I know I’m not blogging enough when I find myself drafting blog entries in my head as I go about my day. And when I have the time and mental energy to be doing THAT, I know I’m doing well!

I graduated from Elon exactly one month ago – so hard to believe. Is this how fast time is going to fly by from now on? I was on a walk around Duke’s silent, humid, cricket-chirping campus last night with Jesse and I said, “Wow, we have done SO much in one month.” I’ve been across state borders and across the ocean, have moved out of my apartment and into a storage unit, have spent some really great quality time with friends and family that I love, and have started a summer job. Whew! I’m fired up and happy.

The best thing about being in one place now, at least for a little while, is that I’m relaxed and mentally free as a bird. I wrote this in a recent post: it’s not that I’m not intellectually engaged these days, I just am in a different way than I was this past semester at Elon. I love having time to daydream, listen to NPR in the mornings, and fall asleep reading for pleasure. (Right now it’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.)

Let me back up a little and catch up those of you readers who follow my blog to hear about my travels and not necessarily my periodic rants of curiosity (though those are coming, I promise!) Jesse and I had a wonderful ten days in Stuttgart, staying with my parents, walking Saavik & Kobe, biking and hiking in the Alps, going to the Army Ball, and hanging out downtown.

Germany was exactly what we needed. And somehow, leaving my parents and pups felt different this time – maybe because I’ve graduated and am really starting the next new chapter. It was harder to say goodbye, but I know I’ll be seeing them again soon – somehow, we always find a way to make it happen :)

All too soon, it was back to North Carolina and onto my first (short-term) job!  I’m actually writing this from a “top secret” common room (HP fans: think one of those towers in Hogwarts) where I am surrounded by a number of high school students who are enjoying ice cream floats and playing Apples to Apples. I’m working at Duke University for the summer, as a staff member for the prestigious Duke TIP Institutes, and I’m loooving my job. The students are super talented, smarter than me…and creative enough to know how to bend rules. I really like living at Duke, though it was strange to move out of my college apartment and into a dorm for the summer! But at least I still get my own room. I’m taking advantage of Duke’s gym and outdoor pool, as well as all the dining facilities – we staff members, along with getting paid well, have $30 a day to spend on food! And that means, much to my gleeful surprise, that coffee in the real world (if I can call this first job that!) is still in fact free – or at least on Duke’s dime.

And, while I have gone to school in North Carolina for the past four years, this is the first Carolina summer I’ve experienced… and it’s really not that bad! I guess after being in Ghana I’ve become very tolerant to really hot weather – so the sun and the high 90’s ain’t no thang!

So, I’m in one place until the end of July – and I love that that place is in lovely NC. I’m truly enjoying my present, and still putting things in motion for this fall and next year. It’s all about striking the balance, no? :)

New “outloud” wonderings coming your way in my next few posts!

Finally, a special shout-out to Katrina, who is at this moment sleeping in southern Namibia. Check out her blog – http://myafricandays.wordpress.com/. Miss you, little sis!


3 thoughts on “a summer night in Duke’s best hideout.

  1. So jealous of all your travels and Duke is amazing! beat the summer heat by grabbing an ice pop from Locopops. there’s one in chapel Hill. Oh how I miss it.

  2. Hi Natalie, missed you while you were in Stuttgart but I realize you were there for such a short time. You blogs are always so beautifully descriptive and expressive of your love of life!! You are an inspiring being! Have a wonderful time and experience at Duke!! Wow!!!

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