And now from San Francisco

Eastside Portland Esplanade

On the Esplanade, Portland, OR

Hell yeah, so much has happened in the last week, I don’t even know where to start.

My visit to Evergreen left me feeling mixed about the school. It’s a definite possibility, but not a first choice. As with just about every school, there are pluses and minuses. I’m trying to take all of that into account with each school. And I’m still not sure I’m crazy about Olympia, but I did eat some of the best thai food ever there, a green curry dish with avocado, which was so delicious, but not enough to totally make me want to move there, I mean, there are other factors, lol.

The next stop was Portland, which was OMG, a nonstop blast from the moment I got there to the moment I left. One of my best best friends from Orcas, Elynn, just moved there, and it was so great to see her, as well as my friend Kelly who I haven’t seen since I went to Coachella in 2006. It was cool to bring friends together from different places. We went out to this totally cool place called The Sapphire Hotel (which used to be a brothel) for dinner, and had a blast. The next night I went to happy hour with Kelly and one of her friends and had another blast of an evening. The next night I met with the people who run the India program. We’ve been in email communication since about July, so it was great to meet them. We went out to Thai food (second time in one week, god I love Thai food), and again, it was a total blast. On the way to drop me off back at Elynn’s, they stopped at the training place so I could meet my trip leaders.

And here’s where things get trippy. I have two trip leaders for India. The trip leaders and participants are from all over the place, and somehow in a completely mind-blowing “small world” moment, one of my trip leaders already knows me. He used to work at camp, and for anyone from Orkila who follows my blog, his name is Andrew Bruck, and he worked with a bunc of people I know. I don’t remember ever meeting him before, but it often happens that people I don’t know, know me. I’m pretty recognizable. That was a cool moment. I really enjoyed meeting my trip leaders.

My school visits were great. Well, one was so-so and one was so mindblowingly awesome I think I will cry myself into oblivion if I don’t get in. Really like dream college, like love at first sight. Being the happy and shiny optimist that I am, (sarcasm), I kept waiting for something to go wrong. Or something to not be so awesome, but it never happened. I sat in on three classes. First was a humanities lecture, which was cool (and really reminded me that I am lacking in background on the subjects of the classics, and greek/roman stuff, which is what the class was about). It was cool b/c it was obvious that the prof giving the lecture was just so knowledgeable and excited about her topic. Then I went to a conference class based on the lecture, which was a great experience where everyone in the class spoke up and debated and argued and discussed. Then I actually went to a Latin class, which I had no background in – they set me up with a student host and I just went w/her to her morning classes – but it was cool. In the class I ran into a girl who had given me directions earlier that morning, and she was super friendly and helpful. Another girl sitting next to me was also super welcoming, as was the prof. The girl sitting next to me, before the class started, told the class that she was having an intellectual identity crisis, b/c before college, she was always the smart one, and now that she’s there, everyone is the smart one and it’s kicking her ass and it’s hard. I thought it was really brave of someone to stand up and admit that to their peers like that. And someone else in the class got up and went over and gave her a hug. It was very sweet. All around, the students were awesome, and all around in Portland in general, I think I got more hugs in those few days than the rest of the year combined!

The classes were great. The classrooms were great, very conference style, interactive, with big windows. And the campus is fucking gorgeous. So is Evergreen’s, maybe moreso. Anyway I met some students for lunch, and this school had the best food so far, also a plus, I ate with another student host and her punk rocker friend, and it was awesome. They were soooo psyched about the school, loved being students there, just couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved it. They gave me heads up on what profs to take and not take. One of them had just taken an English class in which she’d read The God of Small Things, which anyone who reads this blog knows is one of my favorite books ever, total desert island book, probably the best book I’ve ever read. So, another plus. The other thing I noticed was that with every student I interacted with, I didn’t feel like I was talking to 18 year olds, if you know w hat I mean, and no one seemed like freshman, I forgot about the age difference entirely. One of the students hugged me efore we parted ways and I left for my info session, tour and interview, all of which were just fantastic. God that campus is gorgeous, and could easily satisfy my nature needs, maybe not quite as much as Evergreen’s campus, but close.

I’m a little rushed, and overflowing with things to say, so, anyway, after that and some other cool activities, and after that I had some time so decided to visit the office for students with disabilities, and again sort of thinking okay, here is where the other shoe might fall, but no. I got lost trying to find the building, then ran into a guy who works in admissions, and he walked me all the way over to the building, which was cool, and then I met with the director of disabled student services, and it honestly sounded better than most places I’ve looked at, which just blew me away. Everyone was just amazingly awesome. Think good thoughts for me to get in – it’s a tough school, and if I go it’ll kick my ass intellectually, but I’m sort of looking for that. I want to be challenged, and to really have to rise to my potential.

I so want to go there. I so loved Portland. I had nonstop fun there, including the day after my visits, just chilling w/Elynn. We got desk chairs from this Habitat for Humanities store and went over to the esplanade and the planetarium, and we both agreed we had more fun in that day than we did in all our time on Orcas. I already feel like I don’t even live on Orcas anymore, though I did keep my apartment. It’s just like that world is behind me. One of the leaders of this program, actually the director, told me this morning that he thinks it’s like I’ve been living in a cocoon for the last six years on Orcas, and now I’m coming out of the cocoon, it was really cool.

San Franscisco, ocean

California Coast

After Portland, I took the Greyhound to San Francisco and got to hang out with my friend Maryam from Camp. We had great talks and deep discussions and got caught up and hung out in the city and at the beach. I spent a few days at her house, and now I’m about to leave for my first trip ever out of North America.

Anyway, I am about to leave to go eat dinner with my India group, then go to the airport to catch my flight. So peace out, I guess. I’ll be writing from the road I’m sure. There is also a group blog anyone can read to see updates from all kinds of members of my group. I have met three of them already and am having a great time. Went out to Ethiopian food last night with the group, and they were playing TOOL and Alice in Chains in the restaurant, which just made my night.

Midnight tonight, I’ll be headed to Hong Kong, then Delhi. I can’t believe this is really real!

Check ya later, America!

~EJ

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3 thoughts on “And now from San Francisco

  1. Thanks for posting the link to the group blog, Chrys, it’ll be so much fun to follow everyone’s experiences. And, man, I’m envious of your visit to Portland. I’m dyin’ to get my butt back to the west coast for more than a day or two. Too many cool places out thataways!

  2. Chrys, it’s wonderful to hear that you had such a great time in Portland, and that you were so warmly welcomed all around (and what amazing synchronicity that one of your trip leaders already knows you!). There really is no place like Portland — as you know, it’s my favorite US city. I hope you get into the school you love best! I can’t wait to hear all about your further adventures…

  3. (((((waving)))))I’m crying for you, for your wonderful adventures. So happy and proud for you. God of small things is by my bed, next in line after a map of the world.Peace, namaste, shalom, salaam…

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