My niece just started her freshman year of college. On Saturday I visited her, took her to Wal-mart and out to dinner, and basically just hung out with her. It was a good time, and since she's attending college about 40 minutes away from my house, it's an experience that I'll repeat a few times a month.
Seeing her dorm room was an eye-opening experience. So tiny! It's hard to believe that my dorm room wasn't much bigger than hers. Back then it had seemed huge because it was something of mine that didn't belong to my parents. It represented freedom and Independence and potential. I laughed and cried and learned how to make new friends in that room. I stayed up late and stressed about classes and worried about failing and watched the walls spin from drinking too much free beer. Watching my niece go through that experience now is exciting.
L. is on the 8th floor, and so she's got a pretty kick-ass view. As soon as I saw the expanse of treetops I was back in St. Louis, watching the first snowfall of my freshman year. I could smell the freshness of the snow, see the ice form on the inside of the window, and hear a few floormates knock on the door, saying we should play outside. Myself and three others--people whom I haven't talked to in fifteen years--played in the falling snow at 2 a.m. We ran around the quad and made snow angels and had a snowball fight and built a snowman. We played so long that once I got inside, my body stayed cold for hours afterward. I smile when I remember hanging my wet clothes all around my half of the room, hoping my coat and glove would dry before class on Monday.