Extended Vacation

This has been one heck of a winter break. I left school a couple days early to get my wisdom teeth out, and my teachers were super flexible in letting me take tests and write an essay at home once I felt better. So the first few days of vacation were spent holding frozen peas to my face—20 minutes on each side—and not doing much of anything. I’m happy to show you the pictures of Chipmunk Macy, but I’d probably regret posting them on the Internet.

On December 17, I saw my musical hero, Lori McKenna, in concert in Harvard Square. (She penned Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” and co-wrote Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” but my favorite albums are the ones she sings.) I went to a Taylor Swift concert at Gillette Stadium back in 2015, and while it was fun, it turns out that small listening rooms are my types of venues. We just let Lori sing and tell her stories, and when she forgot a line, we sang it back at her. My mom and I sat between a teacher from another boarding school—I heard him talking about dorms and comments and asked—and an aspiring singer-songwriter whose music I’d listened to, so we had fun even before the show began. Sunny Sweeney opened, and she was funny and witty and energetic, despite a cold.

I encourage you to put on some good tunes while you read the rest of this post… (My other favorites include “The Time I’ve Wasted,” “Halfway Home,” “All I Ever Do,” “Mama’s Cooking,” “Your Next Lover,” and, well, anything written by this woman.)

There she is!

A group of fans hung behind after the show, hoping Lori would come out to mingle, but it was her fourth show in two days and she was sick, so the venue kicked us out. We all waited in the cold, and everyone else gave up, but my mom and I stuck it out. I brought my guitar—which James Taylor signed last year—in the hopes that I could get Lori’s signature. And sure enough, when our fingers were frozen and we’d convinced ourselves there was a back door, Lori and family emerged on their way to the car! It’s been two weeks, and I’m still fan-girling.

She’s a freaking legend! I was still a bit of a chipmunk.

The next morning, my mom and I set out for the interstate. We had a blast driving down to South Carolina for the eclipse in August, but this time, we didn’t have a specific destination. The whole point was for me to practice driving, and drive I did. We stayed at various cheap motels in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Per my history teacher’s recommendation, we drove Skyline Drive over Shenandoah Valley, and then we headed to Luray Caverns. Talk about a hole in the ground!

The sunset from Skyline Drive

Luray Caverns

We bopped around Raleigh, NC, for a couple days, enjoying the relative warmth. I lost my favorite lip balm at an outdoor mall, but then I found it (and my pack of tissues) on a bench where we’d been sitting. We saw Wonder, and those tissues came in handy. Then we spent a night with my second cousin twice removed, meeting all her friends at a little party, and the next day, we came home.

I took driver’s ed this week. It was not fun, but at least the classroom hours are over. In Massachusetts, if you want to get your license before you’re 18, you have to complete a 30-hour classroom course, 12 hours of driving instruction, 6 hours of observation, and 40 hours of practice with an adult. I’ve finished my class and my 40 hours of driving, but the hard part is scheduling the other 18 hours with the driving school.

So all of a sudden it’s 2018, the year I will graduate from high school. Up until now, 2018 was just a concept. I love the freshness of the new year, and this is going to be a good one—I’m signed up for a Global Ed trip to India in March, and at the end of August, I’ll begin my gap year in Ecuador!

I’m ready to go back to school, but I won’t rush these last couple days.

Two more nights of snuggling with this one!