The University of Notre Dame du Lac: Part 1

The trip began at 7 AM on Thursday, November 17, 2011.

From Kansas, to Misery...excuse me, Missouri...to Iowa, then Illinois, and then Domeward bound to Indiana! Some may ask, “It’s Indiana. What’s so special about it? You’re not going to NYC.” Correct you are, sir! It is nothing like New York City (or so I’m assuming, since I’ve never been to New Yawk). But Indiana houses what is now my favorite place in the world....

The University of Notre Dame du Lac.

You hear about the storied campus and its traditions, but stories are just stories until you live them. Then, they become part of you.

The Golden Dome. The Grotto (at night). The ceiling of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The quads. Touchdown Jesus. The marching band. The football team. The stadium. The Gug. Joyce Center. A Pep Rally. A hockey game.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

After 12 hours of driving (technically 13 since we lost an hour due to the time difference), my dad and I arrived in South Bend at dark. While we were passing the University to the North, I caught a glimpse of the Dome. A glimpse of beauty and fame. A glimpse of legend and awe. A glimpse of the future I hope to have. The glimpse brought me to tears.

But it was just a glimpse.

We had to go to the hotel, check in, settle down, etc. But I had to see the campus.

A glimpse of Notre Dame : Anna :: A quick sip of wine : an alcoholic.

After some convincing my dad, he finally caved and we headed to campus.
I have one thing to say about my first impression of campus: What do you say about something that’s older than sliced bread since you can’t say it’s the best thing since sliced bread?

As we drove on campus, I saw buildings that I’d only seen in pictures. I probably sounded like an idiot in the passenger seat gasping at each one and saying, “THE GUG!” or “TOUCHDOWN JESUS! AND JOYCE CENTER!” I don’t care though. I think passion is mistaken for idiocy far too often.

We parked in the Notre Dame Stadium parking lot and walked to God Quad. When we got there, my face was completely numb*.

*Double entendre. It was 21 degrees with a biting wind, so my face was literally numb, and I was excited and couldn’t stop smiling, so it was figuratively numb.

The dome is GORGEOUS at night (see figure 1.2), but compared to the Grotto...my God, there is no comparison. Tears again. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing like the Grotto at night. The cross-campus walk in 21 degree weather was worth every minute of seeing something so breathtaking.

Figure 1.2

After that, it was back to the hotel to get some rest for the next day.

I didn’t get any rest. The hotel we stayed at was...eh. The heater was loud, and so was my dad. Three cheers for sleep apnea! In short, I had a very un-restful sleep and still feel like a zombie. That lack of rest would not, however, let my energy fail me the following day.

To be continued....

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