Home(stead) and Away

I’m being harassed by several people in my life to post here more often… and, considering I’m neglecting some things, and haven’t written here in over a month, they’re probably right.

I have things planned for this blog, too. I was going to have all sorts of fun with posts during the semester, but then life slapped some sense into me. And now it’s winter break and I’m trying to take advantage of the last few weeks I’m going to be in this country until (probably. Hopefully?) August.

Sigh. It’ll happen eventually!

Now, to catch up. The weekend before Thanksgiving (geez, was it really that long ago?) I volunteered at Homestead Miami Speedway, at the NASCAR Nationwide Series. It was the final event of the semester for the field experience program and I was low on hours, so I signed up for a full day that Saturday.

Brave? Absolutely. Stupid? Perhaps. But you know me, always working! Or something.

I got there at around 10 or 10:30 in the morning, and actually had to get accreditations. It was really cool! We all had official lanyards that we had to wear around the track all day and gave us special access. I mean, the only places I went were the photo bubble and the media center, but still. I was official.

The first shift that morning had started at some ungodly hour (6:30, I think), so I headed up to our headquarters in the media center to meet up with Dr. Scott and get my assignment. It turned out that a person that I’m really not a fan of was the event manager for the day. Basically, we’d had a group assignment together a year or so ago, and he slacked off; I did the whole thing and got a 98 for our group. And now I found myself having to take direction from this clown?

It ended up being fine. I am, of course, absolutely incapable of being outright rude to anyone, so I bit the bullet and did what he said. He’s not actually incompetent, he just made that one semester a living hell. Ya know. No big deal. After all, they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

But anyway, my assignment was the “photo bubble.” Another girl took me over there, where I found out that “photo bubble” meant the photographer headquarters that was sectioned off with glass, forming a sort of bubble comprised of the majority of the room. My job would be to sign in the photographers as they came, and hand out numbered vests.

Cool and all, but there were a minimum of four of us at that desk at all times, and we had maybe one photographer come to us every fifteen minutes. Needless to say, the highlight of my morning was stocking the fridge in there with Gatorade.

Oh, and I also drank like three of them. Volunteering’s gotta have some perks, right? Ours was free Gatorade. Yay sponsorship!

Luckily, at around 3:00 I got moved out of the photo bubble and into the media center. I was stationed with another girl at the welcome desk to answer questions. It wasn’t a particularly riveting job, but it was quieter and closer to both the food and the bathroom (priorities, people). We got to see some drivers pass through on their way to press conferences, and popped outside to watch the beginning of the race. Man, was it LOUD. Really cool, though.

I was only there for a few hours until I was moved again, upstairs into the actual media center. There was more to do up there, so I was definitely excited for the change in scenery! Papers would get faxed in, and they had to be copied and handed out to the room full of reporters working on their stories. Every now and then I’d be handed a stack of papers – the current leaderboard, or what-have-you – and walk up and down the aisles of tables and add them to the growing stacks of literature next to each station.

Things really picked up when the race ended, and it got exciting. The results were coming in and had to be handed out almost faster than we could handle, so it involved very little down time and a lot of really fast walking. By now it was around 9 pm; after having had little, if not nothing, to do all day, I was thrilled. What I was doing was more public relations than journalism, but either way, it was really cool to be in the media center and just sort of feel that vibe.

Yes, I’m a nerd that likes what she does.

I ended up getting to leave earlier than my scheduled 11 pm departure time. Everything was wrapped up and we weren’t really needed anymore. My ride had bailed an hour or so earlier because he was feeling sick, so I hitched a ride with the girl I was at the welcome desk with. By the time I got back to my dorm, it was about a twelve-hour day. I’m tired just reminiscing about it.

I really hope it doesn’t just sound like I’m whining. I’d love long days if I was busy the whole time, ya know? These things might look really good on my resume, but I’m actually trying to get some experience out of them too. And stocking Gatorade really isn’t on my list of life goals.

Does this mean I dream too big?

Alas. It’s a curse.

…But really, is it weird that I want to be worked harder?


Hey, I’m going to London on Wednesday! And I’m starting to freak out a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited beyond belief, but I’m really nervous for the first few days. Actually, just the first day, really. I’m landing at 10:30-ish am, so I’ll be jetlagged, exhausted, overwhelmed, and most likely PMSing. I’ll have to move into my new room by myself, attempt to make friends, and go shopping for linens and dishes and food in a city I’ve lived in for a grand total of never.

So yeah. Freaking.

But I know I’ll be fine. I went to camp by myself and was fine. I did Endurance by myself and was fine. I went to college by myself and was fine. Okay, apparently I do a lot of things by myself. Never anything on a different continent, but hell, if I could survive reality television, study abroad is gonna be a piece of cake.

It’s also a comfort that this stage of panic happens to me before all important and significant life events. Even Endurance, which I wanted with a burning desire for years; the night before, I had moments of sheer terror where all I could think was OMG NO I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS. I CAN’T.

But I know myself, and it’s only because change scares me. I like routine and comfort, so newness is kind of terrifying. I know that my life is going to change, but I like the way it is now, so even if it’s going to get better, I’m nervous about it.

Just get me through the first week and I’ll be golden. :)

And besides, the Universe sent me this message:

Eggnog, anyone?

I’ll see you all on the other side of the new year, and from the other side of the Atlantic!