19 September 2006

on Campus

These past few weeks I've sort of felt like I'm back in college. Something about the scale of life here, and the variety and mixing of activities in my life has set me back five years to dining halls and student centers. I realized this last week as I was walking from rehearsal to beers with friends downtown, the Bach trills still ringing in my ears. We met at the Alþjóðahús, the international house, where laptops sprouted from half-a-dozen tables, and across the corridor a tango class gyrated silently behind the large glass window. Even though people of all ages meet here, the international scene, the frequently discounted beers, and the cultural-sharing vibe makes it feel student center-y, especially on a blustery damp evening.

The autumn leaves are falling fast here, and piling up in scuff-able corner heaps. The air is crisp, backpack-bearing teenagers crawl the sidewalks in my university neighborhood, and kids on bikes whizz by in the mornings, scarves a-flying.

When I was in college, I also used to give tours to prospective parents and students, and the tour-guiding has continued here in similar vein. The tours are always part history, part things I like best, part daily life, and leaves me with a new appreciation for the place I am showing off. Plus, on an almost daily basis now, I run into some visitor or other, and I glow with secret glee at being on The Other Side. Those hippy-backpackers buying bread in the bakery this morning had no idea that I was also from their country, with my stealth-cloak of Icelandic scone-buying skills.

The scones also make me think of university. My friend A had a thing for the cinnamon scones from Au Bon Pain near my school, and I remember many a pharmacy run that resulted in a detour to fulfill her scone needs. It's now my favorite thing to buy at my local bakery- fluffy and richly speckled with cinnamon deposits (A, you have NO idea what a scone can taste like until you've had one of these).

Downtown even has this feeling of being a university town, with all the cafes and shops, the funny old buildings, and the pond in the center, and going the few short blocks to the pool even feels like a campus sports center. Even the variety of people I hang out with perpetuate this feeling. My first year in college I lived on a hallway with people from all over the world, so having friends from Guatemala, Norway, Holland, Germany, and Iceland living so close by in this little town fits perfectly. I even have lunch in a dining hall every day, and since I live with a friend now, the occasional evening discussions, the help with hairdos, and nail-painting procrastination even feels like the fun parts of dorm living.

So many people talk wistfully about the college days as being the best time in their life, but I've discovered that you can have the best parts of that life in other places, and that it's actually more fun the second time around.

Ship sighting: I spent all weekend in town so I took a few pictures down at the water, like this Portugese fishing boat (again, verry friendly crew) and the peaceful sunset on Saturday evening.

*Note that I have discovered the mapping component of Flickr- many photos now have location data!


Sarah said...

Speaking of giving tours - we made it back to the states safe and sound, albeit VERY sad to be here. Iceland was INCREDIBLE and our last night there was absolutely PERFECT!! We can't thank you enough for the wonderful evening of food, walking tours and Northern Lights!!! Anytime you're in the Southern California area, you've got a free ticket to Disneyland waiting for you!
-Sarah :O)

dtw said...

I adore that sunset photo. Kind of what I took from our summer cottage-to-be a couple of months back. Except that you found a lot more vibrant colors. It's pretty.

Campuses really seem to have something fascinating to them. It doesn't especially harm to have it right by the sea either, like the one I go to.

Student life is rather fun, and I'm not especially hurrying away from it. Eventually I'll naturally have to, but it's relieving to hear that such life isn't necessarily over when you leave that college behind!

Angel said...

Ahh the cinnamon scones- I have not found a really good replacement for those ABP scones, but the ones from Panera are passable. I did eat a LOT of cinnamon scones back in the day eh?

However, much to my surprise I discovered an authentic German bakery in Durham, North Carolina, just down the street from from my apartment. They make this coffee cake stuff called quarkstollen which is divine- its this mildly sweet, slightly fluffy bread-cake thing that melts in your mouth. Yum.

Fall is here too, this morning it was actually chilly enough to warrent a sweater. And the humidity is gone, and the sky is that extra special shade of blue.....

Batucada said...

The rusty Portuguese ship with the friendly crew inhabit a vessel named "Beach" -- no wonder they are friendly!

Shui Kay...er, Jennifer said...

Funny you mention this, because I went to school for a year as an exchange student at the University of Iceland. So going to school in a campus-like community, I never felt more of a community. Oh, and I must say that I've been slowly reading all your blog entries and I'm only at this one now. I treat them as a daily compendium of Icelandic-ness when I am missing Iceland.
here is my blog of my time there:

ECS said...

hi jennifer :)

I've slowed down the posting a bit lately as you might notice but I'm glad you're enjoying the older entries!