Wow. I just want to say it's perfect here. I arrived at a little, Old-Florida style hotel about an hour ago (9 pm Eastern), and don't want to leave for a very long time. You get to our room by walking behind the two-story house, past rows of bicycles waiting for the morning, over an uneven deck made of untreated wood, and up some rickety stairs with a view of the courtyard. It's all in black and white, and as I write, the air conditioning goes to work to remove some of the 92 degrees of heat that still linger in the evening air. It smells like suntan lotion, and we have yet to spend time on the beach.
It's startling to realize that I am officially an alumni of speech and debate. I finished my career by going to two national championships, where it may be noted that I exceeded my own expectations. But now, it's over. Nine whole tournaments of fun, a few more friends, a couple more marbles lost, and my speech and debate career is over. Done. Caput. I've barely been done for a day, and I already feel out of the loop.
My spring is going to be incredibly empty next year. Most of my friends will continue to compete and fill their school years with tournaments, suits, and lots of traveling. But me? I don't know what I'm doing. Probably applying to colleges and doing lots of musical recitals.
I've been asked by a couple people to hang around a bit, maybe help some debaters or coach some speech. I can honestly say I don't know how to feel about this. On the one hand, they're my friends and I could help them out, considering that I know the hard way to get to Nationals. On the other hand, I've just used up 5 years of my life doing competitive speech and debate, and I don't need to stick around. There are enough alumni with no life outside of speech and debate, there doesn't need to be one more.
But I'm pushing that off to the side. You see, folks, I'm here in Florida. I haven't had a life, or a real vacation, in years, and I'm determined to exploit my time on the East Coast to the fullest advantage. My mom has promised me a few days of just hanging by the beach, and I intend to hold her to her word. And when we're done in St. Petersburg, we're going first to the Everglades and then to Key West. And after Florida, my family is roadtripping up the East Coast to Washington DC. What this means is that I'm not returning to the Pacific Northwest until July 9th. I'm super excited.
Speaking of which, I'm also super excited to tell my alternative to ballot parties. For those of you not in the know, a ballot party is where all us geeky speech and debaters overwhelm a Denny's or similarly cheap restaurant very late at night and read the pieces of paper over which countless judges have written judgemental, uplifting, or frustrating comments about our speeches and debates. It's pretty masochistic if you stop to think about it. But anyways, I've never really enjoyed ballot parties because I don't like reading ballots unless I really have to. So last night, while I was still in Massachusetts, my chaperones and I drove to the Singing Sands of Manchester by the Sea and frolicked in the waves in full professional attire. It was much more uplifiting and edifying than reading the judgements of strangers.
So anyways, I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to wear my swimsuit instead of my business suit, and I'm excited to rush to the beach instead of to rounds. I'm excited that the only deadline I have is the end of my trip, and while I'm not so excited at leaving my friends behind for a month, I am excited to see them again when I return. I plan on being so tan that I hurt their weak eyes amphibious from all the rain in the Northwest.
So until next time, my dear readers! I'm off to bed where I don't have to set an alarm to get up tomorrow.