As I mentioned here, back in May Belle graduated (was graduated? my mother would know the correct grammar on that one) from tiny Salida High School.
Belle with her proud mama.
Which means Belle is going to college.
Belle is a singular child. Determined. Knows what she wants, how she wants it and what color it should be in. Whatever "it" is.
Ever since she was in elementary school she has said "I will go to college by the beach, NOT in Texas. I want warm weather."
Belle's College Requirements:
Toes in the sand, sun on her back, ocean in the distance.
O! And classes.
She's never been too specific about what she would study, although she has cycled through Veterinarian (couldn't put the animals to sleep, though), Marine Biologist (chemistry-not her forte) and hair stylist. She's a girl of many talents.
That's okay. It's a rare 18 year old that knows what they want to do for the rest of their life. Hell! I'm 58 and still struggling with that decision.
And so she made her college decision by looking at the map and researching small schools and acceptable (to her) locales.
I guess there are worse ways to decide.
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida and Palm Beach State College won.
PBSC Amphitheater- Gardens Campus
Since we were in Colorado, it was a Herculean task to get to Florida and back over even a long weekend to look at the school, so we didn't. Until this week. Texas to Florida ostensibly is an easier trip. (Although, of course, with our luck, that wasn't quite the case.)
Talk about cutting it close. School starts on the 22nd. Belle had NO back up plan. Didn't want one. She knew this is what she would do. And this is a school that offers ZERO school housing. No one could even suggest a place for her to live. I assumed that we would easily find something once we showed up on campus and talked to administrators and students in person. Wrong. Nothing. No suggestions. Nothing on the Student Center boards. Nada. Zip. Zero.
The college is in the middle of a luxury community. No apartment complexes within 20 miles.
We both loved the school. Small. About 9000 students. Friendly. Nice demographics. Safe.
I scrolled through the realtors online until I found one that looked motherly. I called and pleaded my case. She referred me to an outstanding Coldwell Banker realtor, Arlene Love, that totally got what we needed. And assured me it would be very hard to find. But she was willing to try.
The next morning she had two listings for us to look at. But, as she said, sometimes you only need two. Or one.
And the first one was it. A small garage apartment behind a large house in a lovely quiet community. Alarm system. Furnished. (I barely dared dream of a furnished apartment- that seemed to be asking too much to even think of.) And furnished in a way that Belle would have done if she had the chance.
Within 5 miles of the school. And 5 miles to the beach. With a washer and dryer. Internet included for a small additional fee. Parking outside her door.
The selling point for Belle?
A bathroom counter that went on for days.....
Belle has a place to live.
Actually the sun did not shine.
On our way to the airport we got word that our flight had been cancelled.
We were rescheduled for the following day.
We boarded the plane Thursday and sat on the tarmac for 20 minutes because of rain. Took off and flew. And flew. And flew. Later we found out we had flown down almost to Cuba before heading towards Texas. And then we were held off some more because Texas had rain. Twice we were told of delays. We made a sharp turn and drop as the plane rerouted to Corpus Christi. They had held us off so long that we needed to refuel. This time an hour on the tarmac. No more water on the plane, it was getting warm and since we could look at our phones, we got to read about 298 people being shot down on a Malaysia Air flight. (Reassuring. Not.)
But we made it home. Only 18 hours after our originally scheduled arrival.
It was a successful trip.
I get it.
But I also know this child. She will do just fine. There will be hiccups but if anyone can do it, she can. I am slowly collecting names and numbers of people in the vicinity in case of emergency. But I predict this one will go off and be successful, whatever she does.
Now her little sister. Not a snowball's chance that she would be allowed the same privilege. Love her, but no.
And older brother wouldn't even consider the idea. He doesn't like travel.
Besides, as my friend Libby pointed out: "Apple, tree, etc."
At 18, my parents dropped me off in San Miguel de Allende, in the middle of Mexico, for school. Like Belle, I knew no other students.
This was pre-cell phones and pre-computers. A long distance phone call took a minimum of two hours just to get through to an international operator. Then there might be a line available, might not. Mom left me at a boarding house and within a month I had met a friend and we had found an apartment.
My first two room mates at the boarding house.
Cathy, Claudia, Me.
(Love those high waisted pants!)
How did we get someone to rent to us? We had no jobs. We were foreigners. Again, I have no idea.
It was all an education.
And isn't that the point?
O! Libby is soooo right.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Apparently a bathroom counter that went on for days was my priority, also.
This was from a Mexican house we rented my second year down there.