Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bennington College & Peter Dinklage

I finally went through my pics from Vermont, and I'm going to break them up into three parts.  Most of today's photos are from my campus, Bennington College.  We went on this trip for a little celebrity stalking, and a break from our daily lives.   Who doesn't enjoy that? :)

This is the only photo from the hotel, and I had to share it.  Let me start of by saying we did not stay at Best Western.  I thought this tray was brilliant, Aaron and I couldn't decided, do you think they stole the trays?  Or do you think they bought them at a garage sale or thrift store?   The coffee mugs are amazing.  I really wished the comforter had matched.  I didn't take a photo of this, but they had two pieces of 'art' hanging on separate walls, and they were the same exact watercolor flowers!  What an awesome design idea! Hehe.  'I like this art so much, I'm going to buy two, and hanging them both in the same room.'  Awesome.  I'd totally stay at this hotel again.  No seriously, no sarcasm there, I like their quirkiness!

Bennington has changed a ton since I last lived on this slice of heaven, but this is a view that has not.  I used to spend a  lot of time on this lawn, or inside on cold snowy/rainy days looking out at it.  We call it The End Of The World.  It's the perfect place to sit, and think about life, and everything, and nothing, all at the same time.    

Another view that hasn't changed.  This is my home.  I dream of birch trees and tall grasses.  I rarely went down this path, but I crossed over it often.  It leads to the music buildings, and though I enjoy music, I have no talents for that art.  I would crossover this path, because obviously it's a lovely place to be, but I also lived to the left for my last two years at Bennington, and the places I spent most of my time were to the right.  

My last semester, I lived in this building, my window was the one on top.  What a lovely place to hide away in.  Which is exactly what I wanted to do my last term.  I wanted to get my work done, and get out of there.  I love Bennington, and it was an amazing place to spend four years.  I know now, no where will ever compare.   While I was there daily life was a struggle, and there aren't words to describe the emotional roller coaster I road during my time there.  

Ah, but his smile makes this place even better.  I wish we had more time here.  More than a weekend, or a week to retreat to Bennington.  In this perfect spring evening, it was easy to imagine we'd enjoy a lifetime here.  It's easy to forget the winters.   

I was sitting on the bench next to Aaron, laying backwards to take this photo.  I love how lush and green everything is.  Ignore the electrical/telephone lines.  Isn't it lovely?

I'm getting really good at finding mushrooms.  This one was hidden in the tall grass around the bench we were sitting on.  Aaron decided this means I need to start growing mushrooms.  I can't wait to buy the goods.  He wants me to buy this DVD first.  The first four parts are free on his website, if you're interested.  

This is the view from the bench, looking out on Bennington's little campus pond.  The building in distance is the back side of VAPA, the visual and preforming arts building.  I spent a TON of time there.  Most of my classes and homework happened in that building.  

This is the main event we came for.  Graduation, but we didn't know anyone graduating.  We just wanted to see Peter Dinklage give the commencement speech, and we are thrilled we made the trip.  The student nominated class speaker was great.  I didn't expect to enjoy anything but Mr. Dinklage. However, the student speaker made a romantically articulate speech about the journey one makes at Bennington, with thought provoking Proust quotes.    Perfect for a Bennington graduation.  

Now I can't delay sharing my awesome photos of Peter Dinklage any longer.  Okay, they aren't the greatest, I was very far away.  I ran up to a much closer spot, but I was still a good twenty feet away, in a dark tent, and just a bit nervous.  I wanted to wait to get a photo of him looking in my direction, but I when got to the tenth photo, I decided it was time to go back to my far far away spot, and enjoy the speech.  That is what we came for, after all.  
gosh, he's handsome.  :)
I enjoyed how he described himself during his time at Bennington in the late 80's early 90's, "I wore a woman's black velvety cape, black tights, black combat boots, and a scowl."  I think that's what he said, and something to the effect that he fit right in, and felt at home.  The costume changed by my time at the college, but the same feeling of belonging in all my awkwardness resounded.  

He talked about how he struggled to make it after he graduated.  He worked at the same dead end office job for 6 years, and squatted in an industrial loft, with one window, he couldn't see out of for ten years.  He reflected on how amazing the people at Bennington are, and drove home how unlikely it is to find such bright shiny people anywhere else on Earth.  Peter told a story of how someone once said to him, "For  Bennington being such a small college, there sure seems to be an awful lot of you around".  That's a true testament to how prolific, and outstanding Bennington students are.  

My favorite part of his speech, was when he told us about a recent walk he took in Manhattan.  I'm paraphrasing but it was something to the effect of ...  "A flock of excited girls cornered me, but they hadn't a clue what to say, and then it came out that they were studying theater at NYU.  I asked them what plays they were doing this year, and they told me they weren't allowed to act during their first year.  I think I told them to hang in there.  At Bennington if a first year student wanted to write, produce, and act in a play, the lights would already be hung".  Later while writing the commencement speech he realized he should have told them to go out there and get a role, and not to wait for someone to tell them it was okay.  That was the biggest bit of advice he had to impart.  Don't keep dreaming about tomorrow, and waiting for a sign to go for your goals.  If you're waiting for permission to proceed with your life, you'll be waiting a long time.  If we want something to happen in our lives, we need to take it into our own hands, and make it happen.  We are in control of our own destiny, and the only thing stopping us from getting what we want is ourselves.  

I'll leave you with that to think about, cause it certainly has me thinking.  Happy DIYing, chris.  

P.S.  Here is a video I just found of his speech, credit due to Bennington College.  It's a great speech worth watching.