Friday, October 1, 2010

Circular Conversation

One thing about Oberlin that I find great, is the plethora of activities happening on any given day. When I was looking at colleges, one of my biggest concerns was having enough to do in Ohio. From what I knew, Ohio was all cornfields and cows. Although I still find that to be true, the amount of Facebook invitations I receive on a daily basis is unreal. There are workshops, socials, sporting events, performances at the 'Sco, you name it. There are so many things going on at all times, that really, it's impossible to be bored.
What amazes me, is that with all the things to do, a common pastime at Oberlin is sitting in circles. Yes, sitting in circles. People sit in circles on North Quad, people sit in circles on Wilder Bowl. People sit in circles on weekdays, people sit in circles during the weekend. Why? Well, I have a theory.
Here at Oberlin, we are as involved as college students get. Everyone has a cause, everyone has a passion, and everyone has at least two majors. Personally knowing how it feels to be busy beyond all belief, I know sometimes taking a study break consists of doing absolutely nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except apparently sitting in a circle.
I believe that as Oberlin students, although we are busy out of our minds, we know it's okay to take the time to do things that matter. One of those things, is to have intellectual conversations, just for the sake of talking. With cell phones, Facebook, email, and all the other things we do to preoccupy our time, many people forget how fulfilling good conversation can be. It doesn't have to be about quantum physics, but anything that makes us think about the world we live in and analyze the world of tomorrow will suffice.
So as we graduate and become the future that is so often spoken of, I hope we remember to take the time to remember the important things. As silly as it seems, sitting in circles gives me hope that as Oberlin students, we all possess the ability to make a difference and will be successful in bettering whatever cause we choose.

"OMG, it's Tappan Square!"

In the last few months, I've noticed that a common trait us Obies all possess is that art of explanation. I mean, before I was even accepted I found myself giving a condensed history of Oberlin College every time somebody asked me where I was applying. I believe that's when I realized I really loved Oberlin. Honestly, you've got to love a place if you don't mind convincing everyone you know it's a real school.
As much as I love it here, I wonder how the rest of the country perceives Oberlin. Are we really even on the map? I don't know about the rest of the United States, but when I'm home in Miami, Florida, I mention Oberlin and people look at me like I'm talking about Hogwarts School of Witch and Wizardry. For awhile, my friends even joked that Oberlin was my excuse to really take a year off from high school before furthering my education.
This past summer I had an internship in San Francisco, and since a ton of Obies hail from the Bay Area, I figured I would finally be in a place where people would recognize the name and even know a little bit about the school. Truth is, although I didn't get as many blank stares, Oberlin was still "some ambiguous hippie school where nobody wore shoes." So disappointing.
Upon arriving back to campus in mid-August, I guess I had come to terms with Oberlin being this unknown, imaginary place to the rest of real world. I figured as long as I knew it's brilliance, what the general population thought was negligible.
The weekend before classes started, the volleyball team packed up and headed for Wisconsin for a two-day tournament. The morning before our first game, we were sitting and eating breakfast in the lobby, when we heard mention of Oberlin College on the television. Someone turned up the volume, and we all crowded around the set thrilled to see that on CNN there was a story being aired about our school. The story talked about how the college has a program to provide funds for students who live in Oberlin to attend the college. Honestly, it was just so cool.
That moment kind of opened my eyes. Since then, I worry less about how well known the name is, and think more about the great things that this establishment is doing for its students. We're all just so lucky. I'm just saying, if CNN recognizes the name on my diploma, I think I'll get by just fine in the real world.

Monday, August 2, 2010

There's no such thing as goodbye.

Which is something I keep reminding myself. It's 10:22 pm and my last night in San Francisco. If I've ever had to say goodbye to you, you know I hate it and it usually results in lots of tears. I think I prepared myself for this one though, by beginning to cope with my departure last Tuesday. Really, I actually have an okay mindset about it. When I first got here, I'm not going to lie, I wasn't quite sure what the hoop-la was all about. And even through the beginning of July, the East Coast just seemed better. But somehow, without even realizing it, I grew to really love this city. I feel like I've changed so much and learned myself so much better, in ways I can't even fully explain yet. Maybe I'm ready to move on because I've learned the things I needed to learn and I'm ready to attack the rest of my life with this newfound mentality. Whatever it is, I like it.
I'm so thankful for my San Francisco family, and so thankful for Rocket letting me be apart of this wonderful family. I don't know how I keep getting lucky enough to become close with great people, but trust me I appreciate where luck has landed me. It's good to know that although home is in Miami, it's also in D.C., and now San Francisco. And just like I have my own personal slice of the DMV at school, I get to wake up each morning with a reminder of the Bay and just how sweet of place it really is.
I've learned a lot and for sure, loved a lot. There's no way I'll forget this summer. And while it's still hard to say goodbye, especially not knowing when I'll return, it's not sad and there are no tears (maybe I'm speaking prematurely, airports are killers). It's more like see you later.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

“I’m telling you, all roads, all roads lead to Oberlin.”

This past weekend was the pinnacle of my entire summer. One week ago, I was sitting in the San Francisco International Airport awaiting the arrival of my family. Let me tell you, the arrival gate is a great place. The best arrivals of the night:
This girl was sitting across from us and waiting and waiting and finally, this Marine comes out of the terminal. She jumps into his arms, they hug, and she refuses to let go. At first I thought she was his sister, but I’m pretty sure nobody kisses their sister like that.
Then, there was this little man and his dad. And this little man was dressed to impress. He had to be picking up a woman. Unfortunately, my family showed up before said woman (presumably his mother haha) made an appearance.
Having my family here was fantastic, really. They’re just as batty as ever, but still great people. It was nice to have them here, but still have my own space. After work Thursday, we went to the Golden Gate Bridge and Twin Peaks, cutesy touristy stuff.
Friday, I took the last vacation day I could manage and we drove up to Napa. It was a nice day trip, mostly for my parents to do some wine tasting. Really, just being around them was great.
The real fun started on Saturday when my best friend, Taylor, arrived. Home girl actually came out to the West Coast for Brave New Voices in Los Angeles, but she was sweet enough to swing through. That evening, the whole lot of us (my family, Megan’s family, Taylor) had dinner at Megan’s mom’s house.

I only have that one picture from the night and there’s no way it accurately portrays the amount of love in the house that night. So much love.
Sunday, Megan, Taylor, Aldo (Megan’s brother), and I did a mural tour in The Mission, which I believe is my favorite part of San Francisco. It’s warm, there’s beautiful artwork all over the buildings, and it’s a predominantly Spanish speaking area.

So pretty much, it’s either going to be The Castro or The Mission for me.
After an odd poetry/one art play reading thing and a short walk down Haight Street, we retired to the house for the night. Aldo went to dinner with his father, my mother came over, and out came the wine and champagne. The drinks were quite good, but the conversation was great. We talked about religion, the state of our various love lives, and decided that all road ultimately lead to Oberlin. All of them, ya heard?
Now it’s Wednesday night and I’m currently watching Miss Congeniality with Megan and Emiliano (classic). Taylor headed to L.A. Monday afternoon, and family headed back east that same night. I miss them, but it won’t be long before I’m sleeping in my own bed. Next week is my last week of work and before then I have to write an abstract of my project (due Monday), finish and prepare a Powerpoint presentation for lab meeting next Thursday, create and print my poster, and ultimately prepare my presentation for this shadigs in Atlanta. Oh, and I don’t have results yet. So the rest of this week/beginning of this week should be interesting. Go me.
The summer’s almost over, but there’s still more fun to be had and many people I love to be seen.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"What's your name? What's your size?"

I'm so busy.
I took last Friday off, went to Santa Barbara for the weekend (watched the World Cup, which was SOO satisfactory), and now that I'm back I feel like I'm running out of time to finish everything.
The sweetest thing about the last few weeks was Gabe coming to visit. Don't get me wrong, I love my Oberlin people, but those friendships that survive from home are so great. A month from today I'll be home. I'm really excited to see a couple people.
Here's the blog entry from the OCVB blog, it know it's cheating but at least it's entertaining to see me as a super peppy volleyball player.
My family comes tonight. My best friend, voice of reason, SISTER, comes Friday. Atlanta sooner, home later.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Let me guess, another dude just grabbed your butt?"

I'm slacking, I know, I know. But honest to Allah, this past weekend completely drained me.
Pride was awesome. Just awesome. First of all, Megan's godmother's co workers, Claudia and Shelley, are just fantastic people for taking me in for the weekend. Megan and company took a small vacation, but I decided to stay in SF since I was a little behind on work from my South Carolina trip and G-d knows I would never forgive myself if I missed Pride. So Saturday morning I went with Claudia and Shelley to one of their friend's houses for a party. This is where I got my first real look at San Francisco lesbians with partners and babies. We all know how much I love babies. I loved it. Loved it. Except for the small gay man with frosted tips who kept talking about his fear of carbs. People are so interesting.
After the party, we made our way to Dolores Park where, the day before the Pride Parade, the entire San Francisco lesbian population chills for hours before marching through the streets dancing and just being free (Dyke March). After 'bird-watching' for a few hours, Claudia and Shelley headed back to the house and I decided to hang around and do the march while waiting for Emiliano to get in the city. So I'm walking around and this woman with a shaved head approaches me and tells me how much she loves my hair. I wish with every fiber of my being I remembered her name. What I do remember is that she's an aspiring comedian and she's really not very funny, just kinda crazy. Her friend group consisted of this super blonde girl who was super friendly but completely distraught over the fact that she was too sober to not be annoyed by baldy, a short gym teacher named Minova who almost got into a physical fight with some people over shrubbery, and a much older woman named Laura who had a beard. Surprise, surprise the fact that I was nineteen was a big hoop-la to them. Laura was my favorite, we ended up walking together for most of the march and she told me a lot about the lesbian community and movement in San Francisco. People are SO interesting.
It took a bit of time and a couple taxi rides (my very first by myself!) but I managed to meet Emiliano at the house, change, and have the two of us get back to the Castro. If you don't know what the Castro is, look it up. Anyway, what happens the night before the actual parade is this thing called Pink Party, which is a party on Castro Street with music and debauchery that lasts all night. It was wild. Wildddd. Early in the night, Emiliano and I found ourselves dancing next to one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen. She was clearly very close to my age and we were eye-ing the shit out of each other. BUT, I just had to be my shy self and not say anything. If you were the girl with the amazing hair and hoop earrings, you should contact me ASAP. ASAP.
Unfortunately the night ended early, when three people were shot (actually right in the area where I was eye-ing the beautiful girl, scary). News Article
Stephen Powell dated a friend of Megan's in high school. It's a sad world we live in where people think guns settle disputes.
After we walked across a good part of the city and managed to hail a cab, Emiliano and I arrived back at the house and five minutes later I was dead asleep. Out for the count.
Sunday morning, Emiliano met his friend Mya for breakfast while I went to Claudia's for a brunch she throws every pride. Favorite part of brunch: Maren, a two year old I met on Saturday, decided she really liked me all of a sudden, gave me a hugeee hug, and proceeded to plop herself in my lap and prove to me she knew the entire alphabet. When I asked her to say the alphabet backwards, I think she decided she didn't like me as much; but, I still got a giant hug goodbye. Someone give me a child.
The parade was dope, but by the afternoon I'd had enough of the techno music and the crazies. The Backstreet Boys DID perform but I decided to skip out and watch True Blood at Claudia's instead. And I'm okay with that. If you saw the amount of people that were there and were experiencing the immense pain I was feeling in my feet, you would have done the same.
After all that, it's taken me most of the week to get my life back together. It's July and I'm starting to prepare for my presentation here at the end of the month and the one in Atlanta in August. James and Jamila sat me down yesterday and asked me rapid fire questions for ten minutes. I have a lot to look over.
I can't believe I only have a month left. I'm starting to get attached to the lab (especially Ivan, he's my buddy) and I'm going to have to leave soon enough. On the bright side, I've found a place where you can creep on all the people I work with yourself -- Hereee
Haha, expect a super science-y entry soon, I need to familiarize myself with this material and people probably want to finally know what I'm doing here.
So, I have these four female friends, four of my best friends ever. They couldn't all be more different, but they all have this thing in common. They are the last four people on the face of G-d's green earth who would ever, ever date anyone. I mean, there's nothing wrong with them, but for various reasons they just don't swim in the deep end of the pool. Until now. It has happened. We're one down, and she's got it bad. Don't get me wrong, I've never been happier for her in my life, but I'm just issuing a warning to you common folk. If it can happen to one, it can happen to all. Nostradamus is real people, be prepared.
On a more mature note, I've realized how much I love snail mail and I've become an expert at sending it. If you've given me your address, you best be checking your mailbox. If you want old fashioned paper/postcard love, give it to me! I'll for sure, for sure write you.
Other than that, I'm just coasting. The 4th should be good, I'm going to see Gabe (who's finally in California) in the next few days, Santa Barbara again in a week, FAMILY AND TRBJ a few days after that. Life is good.
I must go now, we're waking up in six hours to watch the Netherlands v. Brasil game at a bar before work. Hahaha. I'm going to be wearing green and yellow (Marcelo!), but it really doesn't matter who wins this game because España is going to annihilate whoever they play in the finals. Por supuesto.

love to you all- chinwe

Postscript - I just began Crepúsculo (Twilight in Español!). I need not forget everything I've learned/must be fluent next summer! Details forthcoming!