What an adventure I have been on. I have gone not only from one side of the world to another, but from one temperature extreme to another. It is almost surreal to find myself back at C of I for my last few semesters. I am originally from Melbourne, Australia which is quite different to anywhere in Idaho. I take the opportunity to go back home whenever I can afford it, but I always love to go home for Christmas. Christmas in Australia is the opposite of the Christmas experience in America for the main reason that it is summer time in the southern hemisphere.
I do work study in the art gallery, which means it is primarily my duty to man the gallery desk and try really hard to look important, but I've also been given the opportunity to hang a show and to help get ready for an exhibition by preparing the gallery and painting pedestals, as well as other assorted tasks. I was surprised at what goes into hanging peices; I hadn't thought about the need to measure so much to get the art properly distributed at eye level. It's really interesting!
Winter term at The College of Idaho is a wonderful and terrible thing. Wonderful because the classes are fun and the load is light. Terrible because winter is my arch nemesis. So, I cope by indulging in warm cups of goodness, slippers, and fuzzy throw blankets to ward off the coldness that I call "January"...thus far, an effective strategy until I need to walk to class or leave the apartment to forage for food. I have a theory that bears are more evolutionarily advanced than humans because we still have not adapted the ability to hibernate.
Tonight is my last in Caldwell for a few weeks—I’m off to London and Paris starting tomorrow. The suitcase is all packed up; I’ve stocked up on Ziploc bags, band-aids, and granola bars and have spent much of the last night writing out directions to and from different London and Paris metro stations.
Coming home from school is a weird experience. It’s like flipping a switch between two separate lives. I fit back into my old life like sliding in the last piece to a puzzle. I saw almost everyone I wanted to see over Christmas break, and even though it's been months since I’ve seen them, I felt like it hadn’t been more than a week. There were a few things that had changed, and a few people too, which is mildly disappointing in a way that I can’t quite describe.
I’ve had a lot of conversations about winter with my friends over the last few days. Monday was the first day of the winter session, and as I’m writing this, snow continues to fall. One of the things that I’ve grown to appreciate the most about our campus is how much it reflects the seasons. Granted, I’m from Boise and I’ve dealt with snow since infancy, but I don’t think I’d be able to deal with the perpetual summer that some colleges enjoy. Caldwell (and The College) is firmly bound to the mountainous climate of Idaho.
It’s the last Saturday of break and tomorrow I’m headed back to college. Given that I’m from Boise, that trip back falls far short of an epic journey. But I’m in store for a long trip on Wednesday, when I leave for a few weeks to London and Paris.
For me, winter break wasn't just a welcome relief from daily 9 AM classes and late nights studying the proper conjugation of French verbs--it was also an opportunity to make some extra money. Outside of writing for this blog and the Coyote, all the other stuff I'm involved in on campus has been strictly on a non-paying, volunteer basis. And as fun as it is taking pictures at Campus Ministries events, I couldn't pay for Christmas gifts with happy feelings and nifty portraits.
I survived my finals, but there was a moment at about 11:45 on Tuesday night of finals week when I wasn't so sure I would. I was sitting at the round table by the front door in Blatchley, studying chemistry. I was alone. Being alone was by my own design: I wanted a quiet, empty space to study. I got to Blatchley at about 9 that night, my third night in a row, but this was the first night that I had it all to myself. At least I thought I had it all to myself ... (DUN DUN DUUNNNNN).
So the break has been a relief. After plowing through more then a hundred books in three months, on topics ranging from rascism in ethnographic imagery to the role of the metropolis as a tool for crosscultural alienation, I was starved for simpler pleasures.
So I had a few projects I had set up for the break.
I took care of the chickens and took down the greenhouse I had constructed. As with most DIY things, the greenhouse worked, but was a eyesore. But, you learn with each passing movement.