Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to School

One of my college friends, Becky, stopped by for a visit over the weekend. It was wonderful to see her, and since it's been ten years now since our undergrad days together, it made me a little nostalgic for the way things were back then.

Which inspired today's adventure: we took a trip back to the campus to show the kids my old stomping grounds. (I still remember visiting the local university with my mother and sisters when I was little. We would picnic by the lake, watching the swans and wading in the water. Back then, the beautiful old buildings and wide lawns seemed so enormous and captivating.)

Going back to the campus today brought back so many memories: Becky and I arriving breathless to our Russian Literature discussion section, having madly rushed across the enormous campus from Biochemistry in only ten minutes. The physics professor who was equally passionate about the precautionary principle and the fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach. Learning about the inner workings of the body, down to the tiniest movements of electrons; grappling with more philosophical concepts like phenomenology and emergence (all of which fascinate me still). The insidious smell of acetone that seemed to permeate the entire Organic Chemistry Lab building. Studying Southeast Asian culture while enjoying a vegan Thai buffet lunch (which, I must add, we also enjoyed today). And later, in grad school, organizing happy hours and potlucks with my fellow food groupies (AKA nutrition students). Strolling through a Hogwarts-like portico with a friend on our way to a yoga class. Many, many hours in the libraries and many, many bus rides. And also, of course, some tedious classes in windowless rooms. It was hard to appreciate these things while in the midst of the stress and intensity of those years, but now I can look back at them fondly.

But, I digress! We arrived on campus this morning with a goal in mind: I wanted to see a little corner that I had never before seen. I knew it would be amazing (it is called Sylvan Grove, after all), but I wasn't quite prepared for the mystical, secluded feel of it. A true secret garden!

 The four columns, representing "Loyalty," "Industry," "Faith," and "Efficiency"

In the grove

  B&D demonstrating the scale of the columns

 "I'm going to take a nap right here."

 The quad

 Watching the "waterfall"

My family

As we were leaving, we walked by the statue of George Washington that has greeted me on my way into campus many times over the years. C was amazed: "How did he get up there?" After deciding that the sculptor had climbed to the top of the pedestal and made him there, she mused, "He looks over everyone. He's like the lifeguard here!"

I couldn't have put it better myself.

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