Arts Fest

Or, ‘a walking tour of the best school ever.’

(I can’t help it, I’m a bit biased.)

Let’s go chronologically, shall we?

A friendly face greeted me when I opened up the cabinet to get a mug for my coffee!  Yet another surprise Adam had waiting for us.

Adam and I went for a trail run together once he was up and going.  We ran right out his back door and onto the trail.

I’d been on that trail before, but never to run.  Ninety-one percent humidity today = lots of sweat!

We swung into the visitor’s center (located next to the stadium) to pick up Adam’s race packet and for me to register for the 1oK tomorrow.  Yay for being spontaneous and getting some exercise at the same time. I love races!

While there, we took some photos of (and with) JoePa’s statue.  In light of recent events, I felt like we couldn’t get there fast enough to snap another photo should the unthinkable happen.  Thankfully, (at least for now) the statue is safe.

We lunched at the Penn State Sub Shop, located just off campus on Beaver Avenue.  It’s one of those rinky-dink places with limited seating and its walls are covered in photos from the 70s, 80s and 90s in which the subjects are all displaying sub shop banners.

We walked around the booths and we actually ended up buying something.  Andrew loves photography, and with the new house needing some more ‘stuff,’ we chose four different prints of the campus at different times of the year.  Can’t wait to have them framed and up together in some sort of grouping.

Arts Fest is both on and off campus, and features all sorts of art and street vendors.  Allen Street had a giant structure in which water systematically filled and then was dumped out of buckets hanging above.

After we made the rounds of the art booths off campus and then made some purchases at stores along College Ave (the obligatory Family Clothesline purchase, a neat PSU football field platter to match the one Abigail gave me for Christmas, and a vintage Buffalo Bills t-shirt from People’s Nation, similar to Homage in Columbus, OH), we made our way back onto campus as we meandered toward the car.

We passed Simmons Hall, where Andrew spent three years and I spent two.

Look!  Here’s Andrew in front of his window (which, for awhile anyway, he used as a door for the convenience factor).

We wandered through the HUB (student union building) as a shortcut to get to Adam’s staff parking lot.  Many a lunch was eaten in this building, mostly at Panda Express.  Since leaving college, Starbucks has invaded the campus as they bought what was there before–Seattle’s Best.

We passed the Armsby Building, which is where I took my Advanced Creative Writing class.

Our destination: the creamery!  When we were students, the creamery (at least the retail part of it) was housed in a small building on the north end of campus.  It’s now been moved into a giant, brand-new building on the same road.

I have to admit, while the new building is beautiful and the blue-and-white umbrellas and tables outside are nice, it just doesn’t feel the same.  Granted, whenever I go back to campus now it’s typically an event weekend, which means there is a huge line at the creamery and you basically file in and out as fast and as efficiently as you can.  There are ton of people working behind the counter; yelling peoples’ orders and scooping ice cream as fast as their fingers can.

All the cones and cups come in one size; and yes, I ate every last bit of it!  I chose Alumni Swirl: vanilla with swiss mocha chocolate crunchies and a blueberry swirl.  Yum.  And I was genuinely hungry after four hours of trekking all over downtown and campus.

We walked back toward downtown and passed one of the buildings they built while we were students.  I tell you what–each time Andrew and I come back there are buildings and green spaces popping up all over the place.  One the one hand, it’s nice that the campus is growing well and looks beautiful, but the more it changes, the less I recognize it.

Here’s Thomas Building, which houses the largest classroom on campus–it seats a whopping 1,000 students!  I actually had a class in that room–100 Thomas–my first semester on campus: LARCH 60–the History of Landscape Architecture.  It’s hugely popular.

Here’s a view of the Shortlidge Mall, which used to just be Shortlidge Road.

Not all of the buildings on campus are beautiful and old; this one is very much in the 50’s style of architecture.

And here’s the front of the HUB:

Here’s one of the prettiest areas of campus, the mall leading up to the library:

We went to Golden Wok for dinner, a favorite of Andrew’s from college.

Here’s Andrew’s fortune:

After reading it, he quickly replied: “I already have–I married her.”  Awww.  He must want something.

After dinner we walked back up through the engineering quad and discovered that Penn State now is home to a bunch of ducks in a small pond near the alumni center.  They were incredibly friendly, but that’s to be expected; the squirrels here are all but domesticated.  I mean, think about it?  There are like 40,000 students walking around for nine months of the year; they couldn’t avoid them if they tried.

And our last surprise of the evening?  The fact that we barely recognized the Peace Garden, which was being put in while we were students.  See those trees?  They were just saplings when we were here!  Look how they dwarf Andrew and provide all that shade–I remember sitting and reading here in the sun before the trees were tall.

We walked our little legs off today, and I’ll looking forward to some rest!  Adam and I have 6.2 miles to run in the morning, followed by lunch at the Waffle Shop!

school daze

Let’s see…  I was at my future school yesterday, and I’m at my alma mater today!

I rode down to State College with Abigail and Andrew followed us.  I love seeing the stadium as we drive in.

And you’ll never guess what was waiting for us when we drove up…

…Adam displaying a blanket emblazoned with Andrew’s photo!  If anyone is more of a prankster than Alex (Andrew’s longtime friend from high school and best man at our wedding), it’s his older brother, Adam (with whom we’re staying).  Here’s a close-up:

And there was one on the bed, too.  (I realize everyone else reading this will think it’s weird and creepy; you’ve just got to know the Nye family to realize this is a sign of affection.  I think.)

After getting quite a laugh, we headed to campus where we caught glimpses of peoples’ wares as they buttoned-up their booths until tomorrow.

However, College Ave. was still hoppin’!

We walked past Andrew’s old stompin’ grounds, the honors college.  He’s such a smartie pants.

We made my dream come true–dinner at Baby’s.  It’s a little 50’s diner I’ve always loved since being a student.  We feared there would be a huge line, but since it was later on a Friday night, we sneaked in and got a table right away.

Andrew and Adam:

My usual: a peanut butter milkshake (just like the ones Christian and I would get)…

…and a chicken wimpy basket!  Two tiny chicken burgers with pickles and fries, and a side of mayo for dipping (because THAT’S healthy).

Everything tasted just like I remembered and I was blissfully happy.  (Small) victories of the night: not eating all my fries, getting a kids’ italian ice at Rita’s (instead of a custard-filled gelati, of course–they have one in State College now and we needed some palette cleaners) and talking the guys into skipping the beer tonight in favor of going home.  I didn’t have any more room!

I think Adam and I might run in the morning–I’ve been dreaming about running my old routes around campus–and I’m already excited for tomorrow.

back to school

Or, “where in the world is my summer going?!”

Seriously!  I just spent ALL DAY yesterday on campus for orientation… I’m not ready for school to start again!  Excited, but not ready.  (And what about the gazillion things I still need to do before it starts in the fall… Like MOVING?)

On the up side, the orientation I thought was totally unnecessary (well, it kinda was–for me, at least–since I’m completely scheduled for fall and totally on top of things.  what else is new?) actually had some benefits:  got my ID and bus pass, met some of the military and veterans’ affairs reps (who may come in handy in the future) and got more familiar with the campus.

The biggest thing I got accomplished yesterday: taking care of some of my “Intellectual Foundations” transfer classes.  Basically, despite taking a whole gamut of gen ed’s at Penn State, Buff State’s IF requirements are a little different, so they are wanting me to take additional classes to fulfill them.  Like, for example, WRITING.  They wanted me to take THREE ADDITIONAL WRITING CLASSES.  Like, BASIC WRITING.  I almost lost it when I saw that.

So, I’ve called around and filled out some papers and think I’ll be able to get most of the classes taken care of, either using classes I took at Penn State (some don’t transfer in as exact matches to classes at BSC, so Admissions doesn’t code them correctly…) or by filing a petition to get a requirement waived, which I was actually advised to do by two different professors.

In a nutshell, I walked ALL OVER CAMPUS (in my new Clarks, no less, which performed beautifully) to myriad different departments (praise God everyone was actually IN their offices!) getting people to sign my forms.  I got about half of the classes checked off yesterday, or at least left the papers with the appropriate office, and have a plan of action for the others.  My goal is to not have to take any non-major requirement classes, but if I absolutely have to take one or two, oh well.  I mean, they want me to take LIB 100–it teaches you how to do research and use the library!  Come on, folks!

Wish me luck with the classes–everyone I’ve talked to has intimated that it will be next to impossible to get everything checked-off, although I feel like I had a good response from everyone yesterday.  I do think it’s sad that BSC seems to have a difficult reputation for something like that.  I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to get some community college credits to transfer into Harvard or something!

At least the campus was small (to me, at least)…  The ladies at Admissions were amazed I made it to so many departments in so little time!  Guess I got a lot of practice trekking all over Penn State…

And speaking of Penn State–I’ll be there for dinner tonight! CAN. NOT. WAIT.