||[Nov. 4th, 2018|03:37 pm]
Judy Anderson (yduJ)
I went on a road trip last week. It started with my usual square dance in the Berkshires -- but just to be interesting, I stopped at the new MGM casino in Springfield MA. I don't gamble, but I enjoy the flashing lights. I especially like Las Vegas with all the themed casinos. Well, this one isn't themed, and it isn't very big. So I dub it the MGM Petit. It had sufficient flashing lights for my desires, and it had a nice food court where we had dinner.
The dance was good; 6 squares from various parts of the country plus one couple from Japan and three people from Toronto. Only a small number of mistakes were made with refreshments. People had a good time. I played board games on Saturday night with the usual crew.
Sunday, after cleanup (mostly successful; later we learned some things were left behind), I headed west on the Mass Pike, and turned south on interstate 87 towards Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Jocelyn got on the Amtrak Acela train. I checked into our (somewhat seedy) motel, and then went to get her at 30th St station. Amtrak was only 10 minutes late, and while the official short-term parking was full, it worked out ok to sit in the line for short term parking and have her come find me after she got off the train.
Monday, we headed out to visit colleges! We saw Bryn Mawr in the morning and Swarthmore in the afternoon. Jocelyn was underwhelmed with the women's college bit about Bryn Mawr, and after we saw Swarthmore, we realized that Bryn Mawr's people had not once mentioned "rigorous education", while Swarthmore was all over it. Swarthmore's in-depth honors major program very much appeals to Jocelyn. Maybe we should have seen Haverford instead of Bryn Mawr; I really picked it because acw's daughter went there and had a good time.
My original idea for Monday evening had been to leave the car at Swarthmore, take the train into the city, walk around Independence Mall, see the Liberty Bell, have dinner, and come back and retrieve the car. However, Jocelyn thought she should do that when she had more energy, and walking all around these campuses and being perky and sounding interested all day had been tiring. So, instead, having learned in one of the "how to get off campus" chats by the tour guides that the second-largest mall in America was in nearby King of Prussia, we decided to go shopping!
Giant malls are a pain. There are so many stores full of things you don't want. It's easier to just go to Target. We did manage to buy a few things that we both needed, and get dinner in the food court, before we were sick of the whole enterprise.
Tuesday we checked out of the motel, and headed for our last Philly stop, which was Circadium. Circadium is another circus college like Ecole Nationale de Cirque in Montreal. Unlike ENC, which is entirely its own thing, Circadium is attached to a recreational circus program like Esh Circus Arts, which is the place Jocelyn currently trains. The Circadium physical plant is amazing -- it's in an old church, and they use the sanctuary with an enormous vaulted ceiling to hang various aerial apparatus. Circadium is a new program, just opened last year, so they don't have any graduates yet. Their program is aimed at making you a circus generalist, rather than making you the pinnacle of your one chosen art, since in real life, that's going to be better for getting you a job with a real circus.
So one option for Jocelyn is to go to Swarthmore, and take circus at the recreational program at Circadium, similar to what she's doing now with Esh, if she doesn't want to 100% commit to a circus career right now. It is the belief of some Esh coaches that she doesn't really need a full-time circus program to have a circus career. Unfortunately it's over an hour on public transit, kind of like Esh is from home. So that would be a drag.
A similar option would be to go to a college in Amherst (there are several fine liberal arts colleges there, even if she's not interested in the giant state school), and attend part-time circus training at NECCA (New England Center for Circus Arts) in Brattleboro. An hour's drive away, kind of a drag too. We haven't visited Amherst yet.
After watching the Circadium people train for a while, and talking with a couple of staff people, we headed off on the drive home. Jocelyn doesn't have her license yet, and hasn't had any driving instruction at all, so I had to do all the driving. This is up there on my "longest amount of uninterrupted driving"; usually on a trip of this length I'm with other drivers so we split it. I know lots of people routinely drive more than 6 hours in a day, but I find it stressful. On this trip, I had a lot of caffeine, despite it being bad for me. Getting in a crash is worse... We arrived home in time for a quick bike around the lake before sunset.
Lots more college visiting to do with both kids -- Perry and I visited WPI in September, and there's lots more to do for him too. Gotta figure out where else to visit with him, too. He's afraid of the "project learning" things they do at WPI; he thinks he'd be better in a classroom setting. It would be good for him to stretch, but he's worried.
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