So I'm writing this like a week later, but we can all just pretend I wrote it that night...
This morning my mother and I checked out of our hotel and drove to Portland State. When we arrived at the parking building, we got lost inside, not knowing how to ascend the building. Eventually, after circling the parking lot, we were able to park the car on the fourth floor for free parking.
The school was a bit of a disappointment compared to Pacific. We were lectured at for nearly an hour by a nervous student and then walked around the school. Only 30% of Freshmen stay in the dorms, and everyone else just commutes from the city. The school was too large and it just seemed too impersonal. After the visit, my mother and I decided it wasn't even worth applying to.
Next we visited Reed College, and boy what a world of difference ten miles makes. The beautiful campus seemed to be nestled in the middle of the woods. The information meeting was more personal and encouraging. Most people lived in the dorms. The class sizes were tiny and discussion oriented. However, the most striking difference were the people. Reedies are simply weird.
My mother and I sat down at one of their empty coffee shops where really strange and creepy music emanated from a stereo. A girl I can only describe as a hipster hippy punk began to leave her shift. After we got the information needed from their free wifi, we left, and as we walked along, we encountered another Reedie. She was a tall, sort of geeky red-head who was very friendly. As she passed us she addressed me, saying something along the lines of "Comboras buddy!"
I looked down at my books and my coat, uncertain of what we shared in common. My mother and I kept walking, but I smiled in reply. When we got to the car, we laughed. "Mom, I belong here!" I declared. "I'm already making friends!"
After our visit we were supposed to meet up with my cousin, but she didn't pick up her phone. We sat in the car for a minute trying to decide what to do. Finally, we decided to go check out Lewis and Clark while we still had time since it was a short drive away.
The campus was empty for their fall break except the occasional dressed-up debater or rugby player. The campus was gorgeous and seemed to come straight from a Jane Austen novel. As we wandered back to our car, a girl wearing crew sweatpants passed us. I was considering stopping her to talk to her about crew, but by the time I thought of it she was gone.
As we kept walking I noticed a group of students. Noticing the typical rowers, the tall red-heads, the short Asian coxswains, the tough looking brunettes, I took a closer look. Some of the boys were wearing brightly colored spandex shorts. Immediately I knew they were in crew. We crossed the grass to where they stood and I introduced myself. They were, indeed, the school's crew team and were all very friendly. After shaking blistered hands, exchanging coach emails and talking about preferred boats, my mother and I said our farewells.
Suffice it to say I now want to go to Lewis and Clark.
We then left to meet up with my cousin. After dropping our things off at her apartment, we went out to dinner, walking through a trendy part of Portland. We ended up eating at a very good Indian restaurant. I was so full by the end of it, I was happy for the walk back. We ended up stopping by a soap store where I bought a smelly bath-bomb from a charismatic gay man whose birthday is tomorrow.
I was really happy to catch up with my cousin. She's one of my favorite people and I found myself enthralled as she told me her stories of living in the San Juan Islands and learning roller derby strategies. Although I would have like to talk with her longer, it was time for us to turn in for the night.