June 20, 2012

RTW: Post-Grad Summer

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic. In celebration of Kody Keplinger's just released A Midsummer's Nightmare, this week's topic is:


If there any children nearby, or if you are coulrophobic, I suggest you leave the room. Hold onto your hats, folks, because this is how I spent my summer after high school graduation (1996 the tail end of the Grunge Era when people started showering again. Yay!):

(Left: Me at 17 yrs.) Clowning around whilst scaring the trousers off wee Scottish bairns.

In actual fact, I didn't even attend my high school graduation—I ditched out right after exams and before all the pomp and circumstance and whatnot. For several months I had been planning on going to Scotland with a group called Royal Servants International, a teen Christian mission group based in the United States. Plus, I'd switched schools for my final semester of high school and really didn't know any of my fellow graduands. So before the eraser shavings hit the exam room floor, I was packed up and heading to Lewistown, IL for what they called 'Boot Camp'...and they weren't kidding.

After all the fun in Illinois, we ended up in Dalkeith, Scotland just outside of Edinburgh for the summer. We worked out of Dalkeith Baptist Church and hit the streets with clowns, singers, mimes (so much worse than clowns), puppeteers, and a drama group. It was pretty darn fun, and regardless of what people believe about God, I know we made a lot of people smile (or curl up in the fetal position, depending on their degree of fright over clowns, balloon animals, and mimey folk).

What about you? How did you spend your summer after grad?

36 comments:

  1. You were a clown! Definitely a unique story!

    I love the new title design of your blog. And I just finished In Honor, which I see you're reading. I loved it -- a perfect summer read.

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    1. The worst part about it is that I'm not exactly a fan of clowns...or ventriloquist dummies. Seriously, who ever got the idea in their head that kids like clowns??

      Re: the new blog look—I decided it was time for something cleaner and fresher looking. I'm much happier with it now. :)

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  2. Um....that sounds like an AWESOME post-grad. My high school post-grad was nothing special - I went to uni orientation and then spent the summer freaking out that I was a high school graduate. LOL.

    Now that I am at the summer post-grad of uni/college, I am freaking out that I have no job and that I'm never going to get one and I'm never going to get married, etc. etc. Stupid trival things in comparsion to real life... I AM going to Europe for my post-university/college graduation trip in August and I am sooo excited. (I'm going solo!) People tell me I'll have no problem because I went *all the way* to Australia by myself but what they don't get is how terrified I am to go abroad solo to Europe (bc of the pick pocketers.....there were like *none* in Australia). :))

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    1. It was mostly a great summer, but there were definitely times when I was a little homesick, sick of the people I was with, and sick of smiling (clowns do that a lot). I missed the summer camp I normally worked at a lot too. All in all, it was a great experience, though, and to this day Scotland is probably my favourite country (I did a European mission trip the summer before that took me to several countries in Europe).

      Going solo to Europe is very brave, Rachel! I think you'll have a great time, but watch out for those pickpocketers! :) Prague was especially bad for that.

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  3. ... and thus began a life-long love of Scotland! :D It looks like you had a really good time.

    As I explained on my blog, we didn't have a high school graduation in the UK. But there was a university graduation... which I skipped. I had my picture taken in the cap and gown, and my real diploma would be sent in the mail, so it was all really just pomp and show. My parents came up for it, but in the end we decided to just take the day to wander around Hull and hang out together. :)

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    1. You are right about that—I'll always love Scotland, and it all started with this trip. I have to say, I enjoyed it SO much more this time around. It was great being there with the hubby, and it was almost like seeing it for the first time. We got to choose where we went, and we weren't on a short leash like I was back in '96. So, so much better. :) Also, that's pretty cool about your Hull, Quebec story. What a bizarre thing that you've actually been there!

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  4. Oh my gosh. I think yours is by far the most unique story. Craziness. And it sounds like tons of fun!

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    1. Unique? Perhaps. Weird? Most definitely. :) It was a pretty fun summer, but I really enjoyed Scotland more this past May. So much better seeing it as an adult. :)

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  5. Sounds like fun! Except the clowns haha. Sorry, I have a phobia of clowns. XD My university didn't do much celebration. They had a Glee tribute band and a bbq but my family and Pete's family all went to Toby's Carvery and had a roast dinner meal there. Yum! And I remember lots of wine. Pete's mum kept filling my glass up with wine. I was quite tipsy towards the end. :D

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    1. You know the crazy thing? I'm afraid of clowns too. Haha! Although, there's something else even creepier that tops my list—ventriloquist dummies. Seriously, who in their right mind would ever think they were entertaining?? Totally bonkers.

      As for university grad→ I went by myself and then just went home afterwards. Zero celebration involved. I was a bit bummed, but in the broad scheme of things it really didn't matter. I got the day off of work from my lousy bank job, so that's a plus. :) You're family dinner sounds so much more fun and memorable!

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  6. I did attend the ceremony, but never again returned home. I moved out that very day, was engaged a month later, and married the following summer. So, that summer I signed up for culinary school and started planning a wedding. In case you were wondering, we just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary :)

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    1. Wow, congrats on the 11 years! Sounds like things happened bang, bang, bang after high school. That's pretty cool. :)

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  7. Coincidently I almost studied in Scotland! Alas, because of my crazy graduation summer I didn't.

    But your summer looks like so much fun! Though I am wondering what exactly the 'boot camp' consisted of? Learning how to make balloon animals of how to scare little children? I really hope the former! & you are right about your last statement, I am one of those people that does not prescribe to any religion but I can appreciate anyone who brings joy to others - as it seems you guys certainly did!

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    1. Boot camp was intended to break down walls between potentially judge-y and clique-y teens. That meant sleeping in groups in tents (both summers in the path of tornadoes as it turns out), team-building exercises at the break of dawn, and a super rigid schedule among other things. It was exhausting, but really worked. :)

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  8. Haha, what a fun way to spend a summer! I spent mine interning at a creative writing non-profit here in town and coming up with elaborate plans for decorating my dorm room. :)

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    1. I like the sounds of your summer! I still remember my first college dorm room. I think the decor involved Christmas lights and empty Coca-Cola cups from the dorm lounge (all lined up perfectly like a border at the top of the wall). There were also tons of pics of friends, camp memories, and what have you. :)

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  9. My summer after high school took an unexpected turn. The plan was to sit around all day playing video games really. But then one lazy afternoon, I found myself leafing through the pages of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. That's how I fell in love with reading, and eventually writing too. Now, video games pretty much take a backseat when there's a good book to be read. Funny how that one summer pretty much defined who I am today. You seemed to have had waay more fun than I did, at least judging by that picture. Thanks for sharing it. :)

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    1. Isn't it awesome how books like Harry Potter got so many people reading and even loving books? So great! Video games are fun, but reading is so much better. (I'm not sure the hubby would agree even though he's a reader too). :)

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  10. That sounds like a crazy, fun summer! Much better than my summer meant brewing coffee!

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    1. I've spent many a summer coffee-slinging, so I hear ya! It's fun in theory, but gets old really quick. Especially when you come home reeking like coffee every day. You'd think that would be a good smell, but it kind of isn't. Starbucks was by far the worst for that. I smelled like I bathed in Sumatra by the end of every shift lol! :P

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  11. Ooo, new design. I like it!
    Running around dressed as a clown? Making people laugh? I bet you laughed a lot too and had a great time! Great story!

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    1. Thanks! I felt like I need a less cluttered, fresher look, and it's making me very happy. :)

      Despite not loving clowns, I actually did have a great summer. :)

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  12. Wow, not everyone can say they spent their summer as a clown! Especially not in Scotland. :) Sounds like a crazy but amazing summer. I bet you have a lot of great stories.

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    1. ...And those of us who have, wish he hadn't (spent the summer as clowns). :D But sadly, there's photo evidence and now I've unleashed on the blogosphere. It was a fun summer despite the clowniness.

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  13. I braved the clowns (I'm one of those freaked-out-by-clowns people) to say that I love the new design!

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    1. You know, the weird thing is I can't stand clowns either! :) I saw Stephen King's IT at a rather young-ish age, and it left an impression. Sorry for the fright!

      Re: my new blog look→ It was high time for a fresher, cleaner, less cluttered look. I'm much happier now.

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  14. Can I just say: I love when you share those clown pictures :D

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    1. Can I just say: I just let out a totally wicked 'mwah haha' laugh at all the people freaked out by them? :P I'm not a fan of clowns myself, which begs the question: Why the heck am I dressed up as one (not right now, in the pic). :)

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    2. Somehow it reassures me that you did point out that you are not currently dressed as a clown :D

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  15. Love the new blog look! And yikes for the clowns and mimes--the rest of it sounds fun and worthwhile!

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  16. Haha, that's too cool. I'm not afraid of clowns (carnies on the other hand...) and I think that could be so much fun. Especially in Scotland. I love me some Scotland :)

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  17. Okay, I was NOT expecting CLOWNS! Wow! I love the caption on your photo: "Clowning around whilst scaring the trousers off wee Scottish bairns." Awesome. :)

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  18. Okay, LOL-- I am a little coulrophobic-- I blame the movie Poltergeist and the Stephen King book It. But this is still very cool-- who can say they went clowning in Scotland!?
    I spent my summers working at home. I'd much rather have been in Scotland. :0)

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  20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qiDyWPexJE


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_uDcoyzAIE


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ClRxHBtI6Y

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