Stephanie Antonucci

WRT120: Effective Writing

Professor McCourt

9 December 2020

Looking Forward

With humankind being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we have found ourselves with little to nothing to look forward to; our entire future is uncertain, without a specific end date in sight. With such little hope, we do things to pass time. We barreled our way through a multitude of different trends: Tiger King conspiracies, making bread and whipped coffee, dying our hair, two-week workout challenges, and so many more. And for those of us who have been lucky enough to see our friends throughout these past months, things have felt easier because of the love and support we’ve been gifted.

In such dark and troubling times for the United States, visiting Laporte, Pennsylvania throughout the summer was my light. I was able to gain perspective in what people and places truly make me happy. And this newfound realization is what led me to the biggest decision of my life: deciding to rent a house for two whole months with my best friend, Jenna, up in Sullivan County for the summer of 2021. I brought Jenna up to Laporte for the first time in August of this year, and not only did she fall in love with this place just like I did, but she also fell in love with one of my best friends — who was born and raised in Sullivan County — Noah Brown, making the dynamic of our friend group even more amazing. Jenna has been my best friend for almost two years now, and her approval of Laporte meant the world to me. Noah, who I met around one and a half years ago at Lake Mokoma, became one of my best friends when we actually started dating two other lake-goers at the same time; him Kyra, and me Mason (who are sister and brother!) We helped each other through the many ups and downs of our relationships, and in turn grew extremely closely bonded for life.

Jenna had pitched the idea of living at a nearby beach for a whole summer to me earlier this year, and I was completely on board. It wasn’t until I had the idea to bring Jenna up to Laporte that I figured, “why not live here for a whole summer?” For some reason, Jenna jumped on board with me before she even visited the county for the first time. Next, we had to start scouring Airbnb and Vrbo for houses to rent. It was extremely challenging because almost no one would jump at the chance to rent out their house for two months to two random girls from Chester County. We looked for two months straight, messaging house after house, and we always got the same answer: “no, thank you.” We were starting to lose hope until I decided to scroll through Airbnb listings one last time. That’s when I came across a quaint little one-story house in a neighboring town to Laporte called Hughesville. I looked through the pictures, the amenities, the reviews, and the house rules, and it seemed like fate. A two bedroom, built-in-the-sixties house that’s decorated with far too much red white and blue color schemes with a ten-acre private backyard, and the only fast-food chains in the whole county being a five-minute drive away. Though the drive from Hughesville to Lake Mokoma is around 30 minutes long, the lost gas money will be worth the countless driving jam sessions that will be had, with Jenna and I singing our hearts out to Adele, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and so on. In addition, this house was the cheapest option we had found yet so far, which reeled us in even further. I messaged the owner, Susan, and plead our case. She responded back almost instantly and told us she was a bit hesitant because she had had a bad experience with hosting teenagers in the past, then asked to learn a bit more about Jenna and me. I did not hold back; I basically told her our whole life stories.

After reading about our genuine love for Sullivan County and our friends within it, Susan decided to take us on! After months of disappointments and dashed hopes, our manifestations finally came to fruition. Susan allowed Jenna, my parents, and I to come and visit the house before we officially booked it, which gave us a chance to inspect the house and surrounding areas before jumping. Everything was just as we had hoped! A week later, we booked the house and paid a down payment. But our hard work wasn’t over; in fact, it was just beginning.

The next step to making this dream of ours come true, and the step that we are still currently working through, is saving money. I knew that earning and saving money as a full-time college student would not be easy, but I didn’t care. My dreams are worth all the tears, blisters, eye bags, and stressful days. Working five days a week on top of having zoom lectures and piling up assignments, all amidst a pandemic is a worthy challenge for Stephanie Antonucci!

Since October, I’ve been saving the vast majority of every paycheck, wearing a mask for twelve-hour straight shifts, dealing with the mask-ne, the dry hands, the fatigue, everything. I’ve made it this far, and I intend to make it all the way, until I can call that little mountain house my home. This pandemic taught me so many things; to have self-respect, to be grateful, to be humble. But the number one thing I can say I’m most grateful to have learned is what having confidence, hope, and strength can do for my sense of self-worth. I know how hard I can work, how passionate I can be, and how much love I have, both around me and to offer others. For myself specifically, being able to spend time with my best friends gave me the purest form of joy, allowing me to appreciate them and our common vacation spot in Laporte, Pennsylvania one thousand times more. So, even amidst a pandemic, you can find yourself something to look forward to if you work hard enough and believe in how capable you are of making yourself happy. If I were to ask myself six months ago about living in Laporte, I never would’ve imagined I’d actually make that dream come true. Being able to have this big life step to look forward to is quite honestly the only thing that makes me word as hard as I do. Between keeping all A’s in school and earning hefty paychecks every week, the little free time I have left is spent daydreaming about Laporte; the warm summer sun on my skin, the glistening lake waters, the swaying trees, the laughs spent with people I love the most, the many hours of volleyball on the lakefront sand court, the countless purchases of our favorite drink, Peace Tea, which is sold exclusively in the lake house’s snack bar, the parties, the late night lake swims, the inside pig-Latin jokes, and so, so, so many more.