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.
It's been a while since my last post, hasn't it? What with the stress of finals, preparing for and performing in the Feast of Carols, and the zaniness of Christmas shopping and present wrapping, updating the blog took sort of a low priority. But now that Christmas is finally here and Winter Term is looking a lot closer this side of the holidays, I figured it would be a perfect time to gather my thoughts and reflect on the semester I just completed.
I am currently in Phoenix airport waiting for my connecting flight to Los Angeles. Very shortly, I will be boarding a flight all the way to Australia! That’s right, I am going home for Christmas break and I am probably going the furthest away from Caldwell, ID of anyone. I am able to fly home today because I managed to finish all my finals yesterday and get packed just in time to get on a flight out of Boise. Now I begin the long trek home, which includes copious layovers, long flights (around 14 hrs!) and expensive airport food.