By Ty and Bud
Six Arcadians were sitting on a log pile, anxiously waiting for their families to arrive. Others were inside, noses pressed against windows watching the joyous reunions. Hugs were passed around freely and perhaps more than one mother shed some tears. One father remarked that he had never seen college students so happy to see their parents.
Friday, October 5th was the beginning of the students’ mid-semester break. The kick-off event was a scrumptious chicken and roast vegetable dinner prepared and served by four 2011 alumni of the program: Caitlin Ward, Jeff Gilbert, Nick Schessl, and Tori Bean. Students happily reassured incredulous parents that yes, we really do eat this well every meal! We were all excited to introduce our parents to everyone—our classmates, our instructors, our director and assistant directors, and each other—as we opened up our small community to loved ones.
A highlight for each student was showing off our home. Families either walked or canoed to the village and got a glimpse of our life. Parents were stunned by the cleanliness of the yurts . . . Little did they know that we had feverishly swept and organized earlier that day. Systems were explained as parents experimented with lifting our water jugs. Others were very curious as well, poking their heads underneath yurts or exploring the inner bowels of Sir Clivus Multrum, the composting toilet. Overall, loved ones and friends were either impressed or maybe a little confused with our simple lifestyle.
The next morning families trickled away from Massawepie and for the first time in two months we experienced the “real world” in full force. Most of us were a little hesitant to jump directly into campus life, so we spent a couple days with our families. Lake Placid was a popular destination as well as the High Peaks region for hiking.
On Sunday, families returned home and we were left to fend for ourselves on a campus that consisted of buildings rather than eastern white pines. Our transition to campus was eased by Carol Pynchon, David’s mother, who welcomed us into her home for a delicious dinner Sunday night. After that we met up with friends and did some serious people-watching.
It was nice to see our campus friends, but when Tuesday rolled around it was a relief to return to Arcadia. Our stay on SLU’s campus really illuminated how special our semester has been. In the following days, it became clear that we all gained some unique insights about how much we are learning this fall. Our reunion with our families and friends showed us how important Arcadia and this community we have formed here are to each of us.