August 25, 2010

Washington D.C.

The view from where I'm sitting has changed significantly in the last two weeks. I find myself at a coffeehouse in Adams Morgan, drinking Guinness and surrounded by young people similarly engrossed by their laptops. I spend my nights in an apartment on the fifth floor of a brick building on California Street NW. In the morning I drink coffee and walk down to the Dupont Circle metro, where a train whisks me about the underside of this city. I emerge, blinking, fumbling for sunglasses, as of yet unsure of where I am. I find that the surreality of it hasn't yet lifted, and I sometimes feel like I am an actor in some kind of play, or that I am playing make-believe. My classes at American University started Monday, and I was nervous and skittish and shaky. The campus is small and there are no deer and I have yet to detect the wafting scent of marijuana. It started raining on Tuesday as I, chagrined, searched high and low for the campus bookstore. There were no naked freshman running pell-mell through the quad, and no drum circle, and I did miss Santa Cruz. It also made me glad of my own college experience, and envious of the freshman who as we speak are nervously preparing to descend on UCSC, where I expect they will be met in the Porter Circle by eccentric TAs wearing pink tutus, a sight that upon my arrival filled me with a sense of immense relief.

When I received my first syllabus (for National Cinema, which I can take for literature credit, wonderfully enough) and found it twenty dense pages long, I felt as if I'd been hit in the head with a brick. Yes! You have returned to college, on purpose! It wasn't that I regretted the decision; it was more the realization that I'd made it. After attending my first few classes, I find that I am a little bit excited and a little bit nervous. Carolyn, graduate student. Goodness gracious. It was unspeakably hard to leave Virginia, and I have yet to love DC the way I love Gwynn's Island, but sitting here, surrounded by people my own age and the sound of voices and music and cars and sirens, I am looking forward to the next few years, and what I will find. I left the island in a car full of the same things as had arrived with me from California a year before, but I knew I wasn't running from anything, and that was new.


  1. Welcome to college campus life. You'll probably go through the same discovery phase you did on the island. Congratulations on your progress. Enjoy it. Graduate students are going to be more focused on what they're there for than freshmen.

  2. So, are you going to keep blogging, and will it any longer be a Virginia Sleep, or some kind of Awakening?