Well, the Mid Sib’s tour of military academies is finally complete … sort of.
So this was different, because we didn’t tour the campus together AND, of course, there was the little issue of her spending several days actually at the Academy. Long story short, it was great and not just because I happen to love Colorado.
A few highlights & observations:
- Mid Mom had a church commitment she couldn’t shake, so that meant Mid Sib & I were on our own for the first couple days of the adventure. We left a few days early to give her time to acclimate to the altitude … well, and do some sight-seeing, too! We spent the weekend checking out Red Rocks and taking a look at the University of Denver (which ended up being so good it may end up on her short list), Colorado University and Colorado School of Mines.
- Golden, Colorado is one really cool town.
- We also made a detour to stop at Columbine High School … she made the observation I was hoping she’d make – “it looks like a normal high school.” Yep, it could have happened anywhere.
- Once in Colorado Springs and hiked the Garden of the Gods, which I recalled from the trip the Mid & I made to Philmont Scout Ranch so many years ago. We had a great time exploring and at one point she said, “I’m starting to understand why you love it out West.”
- Talk about a small world: One of Mid Mom’s former piano students lives just outside the Academy. In fact, her husband works at the Academy … and is a graduate! I surprised Mid Mom by arranging dinner with them and it was a great reunion. This great couple serves as sponsor parents for cadets and plans for the Mid Sib are already in motion.
- We discovered MOD Pizza and Mid Sib proclaimed it the best thing ever. We found one near our church back home and she’s thrilled.
- The Summer Seminar students are allowed to use their phones in the evening which lead to one hilarious text. As background, Mid Sib has a habit of laughing in stressful situations and I predicted it would come back to bite her. It did. So the kids were supposed to memorize names and, of course, they didn’t. So the Cadets starting yelling. Mid Sib started laughing. Fast forward to the kids doing squats with their backpacks over their heads … and Mid Sib continuing to laugh. The text that evening began, “So today was Yelling Day …”
- The parents briefing was interesting in that they dug a bit into the weight each factor (academics, etc.) play in the process. One minor gripe – their “hype man” was the former head of Air Force recruitment and while he definitely got everyone excited about the opportunity, he kept saying things like “you have a choice to make.” The subtext was that the decision to attend AFA was up to these kids. We all know it’s really not. When your acceptance rate is in the single digits, the decision is not up to the students.
Long story short, she loved it. And she’s resolute that if she’s offered a nomination to any of the academies, she’d accept it. Does she have a favorite? Maybe, but she’s not letting on.
Nifty: Check out this video of the Air Force Band performing at the lunch after the parents briefing.
It struck me how spoiled you can get being on The Yard. You know, you walk through a gate, boom, you’re in the midst of downtown Annapolis. At the Air Force Academy, it’s about four miles from the dorms to the gate … and another four miles from the gate to civilization. Not to town, just to a shopping area off the interstate. Colorado Springs proper is actually down the road a piece.
Speaking of, Colorado Springs is one cool town. We made it to the Ice Cream Lab, had nitrogen-infused ice cream and both Mid Mom and Mid Sib were hooked.
Now the fun part is over. The grind of going through one application process with the Mid was grueling. The thought of four at the same time? Whoa boy.
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Side note: While Mid Sib was learning about life as a Zoomie and enduring Yelling Day, we made our way to Seattle, where the Mid was completing an internship at Microsoft. Yeah, pretty cool.
As an added bonus, we also took a day trip to Roslyn, Washington, which some folks will recognize as the location of the great television show, Northern Exposure, which we watched A LOT when we first got married. So it was pretty cool.
The cherry on the sundae was a trip to Laramie, Wyoming, where one of Mid Mom’s former church choir members had gone to school and decided to stay. I found one of the coolest B&Bs ever just outside of town – so if you’re looking for a great place to stay near Laramie, let me know! – and we had a great visit. Oh, we checked out the University of Wyoming while we were there, too.
The only real hiccup came the night before we left. Yep, our flight home was canceled. For a lot of reasons, we had to get home that day. So I spent a mortgage payment to get us the last three tickets to the East Coast. Oh well, all part of the adventure!
Oh, and why did I say the tour of academies was only sort of over? Well, Mid Sib got invited to a CVW at USNA. As the old saying goes, “may you live in interesting times.”