2010 Duke Graduate Student Campout, Part 2: We’re not worthy!

As soon as the first checkout was completed, and darkness fell on the Blue Zone, it was pretty clear that the CCMBA setup was just a little bit less than what other tailgaters brought to the party.  For sure, the CCMBA campers didn’t quite have the same opportunity to plan, given most of us flew into Durham and we all spent two weeks in class.  While we did have an RV as a central command post (big thanks to Pat S. for setting that up!), but that’s not what other Dukies were thinking.

Alabama stomps Florida in Football...on the side of a U-Haul!

Like the engineers parked next to us.  Not content to spend the weekend playing beer games and doing other tailgating fun…these guys brought a whole multimedia setup!  As neighbors, it was a bit slow watching the Halo tournament that was going on, but once they started showing college football on Saturday, we started gathering a ton of passers-by just hanging out.

To our other side of the RV, we had a group of Asian grad students who went all out, bringing in a catered food setup complete with a deep fryer and sushi!  Within viewing distance of the RV, there were people deep frying turkeys, charcoal grills, the aforementioned sushi…it was clear that there was a ton of planning that went into some of these campsites.

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2010 Duke Graduate Student Campout, Part 1

It’s taken me 4-5 days to get around to writing about the campout, which can only mean one thing:  It was one hell of a party!

The graduate student campout is a shortened-down version of the “Krzyzewskiville” tradition, where Duke undergrads campout for ridiculous periods of time to ensure admission to specific basketball games (most notably the Duke-UNC game).  The graduate student version is slimmed down quite a bit; for 2010, the campout started 7 p.m. Friday, October 1st and ended Sunday, October 3rd at 7 a.m. or so.  In between…

Pre-campout:  A long night leads to a late start

While the campout didn’t officially start until 7 p.m. Friday, the preparations began Thursday afternoon to setup tents, with another setup from 9 a.m. to Noon Friday.  Given that the CCMBA class was tied up for quite some time Thursday evening and well into the early morning Friday (it was for charity after all!), I got a late start setting up my tent.  It was clear when I arrived that many others did, in fact, have a large headstart; there was a whole “tent city” setup by the time we arrived, setup in grids with “street” names like “Singler St” and others named after Duke Men’s Basketball players.

Luckily, Mark B., Ray, Louie, and Laurent had already staked out a spot, so my wife and I set up camp about 30 feet from the lone port-o-potty up the hill.  More on that later…

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Home is where everything is

I’ve been home for about 36 hours now and all I can say is that it’s good to be home.  The last three weeks have been amazingly stressful, from breaking the hinge on my laptop and having an offer on a house fall through before I left, to eating and sleeping poorly in St. Petersburg and culminating with a death in the family while at the residency.

Suffice to say, I’ll probably not be writing a whole lot in the next several days/week.  While I still have a few highlights worth sharing, overall there isn’t a whole lot of positive I can say about my St. Petersburg experience.  Whether those thoughts are ‘real’ or not, it’s how I’ll always remember this trip.  In the meantime, it’s great to be back with my wife, in my own bed, eating food I like, in an environment that I can control (as much as anyone is really in control of their life and surroundings).

I can’t remember the source or the exact wording, but there’s a quote that goes something like “The best part about returning to place is not seeing how it has changed, but rather how you have changed.”  Perhaps I’ll need to return to St. Petersburg in the future to figure out which part of that quote is true.