March 22, a weird day for me at Chewonki. The morning started off as the usual mornings do, an alarm ring at 6:20 a.m., then the sounds of my cabin-mates’ slow movement toward the door and my usual “I can’t believe it’s morning” groan. A continental breakfast welcomed me into the Wallace and I ate quickly in order to have that extra time to say goodbye. At 8:30 the procession to the van began and ended quickly with a hug from Willard and a step into the bus. Inside the Wallace it was still jam-packed with people all loitering near the standing secretary hugging and saying their goodbyes. Then as the van drove away a group of us ran after it waving and yelling our final goodbyes as if we would never meet again (who knew we would be together in just a little more than a week, not us, that’s for sure). After that a slow trickle of parents began arriving and taking everyone back to their other home. (When I was talking to my parents over break and I used the word “home” to refer to Chewonki, I always got a “ Hey!”) I can’t even count the number of times that day I heard “Oh man, my parents are so weird, so just don’t mind them,” which was followed by “What are you talking about, your parents are amazing! I love them!” My cabin slowly emptied and I missed them already.
Around 9:00 I strolled into the Outreach lab (my common Sunday practice). There was Lynne and all of the animals. I did my usual work, feeding and taking care of Peepers (the duck) and making food for the other animals. A half hour later, Sophie, Diego, and Schuyler came to report that almost everyone had left. On my way back to the Wallace after leaving Outreach, I realized how empty campus really felt. I heard no laughs, no screams, and no music. At that point I realized just how much of my Chewonki experience has been shaped from the wonderful people who reside here. Luckily I still had Sophie and Diego. We were going to be the three amigos in this coming four days going into the wilderness and isolation. Our first night revolved around missing everyone already and talking about how truly different campus was with just three students.
Spring Break was an introduction to us all about how hard it was going to be to leave. I did not go home but even being without my cabin and support group for that week was different and kind of hard. Everyone missed everyone and coming back was really coming home. But this place really has become a second home to everyone here. It is comforting to know that when I leave I will have 39 brothers and sisters whom will be supporting me from all over the country, and in turn they know that I will be supporting them.
-Maile All, Bremerton, WA