and where everyone is from! And by the way, asking what someone’s favourite part was is a very broad question and it’s difficult to answer because you can’t just choose one favourite part out of a big life changing experience. 🙂

At this point it will be hard to revert back to US spelling and slang, but I am going to try to keep my UK side as well. Personally, I think it’s better. Heehee.

Seeing how much I’ve changed in just one year, I can’t imagine what I’ll be like at the end. It’s a bit overwhelming at times, but knowing how many friends I’ve made, how many places I’ve been, and how much I’ve grown as a person, I would never change my decision to come here. Plus now I only have two years left of university 😉

Knowing that in a few days I get to wake up in my own home and see my friends, my family, and my cat has brought many tears to my eyes.

I love you Wales, but I am ready for you, Minnesota! Bring on the humidity, stormy nights, and even the mosquitos!

Me in September

Me in September

Me in June!

Me in June!

Song of the day:

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