life collision, take two.

If you happened to be near the State Capitol around 7.30 on Saturday night, you may have seen two crazy people doing some west coast swing on the building in the rain.  That would be me.  No surprise there.  The other person, however, was a crazy coincidence: my friend Tyler whose home town is Austin, Texas, and who graduated from St Andrews in June.  Tyler and I met at a swing dance event in February and danced together several times over the course of the spring semester.

This photo of Tyler and me (courtesy of the wonderfully talented Henry of ©Henry Legg Photography) was taken at the tea dance in late April.

This photo of Tyler and me (courtesy of the wonderfully talented Henry of ©Henry Legg Photography) was taken at the tea dance in late April.

Despite it being an awful distraction, social networking is good fora fair few things: one of those things is happening upon a friend’s Facebook status which says that he will be in South Carolina for a week.  A friend who lives in Texas and whom I met while dancing in Scotland.  Some messages and phone calls back and forth, and a fair bit of looking up directions, and we set plans to meet up over the weekend.  I drove from Erskine down to Columbia on Saturday afternoon and met Tyler at his uncle’s flat downtown.  There happened to be a music festival going on and even though it wasn’t really our type of music, we still walked about and enjoyed it.  We also found a wee coffee shop that reminded me a bit of my favourite place to get coffee in St Andrews.  Along our walk, we came upon this makeshift plywood wall surrounding a work site.  The wall had been painted with chalkboard paint and there were cups of chalk along it.  Painted on it were the words “Before I die, I want to…” and hundreds of people had written their wishes and dreams along the wall.  We spent a good few minutes looking at it and I added my own to some empty space at the bottom.  What a lovely idea! I really wish I had gotten a picture.

We had a great afternoon ambling around downtown Columbia, eating dinner, and dancing in the rain.  We unfortunately had to stop because it was getting slippery and falling a couple of stories off of a building would kind of ruin the reunion.  Later we went to a jazz club and listened to great music all night, danced some, and talked for hours.  Second crazy coincidence of this story: there was a gentleman in a kilt there.  I kid you not.  A true kilt.  I was perhaps a bit too excited.

All smiles after taking a dance break on the state capitol building.

All smiles after taking a dance break on the state capitol building.

Tyler’s uncle was kind enough to let me stay the night at his flat, which I was so grateful for because driving home that late would not have been very much fun.  I am so glad that I had the chance to see a SECOND friend from across the Pond since I’ve returned to the States.  I will also never complain about the coincidence that both of them are absolutely amazing dancers  a ton of fun to be around,  the way friends should be.  It was also fun to attempt a bit of west coast swing again, which is something outside of my normal repertoire.

Despite getting a wee bit behind on homework, my weekend was well worth it.  It is a blessing to have friends around the country and around the world, and the ability to see them!  I love seeing God play in people’s lives: seeming coincidences end up being moments that you will remember for the rest of your life.

I’m off to work on some of that homework now…
Until next time, may God bless and keep you!

missing in action.

Happy…May Day?!?!

Time flies when you’re having fun; there’s no other way I can describe the past month! Several of my friends are on the hall committee, and consequently I’ve been involved in helping with some hall events recently.  I also spent the first three weeks of April rehearsing for a performance with the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, which was an amazing experience.  I met dozens of fun, interesting, and incredibly talented people and got to formally sing for the first time this semester.  Though it was a bit hectic learning over a dozen songs in about 2.5 weeks, every moment was worth it.

The performance itself went so well–I was struck several times on- and off-stage by the energy and joy radiating from everyone in the cast.  I challenged myself musically, as I had previously sung very little G & S.  In addition to being a member of the chorus, I was Marta in “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music, Mona (“Lipschitz”) in “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago, and Edith in “Climbing Over Rocky Mountain” from Pirates of Penzance.  My biggest challenge, though, was getting ill a couple of days before dress rehearsal.  I woke up the morning of the performance with a cough and barely any voice; I proceeded to spend the entire day drinking tea, eating spoonfuls of honey, and trying not to talk.  It turned out so, well, though, and the audience was incredibly receptive and engaged.  Owl Eyes, the student magazine of St Andrews, published some photos here: http://www.owleyesmagazine.com/gallery/night-musicals.

A few days after the performance, I had a paper due for my Scottish Music module.  The day it was due was one of those gorgeous Scottish summer days that make all of the cold, rainy ones entirely worth it.  Unfortunately, I was stuck inside sick and trying to write a paper.  My academic dad decided that I needed a break from my essay, so he came over after dinner and brought Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and some excellent music.  We went outside and swing danced barefoot in the grass for about an hour, taking a break to enjoy some ice cream.  It was by far the best study break I’ve ever had!

I’m not sure that I’ve explained academic families yet, so let me do so now.  Academic families are a St Andrews tradition; upperclassmen (some starting in 2nd year, others in 3rd or 4th) “adopt” incoming freshers during the first weeks of classes.  JSAs and JYAs (Junior Semester or Year Abroads, aka study abroad students) often get adopted as well.  Some people adopt singly, others choose to adopt with a friend of the opposite sex like my “parents” did.  My mum is my English friend, Laura, who is going into her 2nd year as the president of Swing Dance Society.  She’s so wonderful!  My dad, as I mentioned above, is my Belgian friend, Lawrence, who is treasurer, and now vice president, of Swing Dance Society.  He’s pretty great, too.  I met both of them through dancing, and most of the time when I see them that’s what we’re doing!

Lawrence and Laura, my academic parents, swing dancing outside of the Library

Lawrence and Laura, my academic parents, swing dancing outside of the Library

another angle; we were selling tickets for our '600 Minutes of Swing' Speakeasy.

another angle; we were selling tickets for our ‘600 Minutes of Swing’ Speakeasy.

Another highlight of April: I cooked, by myself, for the first time!  Though I’ve done a good amount of baking in my life, I never did much cooking before I came to St. Andrews.  But we have to fend for ourselves every Saturday and Sunday evening for dinner, so we do a lot of cooking in the hall together.  In the middle of a paper for psychology, I decided that my break would be to challenge myself and cook solo.  A friend picked up some groceries for me while in town and I made myself some chicken fajitas.  I was so surprised–they were delicious!! I wish I had access to more spices here, but I thoroughly enjoyed it (as did a few friends: I made way too much for just myself!).

My first time ever cooking by myself was a success!

My first time ever cooking by myself was a success!

I’m off to go meet with a professor, but I have so many more stories to tell you (like dancing for 10 hours straight)! And don’t worry, I promise I have not forgotten about sharing photos and stories from my Easter holiday travels.  I will write soon; it’s week 1 of revision and I know I will want study breaks!

Athenian Formal

I know the whole Disney princess thing is cliche, but I really did feel like Cinderella the weekend of the Athenian formal.

I went from this:

cinderella

to this:

cinderella2

all because of my wonderful fairy godmother for the night: Hannah Collins.

I was locked up in my dorm room, not because of my evil stepmother and stepsisters, but because of homework and the fact that I didn’t like anything in my closet. So to the rescue, comes my wonderful soul sista (we sing together…think Mariah and Whitney. haha), Hannah Collins, to help me pick out an outfit. She searched through my closet and said, “Seriously Schadell, do you not own anything of color?” Sadly, most of my closet is black, white, and gray. ha. She waved her magic wand and this fabulous blue strapless dress appeared…Ok, so more like she kept looking through  my closet until she discovered the dress on my roommate’s side of the closet. lol. She proceeded to fix up my hair and get me all coordinated with accessories and then I was off to the ball in a horse driven carriage…Ok, so more like I was off to a formal at this beautiful old house in a 15 passenger van.

The point is I had a great time getting ready and a great time at the formal as well. Dancing the night away with friends was a great way to stop thinking about school and just focus on having some fun with friends.

Athenian Formal

Athenian Formal