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 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!
- 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.
- 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?