No matter how far away you go from Oberlin, you're still going to crave it. Oberlin tastes like ... a tofu and fresh veggie stirfry. Or black beans and brown rice. Or freshly baked co-op bread or Old B's hand-churned ice cream. Or a big huge mug of fair trade coffee. Or a Decafe sandwich. Whatever your taste is, you're going to miss Oberlin's flavor for three months during the summer.
Summer vacation is a hard time in the life of an Obie. Unless you're in DC, or New York, or in various California locations where you could randomly run into an Obie at a quirky bookstore or local coffee shop or at a concert, summer is a dry spell in the life of the Oberlin student. Life is a little less exciting, a little less vibrant, and a little less... something.
It seems like my summer vacations have always dealt with food. I spent two summers working at a bakery/coffeeshop, a summer at a Thai cafe, and I'm always cooking at home, experimenting like crazy with all the ingredients at my disposal. This summer has had some delightful homecooked meals with more to come, and I stalk foodgawker (a food photography website that links to food blogs) constantly.
All good meals are accompanied with music. My life is filled with music here; my brother has become a guitar-wielding teenager (but he's learning classical guitar, as well as other teen classics such as Oasis and John Mayer) and my dad has been on a song-writing spree like no other, churning out multiple songs every week. There are notes floating around all the time. It's not unlike rooming in a co-op with your friend who is in the conservatory. (I did that! It was awesome!)
This not to say that Oberlin doesn't trickle into summer life every so often, even this far away from Ohio. I met Aries' godparents two summers ago while working at a Thai cafe here in Hawaii. While wandering around a San Francisco Bay trail at the end of last summer, I saw a woman with an Oberlin sweatshirt, and found out she graduated 45 years earlier, and had a grandchild who graduated a few years ago. My fellow Obie Daniel came to visit this last week, and it was a breath of fresh air in the otherwise foggy Hawaiian atmosphere.
Not all my friends can come visit my far away island, so staying connected with Oberlin friends via other means is necessary. Facebook, Twitter, various instant messengers plus unlimited nights and weekends on my cell? Glorious for the summer time, but all that technology can get overwhelming, especially because my summer work is all about technology and computers, so I'm going back to the novelties of yesteryear. Last year, a group of my friends and I started using the postal service again. Not the band, but remember how you get your acceptance letters to college and bills? That stuff.
So, what we have from this exercise is creating things that can be treasured, even without electricity. My friend Eliza had a little delicious experiment going on last summer, and I was the pleased recipient of two batches of extremely well-packed and fresh-baked cupcakes. She sent my parents cupcakes for their anniversary a few weeks ago... deeeelicious. Those treasures didn't last too long, but a lasting memory and a good story for sure.
The less-postaged, but definitely not less-treasured, were the stickered postcards and letters and mixed CDs from my far-away pals from last summer. This summer, my friend Ali sent me some filters for my camera from a camera shop in her hometown. I will respond with some photos taken with the filters, possibly in postcard form.
I sent photo postcards to anyone who sent me an address last summer, and I'm doing the same this summer too, but possibly with a twist. I love sharing recipes with people, so that might be a new addition to the postcards.
On the craving/food/postcard note, I got a postcard from OSCA last week. I'm in Harkness dining this fall. Tasty times will continue in Ma'ayan-land through this next year.
So thus begins a short series in things I know best and love dearly: food and Oberlin. Next time, I'll share my Oberlin essay from way long ago with y'all... I wrote a recipe as part of my application!