We don't get to travel nearly as much as we would like to or that we may have at one point in our lives thought we would. We've got rather normal, sedentary jobs. We have a home. We have bills. All that good stuff.
What this means is that we tend to remember our few trips very fondly. We take time to talk about them and think about what we'd do when we go back. We also like to think about how a place we've visited may have changed in the years since we've been there.
Katie is a big fan of colleges. She likes to visit them just to see what they're all about, see if they fit her "ideal" of what a college campus should look like, and also buy a sweatshirt. She loves her college sweatshirts.
Together we've been to Northern Illinois (our alma mater... go Huskies!), Stanford, UW-Madison, Illinois State, University of Hawaii-Manoa, UC-Berkeley, and some others that I can't quite recall.
And I, during my own personal travels, have been to a few additional campuses. In all these travels, I've only ever seen one college that fit my ideal of what a campus should look like. Big, beautiful buildings that looked like pieces of art. Large, open expanses of grass with students laying out doing homework and playing frisbee. A student union that was unlike any I had seen up to that point. A garden of flowers that, when viewed from afar, formed the school's logo... an orange-bordered burgundy V connected at the top to the letter T.
It wasn't just the campus, either. The surrounding town was beautiful as well. And it was one of the first towns to be completely wired to the World Wide Web, with a company setting up Web sites for every little mom 'n' pop shop in the 'Burg. It was so ahead of the curve that you couldn't help but love it, admire it, and wish it was your own town.
I longed for the day I could take Katie there to show her what my brain and heart had forever internalized as the "perfect" college campus.
Sadly, due to the incomprehensible madness of one idiot, that ideal is forever ruined. Katie's first view of this beautiful locale is now through the lens of a video camera capturing the aftermath.
Of course, I'm talking about Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more popularly known as Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA, the site of yesterday's armed slaughter that took the lives of around 33 people.
There's no need to go into details as they're all over the news and will be for weeks to come. But I would like to take a moment to remember those who lost their lives and offer my condolences to their friends and families as well as to those who work there and live in the neighboring town.
It's going to be a rough going for some time, Hokies. And it's a shame that you, or anyone for that matter, should have to endure this kind of pain. But my heart goes out to you all.
I love you, VT.