Home and home

So, 1 month after arriving at Grinnell, after 9 months of being away, I’m finally feeling like I’m actually here.

Some things have obviously changed since my previous semester here last year. Some friends from my circle are suddenly hanging out with people we did not use to talk to when I was here. The dining hall no longer has Wing Nights (sad news). The school’s printers now require you to swipe your student card before releasing print jobs. The dessert bar in the dining hall has been moved to a different area. The school website is now actually scarlet and black, Grinnell’s official colors.

But the lines in the dining hall during peak hours are still long; the stir-fry station still makes awesome stir-fry dishes; Mary, my work supervisor, is still as uptight as ever; I still have 70-150 pages of reading per class; and Harris dress-up parties are still dA sHiT during weekends. Some things hasn’t changed.

Classes are in full swing, I’m working a campus job 10 freaking hours a week, and my classmates in my senior seminars are amazing and smart and are intimidating the heck out of me.

This is Grinnell. I’m back where people talk about theories and philosophy of everything. Philosophy of physics. Philosophy of religion. Philosophy of social justice. Philosophy of mathematics. Philosophy of philosophy.

I had a discussion with one friend during dinner last week, about how Grinnellians always talk about things that are “under the table” instead of “on the table”, which basically means that we like to talk about theoretical stuff, but often forget that real life is not theory, it’s practice. My friend calls it masturbation. Basically, we feel good and intellectual when we talk about philosophies of everything, but it’s pretty useless — nothing beneficial comes out of it.

What I don’t miss about Grinnell though, is the (omni)presence of alcohol. When I walk into my dorm, I see windows lined with empty alcohol bottles. Heck, even the window sill in my apartment is lined with empty bottles of Bacardi, Malibu, and this thing called Ice, which tastes like shit. I didn’t put them there, didn’t want them there, either. I think my housemates are keeping count of how many bottles of alcohol they drink during senior year.

I guess I don’t actually dislike having so much alcohol being drunk all around me; the problem is that alcohol is so prevalent within my social circle that we have to actively say, WE ARE NOT DRINKING THIS WEEKEND, and be quite intentional about it, in order to end up alcohol-free. Any casual spending of Saturday night almost always ends up with a shot or two or three of something more potent than beer. Man, I hate beer.

Oh, and I don’t miss the homework. It is 1:31am as I’m writing this, and I’d been on this chair since 3:00pm this afternoon, writing a paper. Didn’t nap, didn’t go to dinner; all I did was leave the room to use to restroom. You know, the usual practice (when something’s due).

I can’t believe this is senior year. Has it really been 3 years?

* * * * *

You know what’s amazing?

Being so far from home, and finding someone who, despite having no relations to your real home at all, feels like home to you.

It is quite incredible.

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