July 4th, 2012

On July 1st I had “moved in” to my future roommates’ couch in their current apartment. Having not secured an apartment (though I promise I really tried) I am crashing with Brittany and Sarah until their lease is up and we move into a new apartment where I will actually get my own room and all will be well.

July 2nd I began my first engineering class. It is not particularly difficult, but the work piles up quickly. Instead of dedicating an entire year to learning the ethics, thought processes, and project management skills that normal freshman engineering students are taught, transfer students bypass this entirely with a 5 credit, 5 week long class. As will probably be true for the rest of my engineering experience, I am one of five girls in a class of forty. Bring it on.

July 4th was on a Wednesday this year, giving me an awkward day off in the middle of my first week of class. I had been googling for things to do in Blacksburg and had sadly come up with almost nothing. Which is apparently why it pays to be friends with locals – or at least students who have lived here for four years. A tiny herd of us went to the river, rented inner tubes and began floating down the stream. Think water country’s lazy river – except its real so there are fish and seaweed and slightly protruding rocks and a gorgeous backdrop of the mountains and, for the finale, rapids. The rapids were a blast but still not too scary to fear for your life – though I did lose my black flats to a particularly large wave. A perfect fourth of July afternoon that could only be topped by one thing: I found 1776 the musical playing on tv! Needless to say as I was nursing my slightly burnt skin and sand covered feet, I began singing along and geeking out. A few hours and a barbecue later it began to get dark and we bundled back into the car to find a seat for the fireworks. At first it was a little hectic, but we kind of just followed the huge mass of people and ended up sitting just across the field from where they were being shot off – a fact we discovered as soon as the show began. It was a perfect view as the fireworks seemed to plunge down from the sky at you. The small children sitting next to us had several discussions on the safety of fireworks and whether or not they might get hit, turned their attention to shouting each color as it flew through the air, and then enjoyed a lively debate as to the limitations of firework shapes (one proclaimed fireworks can ONLY be circles, while another chastised his sister for believing one was a flower when it CLEARLY didn’t have petals). All in all a quintessential fourth, especially compared to the one I had in Canada last year.

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