It was such a relief to fall back into my old role as one of the senior team members. It felt like UNC might have been just a dream, or maybe another exchange program or summer job, and that now I was finally back home again where I belonged. I savored everything... the Walgreens junk food run at midnight with eight people in a five-person car, Jenna accidentally beaning an innocent passerby square in the face with a disintegrating ball of wet beach sand, floating in the (71 F) ocean with Anna for a full hour while we got caught up, yelling encouragement to everyone during the swim meet, getting asked to enter as a deck entry and swim a few events myself (and declining - "I'm here for the food. And the beach."), roasting s'mores over a (very smoky) mini-bonfire whilst freezing outside in the dark in our T-shirts, not being self-conscious about wearing a two-piece swimsuit, driving and listening (and singing) to Shannon and Michael's random selections from all the music on my iPod, the mass (silent) laughing fit over the old, obese, oblivious man in Walgreens whose sagging pants revealed a good six inches of butt crack and white underwear as he deliberated among the selection of condoms (!), asking Conway cops for driving directions, gossiping with the girls about the guys on the team, cramming 10 people into the hot tub at 1:00am, eating shrimp at Margaritaville while singing Jimmy Buffett, mastering the workings of the waffle irons at the hotel continental breakfast, lying in the sun on a beach for the first time in what felt like forever... yeah, it was an awesome weekend. I missed some of my team friends who didn't go to the meet - Hayley, Nika, Jason, etc. - but it was great to see those who were there.
In a way, though, it's also made me a little more homesick (if that's the right word). I'm quickly realizing that what I was told about the 'Carolina attitude' really is true. A lot of people on the UNC team are... I hate to say it... snobs. Or at least a lot of the good swimmers are. Most of the people in my lane are pretty nice - there are two or three girls I like a lot - but others, most notably the team president, act like they don't want to have anything to do with me. They're not mean, per se, but they just totally ignore me. Granted, there could be all kinds of reasons for that which have nothing to do with me as an individual - it's a big team, I don't swim in their lane, they have no REASON to say anything to me, etc. - but because I'm new, it feels like it's me as an individual that people don't like. Same with my classmates and even professors. I just came off a summer spent working with people I hated, and I don't like having to 'work at' making friends in arenas (school and swimming) in which I've always been happy and fit in well (since after middle school, anyway) without having to really work at it. I don't know if the difference is in the school or in me, but it's frustrating.
Upside: Liz comes back from China tomorrow. Yippee!
And: Obama just might run for president after all! Double yippee!