When I was thinking of the things I was most thankful for at Oberlin, friends immediately came to mind. While I absolutely love the people that I have met here and the new friends I have made, I tried to focus on some of the other things I love about Oberlin, or am thankful for in my life. In no particular order, they are:
1. My job! As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I work in the theater department as a lighting technical assistant, which means that I help hang, focus, clean, and maintain lights for the theater company. I love doing lighting, and have learned a lot in my job in the department (including how to properly mop a stage). This photo is of the light hang for Pericles, which we just finished. (Shameless plug, tickets are available here, and the show opens this Thursday.)
2. SNOW!!! I was so excited to see snow, even among all of the warnings from people that I “wouldn’t be nearly as happy when March comes around and it’s still snowing.” I haven’t lived in a place with snow for most of my life, and so I am still running around campus with my tongue out attempting to catch snowflakes. While I am sure that I will be less grateful for snow once the novelty wears off, as of now I am putting it on the list.
3. My warm hat! My mom is from Ohio and warned me about the cold, and highly recommended I get a cozy hat to wear around when the weather got colder and colder. Apparently this hat also makes people think of Holden Caulfield, take that as you will.
4. In case my numerous references to co-op cooking haven’t made it clear, I LOVE food, especially food that is shared, and am very thankful to live and dine in a space that values food sharing. Harkness, the co-op I am in, competed in the OSCA (Oberlin Student Cooperative Association) Iron Chef competition. I donated my family’s turkey pan to the cause, which I insisted my mom bring cross country with her when she came out for Parents and Family Weekend. While the turkey pan was most assuredly our secret weapon, we did not win the competition. We did, however, get to celebrate the spirit of cooperation and eat many, many, many delicious dishes prepared with carrots (the secret ingredient).
5. On Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch, a mysterious energy overtakes Harkness. These sacred times are when Special Meals occur. “What makes a meal special?” you ask. A Special Meal can be anything the head cook wants it to be, from a bagel special meal (which we had earlier this year) to a protein special meal, which is pictured above. Our normal dining space was transformed into a five-star restaurant, complete with Christmas lights on the table, mood lighting near the food, and preset places. We also had crispy seitan, which is one of my favorite of all co-op foods.
6. This wonderful creature is my better half, my spirit animal, and the Ginger Rogers to my Fred Astaire. Though my various attempts to convince my mom to bring him to visit me failed him, Magnus (the pug) and I have managed to stay in touch via Skype and lengthy phone conversations. I didn’t anticipate missing my pets as much as I did, and I was very happy that I got to spend Thanksgiving with him.
7. While the Harkness kitchen is massive and wonderful and has tons of ingredients, I missed cooking with my family, especially my mom. I was very glad to have the opportunity to share a kitchen with her again, especially for Thanksgiving. We always cook Thanksgiving together, and while I completely forgot to take pictures of Thanksgiving, this is a vegan stew that we made the day after. After we had prepped the veggies, my mom spiced and cooked the stew while I marinated tofu in a lemon sauce, and then baked it. Between the vegan stew and tofu, the more carnivorous members of my family were slightly lost, but a good meal was had by all in the end.
8. While I am not vegan, my roommate is and when I saw vegan milk chocolate in the grocery I knew that I had to bring some back for him. I get along great with my roommate (as seems to be the norm at Oberlin), and I know we were both slightly intimated when we first moved into Harkness, especially before all the returning Harkies moved in, when we didn’t know what to expect. Living with someone else is a new experience for me, and while it has definitely made me more mindful of living in a shared space and respecting another person’s privacy, it has not been nearly as significant an adjustment as I was expecting.
9. I was very grateful that I had the opportunity to see my family and spend Thanksgiving with them, but after many hours of flying I was very glad to be back in Oberlin. I only realized how nice it was when I texted my mom that I was “Home safe and sound!” after landing. While I have only been here for three months, it feels like it has been much longer, and I’m thankful to have a place like Oberlin to call home!
10. On nights like this when I am doing homework until the wee hours of the morning (there is seriously too much fun stuff to do around here to start homework earlier), I am happy to have a warm place like Mudd to do my homework…and am even more grateful for Azariah’s, the cafe on the first floor that has often supplied me with a much-needed coffee or croissant. As we get to finals, I am sure that I will be spending much more time here.
I definitely left out many important things, like my hot water heater, Decafe grilled cheese, coffee, Cheerios, as well as the opportunities and experiences that I have had at Oberlin that are harder to put in words. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!