It’s been over a month since my last entry. In that time, I’ve worked through a lot of my grief over Chester’s passing. It’s been hard at times, but having the support of my friends has helped. I’ve made art, sent cards to friends to cheer them up, and stayed connected with the Linkin Park community on Facebook. The biggest thing I did was host a Connecticut memorial for Chester at Constitution Plaza, something I have never done before. It was a small but emotional ceremony with a lot of singing, talking, and making new friends. One of the most beautiful (also semi-creepy and cathartic) moments was at the beginning of the memorial. As we began singing “One More Light”, a sudden downpour fell upon our group of eight. We scrambled to the shelter of a group of trees near the fountain, and stayed there until the storm had passed. We thought it could be a sign that we weren’t alone in our grief, because from then on the clouds lifted and it turned into a gorgeous, sunny afternoon.

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That evening, a few of my new friends and I got dinner at Tisane Euro-Asian Cafe in Hartford, one of my favorite restaurants in the West End. I have to give their staff a HUGE shoutout because they were especially kind to our group. As soon as they learned we had been at the memorial, they put Linkin Park Radio on their radio for the entire time we were at the restaurant. We spent the next hour or so talking about anything and everything, which was a great release after the memorial. Life can hit you hard, but there are people there to lift you up if you look for them.

One of the things I’ve found is that I’m thinking in terms of “before July 20” and “after July 20” in regards to how my life has been this summer. Before July 20, my life was full of stress but I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. After, it seemed like all I was doing was counting the days since it happened and wondering when things would get better. Slowly life has returned to a new normal. In that respect, here’s a recap of my summer.

Before July 20: Collinsville H.O.T

TBRYAC Funk Allstarshe weekend before Chester passed, I had attended the Collinsville H.O.T. festival, which was a ton of fun! The festival celebrates the village of Collinsville and all the exciting businesses and vendors who make it great. One of the highlights of the festival was a performance by the BRYAC Funk Allstars, which features members of two famous jam bands: Deep Banana Blackout and Kung Fu. Having listened to jam bands a lot when I was younger, I was super excited to see them. Their performance was absolutely worth waiting for; a mix of energizing funk and relaxing jam music. I was thrilled, and so was the crowd that filled the Canton Town Hall parking lot where the performance took place. There were people young and old swaying and dancing to their set, which was great to see.

After July 20: “IT”, Downtown New Haven, and New Hampshire

A couple weeks after the memorial, my boyfriend and I took a trip down to New Haven to try out “IT”, a ropes course at Jordan’s Furniture. It’s marketed as one of the world’s largest indoor ropes courses, and while I’m not 100 percent sure about that claim, it was certainly a lot of fun! There’s a mix of easy and challenging elements spanning four floors, and two zip lines connecting participants to each side of the ropes course. I would have to say the zip lines were the best part!

After “IT”, we drove into downtown New Haven to grab dinner and check out Barcade, a bar where you can play classic arcade games while you drink! It was incredibly crowded when we visited, which dampered our fun. On the bright side, I did get in a few games of pinball!

Finally, I had my much needed vacation in New Hampshire. Much like last year, I got to try out new activities I had never done before. The first day I was there, my mother, grandmother and I took a boat ride to Wolfborough, which was both exciting and relaxing. Then, towards the end of the week I ventured to Gunstock Mountain, which has a ton of summer activities for the whole family! I loved riding on the Mountain Coaster and working my way through the Aerial Treetop Adventure ropes course. By the end of the day, I was tired but content!

The Future

The next few months are going to be exciting and interesting. It’s fall here in Connecticut, so there are plenty of fairs and seasonal activities to behold. The biggest thing on my plate is that my chorus will be traveling to Las Vegas for the Sweet Adelines International Harmony Classic in a few weeks! I am hoping to get back into blogging, so keep an eye on Outside My Nine to Five to see what happens!


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