Sunday Afternoon 3/25/2018

Accepted at Bryn Mawr College with a full scholarship!!!

What started out as a very rough week – rejected by Smith and Amherst, waitlisted at Wellesley and Carleton – had a very happy ending with YaYu’s acceptance at Bryn Mawr with a full scholarship. The college has been on her list from the very beginning, so this was an especially nice finish to what were otherwise two very difficult and depressing weeks. YaYu is over the moon though (us too). She plans to major in East Asian Languages & Culture (Chinese) and minor in Education, working in tandem with Haverford College, which is nearby.

And since we now know when we have to be where, Brett and I have been sitting together with the calendar and finalizing the first half of our adventure. We’re leaving Kaua’i (August 20), and will be flying to Portland for a couple of days to do some shopping for YaYu and see friends – we’ve already rented a place to stay through Airbnb while we’re there, in a wonderful neighborhood not far from where we lived back in the day. From Portland we’ll head to Dallas to spend a couple of days visiting with Brett’s sister and brother-in-law, and dropping off our important papers and documents for safekeeping while we’re on the road. Then it’s on to Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr to get YaYu moved in to her dorm. From Philadelphia we’ll fly to Miami and then head down to Buenos Aires to begin the Big Adventure!

We could see big swaths of chocolate-brown water running through the ocean when we took our walk yesterday, runoff from five days of rain. It will take anywhere from two to seven days to dissipate.

We had nothing but rain, rain, rain almost all this past week – it started on Monday and the skies didn’t clear until yesterday. As of yesterday there have been only six days this month when it hasn’t rained here. It made me wonder how we ever lasted so long in the Pacific Northwest because all this gloom has been hard to take, to say the least.

This week I am:

  • Reading: I didn’t pick up Eat Up! at all this past week until Friday evening because I was too anxious to concentrate for more than a couple of paragraphs, and finally decided it would just be easier to wait until life calmed down again. I picked it back up again on Friday evening and am enjoying it immensely.
  • Listening to: The sun is shining, the sky is blue, the bird are singing and all’s right in the world, at least here right now. Besides birdsong, I’m also listening to loads of baby chicks peeping away in the yard – they’re quite loud. It’s quiet in the house right now though. Brett and YaYu are reading, and we haven’t started the laundry yet.
  • Watching: We watched two movies at the beginning of the week: I, Tonya and Murder On the Orient Express. Allison Janney in I, Tonya was nothing short of amazing – she deserved the Academy Award.  Tonya Harding was always front-page news in Portland (usually not in a good way), but I never had any idea of the abuse she put up with for so many years. We watched Dunkirk on Friday night (even YaYu thought it was good, and she hates war movies). We also watched some a couple more episodes of The Brief, and tonight we’re going to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
  • Cooking/baking: Our egg-centric dinner tonight is Chinese stir-fried tomatoes and eggs, along with rice and cucumbers. I’m baking some orange-chocolate cupcakes later this afternoon so Brett and YaYu will be good for sweets for a while. I didn’t end up making the turkey divan casserole last week, so we’re having that tomorrow, and mabo nasu with rice, spaghetti with marinara and meatballs, and pork fried rice are also on the menu this week. We’ve still got track season going on, so our schedule remains screwy for a few more weeks.
  • Happy I accomplished this week: I consider that with all the tension and stress going on this past week the fact that I did not stand in front of the refrigerator and just stuff myself was a huge accomplishment! It was that kind of week. We got more things sorted for the thrift store, and YaYu and I went to the new Ross store down the road and got started on her dorm supplies. We found a very nice comforter and towels, but most everything else is going to have to be purchased nearer the college when we get to Pennsylvania. I drank lots of water and studied French every day, but Brett and my daily walk didn’t happen except for last Sunday and yesterday because of the weather. Not my accomplishment, but Brett finally got his hair cut. I liked his hair long, but he could never depend on it looking nice, so he’s back to his usual short style. I think it’s incredibly unfair that he still looks so young – he’ll be 68 next month! 

  • Looking forward to next week: I’m looking forward to recovering from the past two weeks of stress, disappointment, tension and frazzled nerves. The process was so competitive this year! Brett and I are celebrating our 39th anniversary on Friday with dinner at Duke’s Kauai, down by Nawiliwili in Lihue. We’re super excited about eating there (their seafood is excellent), and sharing a piece of their famous Hula Pie!

    Can’t wait to spend time with these two!

  • Thinking of good things that happened: I don’t think anything can top YaYu’s acceptance – it was the last school she heard from, and it was such wonderful news. YaYu burst into tears when she read the announcement. I think that buying that comforter on Thursday was a good omen – her class color at Bryn Mawr will be dark blue, and the comforter is a beautiful dark blue and white print!  My daughter-in-law sent us loads of pictures again this past week and we are getting VERY excited about their upcoming visit. They are planning all sorts of activities, and Brett and I have promised to provide as much childcare as they want as often as they want.
  • Thinking of frugal things we did: YaYu always has an eye for savings, and chose the cute and affordable name-brand comforter for her dorm room at Ross for less than $30 versus another more expensive one, as well as a quality set of bath towels for around $15. We also looked at some throw pillows for her bed, but she said she wants the ones that are on our sofa now which will be another big savings. All the movies we’ve watched this past couple of weeks have been free, courtesy of Amazon credit earned through Swagbucks. We put $4.55 into the change/$1 bill jar, left over from the farmers’ market and the Big Shop.
  • Reporting gains and losses: I lost another pound this month, so that makes 32 pounds gone since February of last year. I’m just going to keep on keeping on. We put $1067.50 into our travel savings, for a total now of $17,646.07. We’ll be using our savings in a big way in the next couple of weeks as we begin making reservations for our Big Adventure lodgings and flights.
  • Grateful for: All of us are feeling so very, very thankful for YaYu’s admission to Bryn Mawr and for the very, very generous financial aid she received. YaYu has the most impressive high school resume of all of our kids, both grades and extracurriculars, and yet she had the toughest time of all being accepted in spite of applying to more schools. Admissions were just incredibly competitive this year. The colleges that YaYu applied to received anywhere from a 15% to 45% increase in the number of applications received, so it was very tough standing out and being chosen. She received lovely, warm letters from the colleges where she was waitlisted, and all encouraged her to stay on their list, but she wants to go to Bryn Mawr. We think the college is going to be a wonderful fit for YaYu, and are happy too that another one of our girls will be attending one of the Seven Sisters. These schools provide a unique and empowering experience for women, on top of giving them a top-rate education.

    Lewis & Clark still has the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen though. It was almost impossible to study there – you couldn’t help but find yourself constantly staring out of the window, taking it all in.

  • Bonus question: If you attended college, do you remember how much it cost? I attended Lewis & Clark College in Portland back in the early 1970s – the cost for tuition and room and board was right around $4000 per year, something my very middle-class parents could afford while they were also paying out-of-state tuition for my older brother to attend the University of Washington. Fast forward to now, and the tuition plus fees and room & board at Lewis & Clark is $63,588! The University of Washington cost for a non-resident is $46,482. And that’s not counting books, travel expenses or other miscellaneous costs. What middle class family can afford that these days, let alone for four years, or even save enough? Bryn Mawr’s costs are not any better, but compared to Lewis & Clark they offer much better financial aid. Hopefully YaYu’s savings will be enough that she doesn’t have to take out any loans, at least not initially, but she will be working while she’s in school to help her bottom line. The cost to attend the University of Hawaii would have been somewhere between $28K – $30K, and that’s for a resident. Financial aid would have helped, but that’s still a lot of money every year.

What a week! I’m so glad it ended on a high note. How was your week? What did you accomplish? What good things happened for you?

37 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 3/25/2018

  1. Kay says:

    I was so happy to hear of YaYu’s acceptance. I know she did not apply to any of these colleges Willy nilly so I know they were all of some importance. Bryn Mawr it is and for a good reason….that is where she is supposed to be!!

    Also, do you know where her friends are applying and being accepted to?

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    • Laura says:

      Bryn Mawr was one of the first colleges she put on her list, so this is especially sweet, and yes, it is where she is supposed to go. She’ll get a top rate education there, and on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. We’re all so excited for her.

      Almost all her friends, either from here or back in Portland, will be going to schools in California. A couple are going to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo (great school), one is going to Occidental, one to Pitzer, and one other to USC. None of our girls even looked at schools in California!

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  2. Sam says:

    Just starting to get sticker shock for our junior. Her top school right now costs $50,000 a year, but should het scholarships. We still have time.

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    • Laura says:

      The cost of college now is positively mind-boggling. Overwhelming doesn’t even begin to describe it. YaYu applied to colleges with big endowments because they tend to give great financial aid, better than public colleges, but she will probably have to borrow money her last two years at Bryn Mawr when she’s the only one in school. With three in school next year, and based on our income, they will get a big amount of financial aid. Thanks to the generosity of the schools they attend, our two older girls will be able to graduate without any debt, but don’t think that will be the case for YaYu.

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  3. Vicky says:

    That is fantastic news, so pleased to hear that Yayu is happy with the way things worked out.

    I too, am cursed with a younger looking husband. We are the same age and though I was totally grey by 35 at 55 he is still sporting a head of dark hair. Life is not fair sometimes.

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    • Laura says:

      We are all over the moon for her, and she’s walking around like her feet don’t touch the ground – so happy!

      I too started going gray in my 30s. Brett’s hair used to be darker, but due to age and the sun here it’s lightened up quite a bit. His two younger brothers look years older than he does. I joke that the baby tears he drinks when I’m not looking are what keep him so young looking.

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  4. Libby says:

    Kudos to YaYu! What a nail-biting two weeks. I can only imagine the stress.

    Brett looks to be in his late 40’s!

    Hope this up coming week is sunny and relaxing.

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    • Laura says:

      I can’t remember being this stressed out in forever. It was gut-wrenching and we are glad it’s over and that she got in to one of the schools at the top of her list.

      I keep telling Brett that he’s going to wake up one morning and his hair will be white and his face wrinkled, so he better enjoy his youthful good looks while he can. He and our son also got lovely long, thick eyelashes – doubly unfair!

      The sun was out for a while today, but the clouds rolled in late afternoon and it’s rained all evening. Ugh.

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  5. lauraj says:

    First time to comment, but I have been following your blog since you started downsizing back in Oregon! I have been on pins and needles all week waiting for the news of Ya Yu’s acceptance. CONGRATULATIONS to her and the family on her acceptance and the amazing scholarship!! So thrilled for you all.
    Your blog has been so helpful to us over the past few years. We were a couple of years behind you on a similar path of downsizing and moving to Kauai. Just celebrated our one year anniversary here and are so happy to be living in this amazing place. I hope we run into you at some point before you move on to your great adventure. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I don’t think you realize how many people are touched by your story. It has been an inspiration!

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    • Laura says:

      OMG – I would love to get together with you LauraJ and hear your story! Where are you located? We’re in Kapaa, but would be willing to meet up most anywhere. Just let me know if you want to meet up and I’ll send an email and we can set something up.

      Congrats on your first year here! It is an amazing place, isn’t it? With the three girls all in college on the mainland though we’re probably going to settle back somewhere there when our travel adventure is over. Right now though I can barely even think about not coming back without breaking into tears. What an adventure it’s been!

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  6. JJ says:

    Wow, what good news! Congrats to YaYu! I used to live down the street from Bryn Mawr. Such a pretty campus. There are a lot of great colleges in that area. I don’t live far and visit that area quite often. It sounds like admissions are even more competitive than they were last year when my nephew was applying. His college had the largest freshman class ever this year, but I just heard that next year’s class will be even bigger.

    To answer your bonus question: I graduated from one of the SUNY colleges in the late 1980s. The tuition back then was…$1,200 per semester for in state students. Hard to believe. Now it’s $16,000 per semester, which is cheap compared to most colleges these days. I went to a SUNY to save money because I knew I probably wouldn’t exactly get rich with the major I chose (psychology) and didn’t want to be in massive debt. I would have preferred to go a private college, but financial aid was hard to come by then (due to budget cuts) so I did what I could and I think I made the right choice. It’s outrageous what colleges charge now.

    Brett must have found the fountain of youth! I would never guess he’s in his 60’s.

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    • Laura says:

      The competition was especially fierce this year – YaYu had the most impressive resume and yet it took nine tries to get into one of the schools she applied to. Some we knew were reaches, but others were supposed to be “safe” for her. All of her essays were good, but IMO her essay for Bryn Mawr was amazing – she really “got” the school and its philosophy, and connected that to her life and experience here on Kaua’i. That essay, on top of everything else, is what got her accepted there. We’re all so very, very happy for her – she deserves this.

      Instead of having to prove he’s old enough to buy liquor, Brett gets carded to prove he’s old enough for senior discounts!

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  7. Juhli says:

    What a great ending to a difficult time of waiting! I am surprised at the U of Washington costs. I went there as an out of state student starting in 1967 and mostly paid for everything myself. That being said we paid for our younger son the attend the U of Michigan as an out of state student and I jokingly referred to myself as his patron as almost all my take home pay for 4 years went there too.

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    • Laura says:

      Even if you’re a resident, these days even state schools are expensive. If not for her scholarship that covers tuition and all fees, Meiling would be paying around $27,000 per year to attend UO. It cost $7,000 a year when our son applied back in 1996. Colleges in California were almost FREE for residents when I graduated from high school, and one of my classmates went to medical school at UCLA for just $1000/year. The cost of college now is just nuts – one of the criteria when YaYu picked college was the size of their endowments (big endowment = good financial aid).

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  8. Natalie says:

    Huge congratulations to YaYu! Now you and Brett can do more planning for your big adventure. My week was good, mostly catching up after a great time in Chile. I posted some pictures today on my blog. More to come on Wednesday and next Sunday. Happy 39th anniversary on Friday!

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Natalie! Brett and I have been working on our itinerary for the past two days, and the results will be up in Tuesday’s post! It’s very exciting!

      I’m heading over to your blog now to check out your pictures and to read all about Chile!

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  9. Sandi A Farestrand says:

    Congratulations to YaYu! That is such exciting news!
    Happy anniversary!
    Love your blog!

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    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Sandi! Hey – we will be in PDX for a couple of days beginning August 20, staying in a place just south of Division. I’d love to get together with you for some ice cream at Salt & Straw!

      Believe it or not, most people did not think Brett and I would last very long together. We’re very different people, but agree on the big things, respect each other’s choices and really do have a lot of affection for each other. It works!

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  10. Vivian says:

    Congratulations YaYu.
    I went to Lynchburg College in 1972. Tuition was $3000 per year and was guaranteed for the entire 4 years. I was lucky enough to have a full scholarship and I worked summers to pay for books. My Aunt tried to get me a job at the hospital when I graduated high school but you had to be 18 and I wasn’t old enough so I went to work at the courthouse making $2 per hour.

    Happy anniversary!

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    • Laura says:

      I remember getting a scholarship for $700/year from one college I applied to, and my parents were so disappointed when I chose Lewis & Clark instead. $700 was a LOT of money back then, but the college was my last choice. I also applied to the University of Alaska, who would have given me free tuition and fees back then to attend, but in the end I decided against it too. I don’t even want to think what it would cost to go there now.

      I worked as a nurse’s aide in a hospital when I graduated from high school. I took a year-long course for certification during my senior year of high school (I was nearly done with my credits so had time to take the class), and the hospital where I trained hired me at the end of the year. I earned $1.65/hour, but it was a good job and I never had any problems finding work during the Winter and summer breaks while I was in school.

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  11. Hawaii Planner says:

    I interviewed at Bryn Mawr (well, interviews were in Portland at an alum event) & really wanted to go there. In the end, went to Claremont Mckenna, which ended up being a terrible decision. And, then transferred to a college in Washington. A much better fit. 🙂 I believe it was around $40K when I went, way back in 1994-98?

    HUGE congrats to YaYu!!!! So very exciting.

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    • Laura says:

      All through the admissions project we kept hearing how important the interviews were, and YaYu would have loved meeting with representatives. But we live on Kaua’i, and few to no representatives ever visit here and we couldn’t afford frequent back and forth trips to Oahu to meet them there (at Punahou, etc.), nor could we afford college visits back east. So for YaYu (and for the other girls too), her choices were based on extensive online research and her acceptance was on the strength of her application only, which I believe made it a little more difficult for her. We think Bryn Mawr is going to be a great fit for her. She’s already on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat with others just admitted, and has “met” lots of nice women. After so much disappointment and rejection, it’s all turned out for the best.

      Our son’s college tuition at Earlham was around $23,000 per year back in 1996, about the same time you were attending Claremont Mckenna. Earlham is now in the $55K per year range, maybe a little more.

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    • Laura says:

      Hi Kris! We are so proud of her, although she sure made her wait for it! Brett and I are both glad we are finally done with this whole college thing – it’s pretty much been an excruciating ordeal each time (well, M was easy – applied one place, early decision and was accepted).

      Sorry too for the delay in replying – WordPress is still sending your messages to the Trash folder for some reason. I’m going to go check it again and see if I can fix it.

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  12. Janette says:

    Terrific news!
    I started at Loyola Marymount at $2500 a year. My room mate was in your daughter’s boat, and needEd financial aide to finish off. She begged the-I have proven to be a strong student- plee and they waived most of her tuition her last two years. I hope YaYu gets the same help.
    My husband is seven years older then me and I have always been asked how it feels to be married to a younger man. Not one of my friends or family members thought our marriage would last. We are still together—36 years. Hope you enjoy your night out to celebrate the love and commitment it takes to hang in there 🙂

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    • Laura says:

      It really is different now, isn’t it? When people say kids just need to get a job to pay for college I know they have absolutely NO idea what it costs these days, even as a resident attending a state college or university. I am grateful that the older two girls’ schools are making it possible for them to graduate without debt, and we hope YaYu won’t have to borrow much – she should be able to at least get through the first two years without taking out any loans.

      We heard the same thing from many people when we got married, that it wouldn’t last. Brett’s mom told him I had married him just for his money (yeah, because an enlisted man in the service made so much money)! My mom told me that what ever else I did in life, don’t marry an enlisted man, but she adored Brett from the moment she met him, and was a big support for us. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but we’re each other’s best friend, and still greatly enjoy each other’s company. Otherwise I have no idea why it worked out because we are very, very different types of people with our own interests and such. We’ve always agreed on the big stuff though (money, childrearing, etc.).

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  13. Laurel says:

    Such exciting news for YaYu and you! I was thrilled to see that post come up on Instagram! Congrats to all of you, and especially YaYu. And I’m sure you are all relieved to have whole dance over. Woo hoo! (Kudos for not eating the fridge empty…I have that tendency, too.)

    My first college experience was in the early ’70’s and it was a state school in Michigan. I think it was about $50/credit hour. Unbelievable. My kids all paid SO much more than that, and both of my daughters have Masters and PhD’s. Thank goodness those are funded for the most part, although one has some student loans. The other has some loan debt, but has worked between degrees and is a real saver.

    I still want to see I, Tonya. We finished all available Doc Martin (I subscribed to a free trial of Acorn TV to get season 8, then cancelled it) and have moved on to A Place to Call Home. Have you seen it? It’s set in Australia after WWII and we’re really enjoying it.

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    • Laura says:

      It is a relief to have the college thing over with and know where she’s going. It’s especially nice too that it’s one of her top choices. I am already sleeping better.

      It’s obscene what going to college costs these days. There’s a lot of blame to go around to, but the primary cause (IMO) is the rise of the administrative class and their huge salaries which has caused big rises in tuition. Lewis & Clark also went on a building and beautification spree which cost $$$$$$$. The campus was already gorgeous when I went there, but the president at the time of the spree wanted it to be even more beautiful.

      I recommend I, Tonya whole-heartedly. Both Brett and I enjoyed it and found it fascinating, especially since we lived in Portland during all the Olympic craziness was going on, and then her descent that followed. We never knew though about what she had had to go through or overcome to get as far as she did. The acting in the film is superb. I am going to have to check out A Place to Call Home – sounds exactly like something we would enjoy.

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    • Laura says:

      I think I was maybe as nervous as YaYu was about the outcome of where she would be accepted. My stomach was in a constant knot, and I know it was causing, or at least aggravating my insomnia.

      One of the first things Brett and I did following all the celebration was to drag out our calendar and set the dates for where we have to be when. It was thrilling to finally be at this stage. I have a big post coming up tomorrow with the finalized itinerary!

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    • Laura says:

      Thank you so much, Tamara! It really was such a happy ending to a very stressful period, and after a lot of very hard work. But, it’s done and our last little bird will be flying off soon. I’m so proud right now of all my kids.

      Now it’s on to the next phase – getting the rest of the Big Adventure arranged so we’re ready to go. We got some things set up this past weekend, but there’s still more to do (fun stuff though!).

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  14. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    I am so happy for Yayu! I can’t believe how competitive and expensive college has become. Jim’s youngest was accepted to UCSD and their acceptance letter stated that they had received over 97,000 freshman applications!

    As the owner of a construction subcontracting business, I really wish we had more trade schools too. There is nothing wrong with learning a trade, and it is only going to get more expensive to get things done as we lose one generation to retirement and have much fewer quality employees left.

    Brett looks great, no matter the haircut, but I did enjoy it long! How fun after so many years of having it short. It’s crazy how young he looks! Last week my younger brother kept introducing me as his older sister, and when I told him to stop using the word older, everyone thought I was his younger sister! So there ha ha ha! He got the gray hair and I got the wide hips, so it’s only fair that I get to look younger.

    It really had better stop raining! I just looked at the forecast and it’s pretty consistent for the next ten days. My big worry is the trail we are going to hike, as I’ve read that it is even more difficult with rain or mud. I guess we’ll see. But I’m excited to come visit no matter what! Let me know if you’d like any treats from Trader Joes!

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  15. Janette says:

    We are newish to the East Coast. I had no idea where Bryn Mawr was. If there is ever an occasion that she needs some immediate help, I would be happy to send you my number. I live about 80 miles from the college. I feel like I know your girls since I have followed your blog for so long!

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    • Laura says:

      Thank you for the offer – I may write and get your phone number. We know no one in the Philadelphia area, and we’d like for her to have a number or two to call in case of an emergency.

      Right now we’re freaking out about the drive from the airport to Bryn Mawr. We’ve been on two-lane roads for the past four years, and the freeways and exchanges look overwhelming!

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  16. tpol1 says:

    How wonderful! I am so happy for YaYu! Very well done! I was way too busy lately and haven’t been checking out my favorite blogs lately. Congrats to your beautiful family.

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    • Laura says:

      YaYu’s feet still haven’t touched the ground! She headed back to school this week, and is overwhelmed with work once again though. But, just 35 more days to go before she graduates! It will be a big moment for all of us!

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