As soon as Bryn Mawr permanently closed for the semester, I had a feeling that my summer plans– the BMC Arabic immersion trip to Jordan followed by backpacking around the Mediterranean– probably weren’t going to happen. It was disappointing, but I am nothing if not good at finding interesting things to do. Surely, I thought, the worst of the pandemic will be over by June, and in a fit of optimism I sent out several job applications.
I actually got a few offers: a work-stay on a sustainable farm on a remote island in Maine, and a job as a deckhand on a schooner. They both sound like a dream, but the end of the semester was drawing closer, and the pandemic wasn’t getting better.
Here’s the thing: I’ve never been hesitant to travel before. When trying to make a trip happen, my methods are best described as “any means necessary”. Long hours of work, militant frugality, cramped buses, and extended layovers are all completely worth it in my eyes as long as it gets me somewhere new. So, when my gut started telling me that I should probably stay put for the summer even though I could travel halfway across the country and do something exciting, it triggered a mild identity crisis.
I got over it, though, and I’m starting to get comfortable with the idea of spending the next three and a half months at home. This is by far the longest amount of time I’ll have spent in Houston since I left three years ago, and as a result my room was largely the same as it was in high school. I’ve been slowly redecorating, and I think my next goal will be to use up my vast collection of art supplies, which I’ve barely touched since I started my gap year.
Specifically, I’m looking forward to tackling my fabric collection. The day after I finished finals, I dug out every piece of fabric I own. It was more than I thought– the results of 10 years worth of unfinished (or unstarted) projects, remnants that were just a little too big to throw away, and a bin full of donated wool suiting that I’ve been too afraid to touch.
It took four hours to sort through. I burned a swatch from every piece to check the fiber content (you can tell what it’s made of by how it burns), made labels with the fiber type and size of the piece, and tucked them into shallow cardboard boxes so I could see all the patterns.
Unfortunately, that was the easy part. Now I have to figure out what to do with all of it– and most of it isn’t good for face masks. Maybe I’ll open up sewing commissions, or make everyone I know a tweed vest.
In addition to sewing and art, I hope to study at least a little Arabic, round out my writing portfolio, and do some micro internships this summer. I tend to keep myself unbelievably busy with work, or school, or both, and I find myself welcoming the opportunity to take a step back and put time into my longer-term projects and goals. Luckily, I have stable wifi, a quiet house, and skills that lend themselves to remote work. Unluckily, Texas is about 100 degrees for most of the summer. Even though I’ve figured things out, I will deeply miss the outdoors.