My friend came to pick me up for the trans-provincial trek back to school. Having been teased for the bulk of my fuzzy blanket on the trip home, I downsized for the way back. I still had a fair bit of stuff, though.
"Well," said Chuck, "It's my car, so my stuff gets first priority. Your stuff gets second priority because I've picked you up first. Jaynette's stuff gets last priority because she's not joining us until we hit Brooks."
"I hope she doesn't want to bring much," I said. "There's no room."
We agreed that since Jaynette backpacks a lot, she must also be good at packing lightly and efficiently and drove off without another thought.
Somehow the three of us managed to stuff everything but her laundry rack into the car, though Jaynette and I had to do all of Chuck's right-handed shoulder-checking for the remainder of the trip, what with how packed the vehicle was.
Also, we totally yodeled the William Tell Overture together in the car.
And then... we arrived. We reentered our little village and our semi-rigidly regimented lives.
I dyed a few streaks of my hair green over the holidays. When I got back to school, Miao Yu and I chatted about frogs, the Tower of Babel, and Canadian inheritance customs. In the middle of her sentence, Miao Yu stopped, reached out to grab some of my hair and gasped with wide eyes.
"What happened?!" she sputtered.
"Oh," I replied. "I dyed it green."
Miao Yu resumed her former train of thought without comment. But my quaddie, Joie, liked it.
"I've never seen someone dye their hair a green as nice as that," she said.
"No?" I said. "I think it's looking a bit seaweedy at the moment."
"No, I like it," said Joie. "Seaweed is blacker."
I guess she would know. She eats a lot of it.
Last semester, Jaynette and I worked together on a project for our professor. We spent time with him discussing many things that had nothing to do with our project.
"I used to have no problems ever crossing the border," said Jaynette, "until I cut my hair. I guess I just looked sweet and innocent when it was long and now I look like a criminal with it short. It used to be Carla's length."
Our professor peered at me. "Carla doesn't look innocent," he said. "She looks like a criminal."
"Well, I looked sweet and cherubic," said Jaynette.
"I don't look innocent?" I asked.
"No," he replied. "For at least half of every class, you look like you're cooking up some scheme. Plotting something. Pranks, maybe. I can see the wheels turning."
"Oh," I said, "Well, I guess I do like playing devil's advocate."
"I knew when I saw that Carla and Jaynette were working together on this project it wasn't going to be a typical presentation," he declared.
This semester, sitting in the first class of Second Language Acquisition, this same professor asked what we did over the holidays. People said they did things like spend time with family and knit hats. I said that my dad had thrown an end-of-the-world apocalypse party for us on the 21st.
"I knew yours would be different, Carla," said my professor.
"Her dad is a nerd," explained Chuck to the class.
It seems that I have made an impression here. It seems my dad has made an impression here.
For being away at school an entire semester, home with my family still felt like home - almost like I hadn't left. A few things had changed - the shelving in the fridge was organized differently than before. Actually, that was the primary difference.
So when I had to leave to go back to school, it felt a little bit like leaving again, as opposed to returning to somewhere. Yet, when I got back into my dorm... I felt like I hadn't left. In a good way. In an oh-yeah-I-live-here kind of way.
Maybe I am actually growing up.
Grown-ups want to dye their hair green, don't they?
Tanya: You know you're a student when you live on eggs, rice, and beans.
Me, in shock: That's exactly what I've been eating!