The Company of Books

Now that J-term is over, I spent a couple of days at school last weekend, and then headed home on Monday for an extended J-term break.  My sister and I both finished our classes early, so we are enjoying a full week at home, sitting outside in the beautiful Charleston weather and catching up on everything that seems to get neglected while at college.  First on my list: Reading.

Some of my J-term Break reading that I have been enjoying.

There is a permanent pile of books sitting on my shelf that I am dying to read or re-read (usually for the past few years), but during the semester there are always textbooks and novels to read, essays to write, projects to plan, laundry accumulating, and so many tasks that accumulate.  But in those precious days of vacation between semesters, I have hours to pick up and enjoy these dear friends that have been neglected for too long.  What can be better than a few hours sprawled out on your bed, lost in a novel?  Or savoring an anthology of your favorite poet, discovering new meanings in your old favorites?  And even delving more frequently into The Book – isn’t it comforting to be able to sit down and get a good message out of a Bible reading and study?  Ah, c’est la vie.

Another thing that I have discovered to be quite enjoyable, despite my lack of great enthusiasm about technology, is following a couple of blogs.  Although I am far from a faithful reader to any, I have a few bookmarked on my computer that are written by friends, and I enjoy catching up on then once in a while.  For example, one is a first year teacher, like my older sister, so it is fun to compare their experiences.  Another is a recently graduated friend who is very artistic and musical, so I like to see her projects and get some good suggestions for new music.  Also, as various acquaintances at Erskine go abroad, I find it especially exciting to follow their adventures in England, Spain, France, or elsewhere – especially after having such a great experience abroad, myself.

Finally, there is a wealth of news and information to read on the internet.  Catching up on current events – something I do not leave myself much time for at school – and reading articles is a great use of a few spare minutes.  My dad often sends me interesting articles to read on npr.org, my sister does the same with cnn.com, and I have a few of my own sites that I frequent, one of my favorites being earthsky.org (I always had a curiosity for science, especially astronomy).

Just a few days left!  Imagine all the quality time I can fill reading in those many, free hours

Playing Tourist in My Hometown

Once in a while I get the fun experience of bringing a friend from Erskine home with me for a break.  This is always enjoyable for the friend because first of all, I am from Charleston so there are many great places to visit, and second because I have an entertaining family!  Let’s just say that we all have a quirky sense of humor, and there are few dull moments in the Dumouchel household – especially when we are all together.

TJ with the pineapple fountain in Waterfront Park, downtown Charleston.

But since our friend TJ had never been to Charleston before, my sister Christine and I decided that we needed to show him what there is to be seen.  So, beginning with probably the most famous part of the area, on the first day we headed downtown to the Holy City.  We ate our picnic lunch in Waterfront Park, saw dolphins in the harbor, walked down East Bay Street in the famous Rainbow Row section, perused the historical Battery, shopped the newly-renovated market, stopped in a few centuries-old cemeteries, and made sure that we hit all of the necessary landmarks that a day in the city should include.

Christine and TJ swinging on the pier at Waterfront Park, downtown Charleston.

The next day, after church in the morning and our mid-day dinner, we headed back downtown to the Dock Street Theatre to see the matinee of Dracula.  We were thoroughly entertained by the eerie story and the talented actors who very effectively conveyed the horror of the legend.

Christine actually went all the way in the cold water!

On Monday, our last stop for the break was a trip to the beach.  We headed down mid-morning to Isle of Palms, and spent about half of the day.  Although the water was too cold for TJ and me, Christine actually got all the way in the water for a few minutes!  I spent much of the time working on homework, but reading is just so pleasant on the beach that it did not feel as much like work; it also reminded me of afternoons in the fall on the beach in Spain.

Besides these adventures to give TJ a taste of Charleston, we enjoyed delicious home-cooked dinners with my family, talking and joking, movies in the evening, and time to be home together.  My older sister’s fiancé also joined us for the weekend, so it was a pretty full house!  Although breaks always seem to be too short, no matter how much work I have to do at home or still have to do when I return, the time with family (and, in this case, friends) always helps me feel refreshed and ready to tackle more of the work and busyness of school.