I’ve been on hiatus because we’ve been traveling again. Technically, it was down and then up the Eastern Seaboard.
First, the girls and I flew to Savannah, Georgia to visit family. (Cute W skipped all the traveling to work and get things done around the house, which backfired a bit when our house lost power for two days in a row.) My parents and one sister and brother-in-law live there, and another sister and her family were visiting at the same time, so we got plenty of family quality time in. The super-exciting thing that’s happened lately is that Allegiant now flies direct between Albany and Savannah, and it is cheap. Okay, yes, your choices are limited, but it is totally worth rearranging your schedule for convenient and inexpensive access to this lovely, lovely city. I am really, really hoping that the prices stay low, because it would improve our quality of life dramatically in terms of making it easier to connect with family. So spread the word and buy some airline tickets, y’all!
We were very fortunate that the weather was only hot instead of crazy-hot. We hit the pool and the beach and the stores. We somehow managed to miss Leopold’s Ice Cream this time, but we did our best to make up for it with pulled pork and shrimp & grits. And I didn’t update here because our internet access was spotty, and when I did manage to get online, I was trying to catch up with KidsOutAndAbout work. Plus I spent most of my free time chit chatting while drinking wine or margaritas. Because vacation.
We flew back on Thursday morning, and later that day we drove to Maine. We’d had a tentative plan to visit a couple of colleges at some point this summer, and then we realized that there was a special soccer event on the Saturday after our Savannah trip. Which meant the most efficient thing to do was a quick turn-around, with us girls piling into the car for a five-hour drive up to a local hotel by Thursday night so that we could jam-pack Friday with admissions events. The agenda was a 9 am Bates tour, 10 am Bates information session, 11 am Bates interview, then a one-hour drive to a 1 pm Colby information session and a 2 pm Colby tour. We all liked Bates better, which of course we didn’t realize until after we hustled out of Bates to make our Colby appointments on time.
The big deal on Friday was M’s interview. She was prepped, she was dressed-up-but-not-too-dressed-up, she was ready to roll. And then it turned out that the “interview” was a casual conversation with a current student at a picnic table outside. As the interviewer introduced herself and took M away from me, she let us know that they would be talking for 25 to 30 minutes, which gave us just barely enough time to grab a quick dining hall lunch before motoring north. But then M and her interviewer were just gabbing away, so it was more like 45 to 50 minutes. And that was terrific, of course, but then we were way behind our schedule.
Colby College was fine, but their admissions office could use some improvement: the people leading the information session and tours were a little too scripted, and our tour group was way too huge. For us, the single most impressive thing about Colby was their new tuition policy: if you make less than $60K per year, tuition is nothing, and if you make between $60K and $150K, tuition is capped at $15K per year. That is potentially an excellent deal for many, many people.
After our college visits we headed back to our hotel in Lewiston (near Bates) and went out for Indian food at Mother India, where the food was yummy and the owner was just as super-friendly as everyone on campus had been.
Then on Saturday, M and thirty-some-odd other girls played soccer all day at Bates with the Bates coach. Which went pretty well, I think. It is a little difficult to judge, really, even if you can clearly tell which soccer players are awesome and which are terrible (and I am only marginally capable of judging that; all the people who aren’t on the extreme ends of the spectrum run together for me, especially when it’s just for a short time). But even if you could tell where everyone stacked up when it came to soccer, there are academics to keep in mind as well. Depending on the colleges and how selective the admissions is at each of them, the “soccer recruiting” experience can be wildly different, between a coach calling to chat her up and giving her ballpark figures on the kind of “academic merit” financial assistance she’s likely to score vs. other coaches basically saying, oh, you seem good and that’s nice, but we’re gonna need to see your transcript before anyone gets emotionally attached. So it will be interesting to see how it all actually shakes out.
While M was playing soccer, J and I had originally planned to drive to the closest beach. But of course we’d been to a lovely beach–with warm water!–just earlier that week, and by the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling pretty tired of traveling, especially with the prospect of a five hour drive home that evening. Instead, we wandered the town and treated ourselves to fancy teas, spent way too long at a used book store, did our best to try as many different items as possible in the Bates dining hall (they had provided meal tickets, which we appreciated), and finally just threw our beach towel on the grass in the shade and alternated between reading our novels and watching the soccer.
Everyone was pretty exhausted for the drive home. I had neck and back aches from different beds and pillows and too much sitting still, and I’d end up spending the next day mostly asleep in bed, recovering, and poor J got a messy stomach bug.
But the ride home was still kind of fun, too. At one point we were driving along those twisty Vermont roads and heading into the sunset and we had the windows open and the girls were singing Good Kisser loudly, and for a minute or two, there, it was just about perfect.