Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lightning is Nature's Strobe Lights

None of my (many) alarms were sufficient to rouse me from my dogmatic slumber this morning. Finally I did wake up, and I was planning to roll out of bed, slip into my flip flops and casually jaunt down to the hotel lobby. Which would have been fine, if we weren't immediately leaving the hotel for Philadelphia. Somehow, my groggy, sleep-addled brain failed to process this crucial fact last night, therefore I had neglected to pack or make preparations for our imminent and immediate departure. This meant that I had two minutes to repack everything. As the gravity of the situation percolated through my mind, I was suddenly far less sanguine about making to the lobby on time. (Spoiler: we were late.) Some truly frantic packing ensued, and Other Julia and I raced to the elevator, technically not on time, but not egregiously late either. Alas, even this small victory was lost due to the caprices of the elevator. In short, I messed up. I am so sorry. And it will never, ever happen again.

Statues! Statues everywhere!
It looks like a castle, but don't be fooled,
 it's a building at UPenn
Fortunately, we were able to overcome the inauspicious start to our morning. We had crepes for breakfast and took an Amtrak train to Philadelphia. I discovered that train stations are absolutely beautiful. As Mr. Hillyer put it, train stations were the airports of the 19th century, and apparently the US in the 19th century was serious about its architecture and public transportation. After we arrived at the Philadelphia station, we walked to our hotel. After getting situated in our new accommodations, we headed off to the University of Pennsylvania campus for an information session and tour. The information session was held in Irvine Auditorium, which is the most gorgeous and well air-conditioned auditorium I have ever seen. My first impression was of having walked into the auditorium version of the Hagia Sophia. The information session was great. The presenter was really funny, which resulted in the rare information session experience that was entertaining and engaging as well as edifying.

Every building at Penn looks like this!
Since the tours were canceled on account of the heat, there was a student panel that answered questions about Penn. (This was great because it meant not going outside in the heat again.) Afterwards, we went to the campus bookstore, which is officially my happy place. Then we returned to the hotel to relax and get ready for our fancy dinner at Butcher and Singer's. Back at the hotel, Other Julia had a lot of fun making music by blowing into a soda bottle. I was enjoying Other Julia's musical escapades, and it was time to go to dinner all too soon.

To get to the restaurant, we took metro and walked. This was nice because it gave us a chance to see a little more of the city. Dinner was fantastic and it expanded both my culinary and intellectual horizons. I dined on escargot, amazing salad, lobster tail, and cheese cake and Gwennie and I sat next to a student named Talon Ducheneaux, who told us all about his
My (exquisite) dinner
experiences at UPenn. We also also talked to Ken, another student at UPenn, and Alex, who is an admissions officer. I was very impressed by my experience of UPenn today, but I feel obligated to maintain a certain amount of reserve when talking about it, in order to provide a counterpoint to Other Julia's overwhelming, slightly concerning zeal. Since dinner, Other Julia has developed a fixation on/infatuation with the University of Pennsylvania. Based on her symptoms, (giddiness, euphoria, excited babbling,) I suspect that Other Julia is high on the concept of college, specifically Penn. Among other insanely enthusiastic things she has said tonight, "Penn is my life," "Can I haz Penn, I want it!,""(in a Russian accent): "Need to apply to Penn. Is Much Need!," and "Lightning... it's like, natural strobe lights." While the last one isn't about Penn, it was too much of a philosophical gem not to share with the world.

1 comment:

  1. I love that your personality shows through in your writing but I am more interested in what Julia Mason thinks of Penn, not Other Julia :)