I’m finally getting around to adding the second part of summer recap…my trip to Norwich University. Norwich is located this tiny town that has absolutely nothing around it. The campus is smack dab in the middle and you would never imagine that a campus could be back between the high mountains and rivers of Vermont. My brother is going there for criminal justice and Marine ROTC. He entered into Norwich Core of Cadets which is the title of their ROTC program. Every incoming cadet is called a “rook”. Rooks move into Norwich a week before classes start for rook week, which is basically like boot camp smashed down into seven days of pure hell. Rooks cannot have cell phones, use social media sites, browse the internet, wear civilian clothes, and a bunch of other rules. Hopefully that gives you an idea of how serious this school is and what my brother will be doing up there.
Anyways, it was a 10 hour trip for us to get up there and we left bight and early Saturday morning. James’ girlfriend Nikki came along with us so we were all crammed uncomfortably together in a F-150. My brother made the trip entertaining with his sarcasm and haji impressions. He’s not used to driving in a ton of traffic ya know like the New York belt way with three lanes and cars all around you in a super huge truck. I think he forget that he was not in his mustang because I’ve been sideways starring at the trees in his car but was more scared with him driving on the belt way (don’t worry my brother is a really good driver ha).
When we finally got to Vermont we checked into the inn we were staying at in Montpelier. It was a very old inn and had a lot of the original wood work. For those of you who have never been to Montpelier, its a tiny capital city (the size of my hometown and that’s saying a lot) that has a lot of shops, cafes, restaurants, and artisan galleries. It is a very pretty city with restored new England houses and the big, beautiful mountains as the background. After exploring it with my mom, I found the residents and culture of the town to be a little odd and far far different from Pittsburgh. Everyone was a hippie, indie, hiking, tree hugger type person (not that its a bad thing just is not my type of person). There was marijuana leaves spray painted on light polls, a church that was turned into a rave at night, and people that seemed to know everyone. One thing that I really noticed was the type of cars people drove. I didn’t see one sports car, not one mustang or charger or eclipse. Everyone drove Subaru’s and station wagon type cars with bike racks on the back. Sure it makes sense because your in the mountains and a sports car isn’t practical but I saw very little trucks and SUV’s. My reasoning for this being: seeing the hippie/naturalist residents there, those individuals wouldn’t buy gas guzzling cars that are expensive to begin with. No matter the reason, it was a very different culture than what I was used to and even though it was a beautiful place, I really didn’t like it there.
Back to the trip; after mom and I explored the city and the Inn, we all get dressed up to go to this fancy steakhouse at a hotel. The food was good except my steak was warm, not hot like I would have liked it. That was all because of our horrible waitress. Honestly, that was one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve had. I’m really big on customer service so I was pretty pissed off about it. During dinner mom decided that James needed a haircut and that we had to go searching around this city for a place to buy clippers. So I looked up a Walmart and a Dunkin Donuts on my ipod and we were off. Well we didn’t find the Dunkin Donuts and the Walmart closed at 10. What in the hell kind of Walmart closes at 10?!?!? I’ve never in my life seen a Walmart close at 10. Up until that weekend I thought every Walmart everywhere was open 24 hours. I know its just Walmart but I really was shocked by this. So all and all we had no luck that night and went back to the Inn and went to bed.
We woke up the next morning at 6 AM. got dressed, grabbed DD for breakfast and headed toward Norwich. Once we got there we were greeted by other cadets while pulling into the school. The cadets directed us where to go and there was a ton of little check points that you drove around to with cadets there to help. They even grabbed all three of James’ boxes for his dorm room and unloaded it without us stepping out of the car. It was all very organized and took a short amount of time (I wish the military would’ve been in charge of my move-in ha). After James went through processing and registration we went to his dorm room to help him unpack. His room was extremely tiny and was shared by four people. One of his roommates walked in after we got there. He was an already enlisted Marine and was pretty cocky about it and acted like who knew everything and was tough shit of the barracks. Clearly, I didn’t like him ha. We didn’t unpack much because we know his Cadre (Cadres are platoon leaders who are upper-class cadets) would just yell at him and tell him where to put his stuff anyway.
After that, we went to our scheduled lunch in the school dining hall. It was a nice dining hall with a lot of food options. It kinda looked like a modern styled food court. The food was really good too. after eating we walked around a little bit and went to the student store where I got a really sweet Norwich shirt. Then we just sat around until it was time for the rook Welcome Ceremony.
The Welcome Ceremony featured several speakers from the school. They addressed the parents and the rooks about the privilage that the rook have for being at this school and what to expect during their four years at Norwich. Once all the speakers were done we had 7 minutes to say goodbye to our rook. Mom, Nikki, and I all cried but surprisingly we kept ourselves together well. After the 7 minutes they formed into their platoons to be marched up to the parade grounds to begin rook week. Parents were not aloud to see their child after that time and we had to stay inside the building until all the rooks were taken away. James was at the front of his platoon and walked tall and straight amongst other slouching and scared rooks. That was the last time I saw him. I’ve talked to him a little since and I miss him a lot. I’m really proud of him and can’t wait to see him for Thanksgiving break and hear about his experience.