{ Fall Break, Take Two: Oberlin Edition }

I thought I was going to write about midterms, but then I drew this for Ma'ayan and realized it summed up pretty much everything I could hope to say:


Yep.

Instead, I will write about my fall break, and since I feel inspired by that sketch, it's going to include lots of pretty illustrations. Here goes.

I dispensed with academic duties at 3pm the Friday of break. My first order of business was to take a big, fat, unintentional but totally deserved nap. It was glorious. Dinner at Agave came next, as well as a surprise birthday cake for a friend of mine in a lounge in South, followed by card games; presently, people started passing by for a blues dance in South Studios, and I got sucked in. (I've been meaning to go to a blues dance for a solid year now.) That was all fun and games for three or four dances, and then, suddenly, a man offered me his hand and proceeded to - with care, grace, and a certain amount of panache - properly introduce me to blues dancing. The world just kind of crept away for a few minutes and left us to our smoldering business, and when the song faded out, I experienced what was without a shadow of a doubt the most flustered moment of my life. Ma'ayan tells me that she has a dancer friend who likes to say each dance is an affair, and that blues dances especially involve falling totally in love. I understand this completely, as of that Friday.


Andy, if you're reading this, that one dance is the reason I am now determined to go to every single blues event for the rest of the year. Congratulations, you devil, I'm thoroughly converted.

My last achievement for the day was to complete this infernal 365 project that Will and I started during fall break last year. He and I both posted a blog a day every day for three hundred and sixty-five days, and, boy, it feels good to be done. (We're actually already talking about starting tandem thing-a-week instead of thing-a-day projects. We might be masochists. We might just enjoy being productive.) Definitely a satisfying day - and break hadn't even officially started yet!

Saturday morning, in celebration of the first day of break, I met Ma'ayan, Will, and Tess for some farmer's market fun (I bought port wine cheese and a loaf of seeded rye), from whence we proceeded to the book sale at the public library (I bought Colors of Desire, Ten Thousand Splendid Suns, Memoirs of a Geisha, and The Screwtape Letters for a collective two dollars). Afterward, we went to the Feve together for brunch - a place I have not set foot in since last fall break - and were joined by my friend Aaron. He and Ma'ayan and I went, by a rather circuitous route, to the volleyball home game; our team trounced the Ohio Wesleyan team quite thoroughly, thanks in no small part to Chinwe, who, let me tell you, is a bona fide beast on the court. Props.


Guess which one is Chinwe.

Later, Tess, Harris, Amanda, Ma'ayan and I cooked and ate mouthwatering soup and ravioli, and watched Dr. Who. Will called me away after three episodes to help him deep-clean his room; after two and a half hours and a bloody shoulder, I called it quits and dragged myself back to Tank to sleep. Pretty sure that's the nicest I've ever seen Will's room look.

Sunday, I got up at a leisurely ten-thirty, worked continuously until about five thirty, and then put everything away to go have dinner at Midge & Smith's. Somewhere in the course of my work mania, I also ingested an entire loaf of bread and slab of cheese, but that paltry snack didn't stop me from dying of hunger while the Brittinghams' house filled up with international students (among them Simba, a new fellow blogger! Hi Simba!), all of whom were similarly famished. The meal, when it came, was of course fabulously delicious, and the company was similarly excellent. I wish that I could go to Sunday Night Dinners regularly, but it conflicts with tumbling, and we all know how I feel about tumbling.


Ida is to lion as tumbling is to a juicy, helpless steak.

Monday morning went by in a blur of laundry and errands; I spent the afternoon in the Hark lounge with Griff, munching bread and working on my application to a scholarship program that might fund a year abroad for me. It is a difficult application. I will be working on it for a few more weeks. At some point, I abandoned the application in favor of going out to dinner with Ma'ayan and Will at a lovely Indian restaurant in Crocker Park. I've had very limited exposure to cuisines other than my family's cooking (French and German, with some American things picked up here and there), so it was exciting and fascinating for me to taste proper Indian food. Consequently, I ate far too much. So did Will and Ma'ayan.


Another highly accurate depiction.

Tuesday was spent packing and wrapping up what business I had that required me to be in Oberlin. I worked in the morning, and then went to Harkness to scrounge food and keep working. Griff found me in the lounge and kept me company, and then invited me to join his Odigenous ExCo for knotweed crafting around five - which, of course, I did. I tried carving a flute, but it was flimsy and didn't play anything remotely in tune, so, me being me, I tried carving a flute again, but better. And by that I mean I looked up instructions and measurements, decided they didn't apply, and just sort of hoped it would turn out okay.


This is all Griff saw for a good three hours that day. And "WHY DOESN'T THIS WORK THE WAY I THINK IT SHOULD?!?!?!" is all he heard. Sorry, Griff.

Six-thirty found me still hoping and carving, so Will took it upon himself to hustle me downstairs for brinner (breakfast-dinner, YUM), my first and only meal with the Harkness faux-op I'd joined for the break. Since official co-ops can't run when school is out, people tend to band together and pool their money to buy food that they then prepare together in co-op kitchens; the Hark faux-op has formed every break for two years now. It was rather lovely to take part in, if surreal - crewing for ten people takes so much less work than crewing for eighty! You don't have to start cooking three hours in advance! Amazing. (Will also ran to Gibson's to get cider and doughnuts for dessert, so all told, dinner probably lasted a good two hours. It was my kind of meal.)

I finished my flute two or three hours later. And by finished I mean I stopped working on it (leaving it uncorked, unsanded, and slightly off of a true major scale) because I knew I needed to get to sleep so that I wouldn't keel over the next day while traveling to visit my friend Clay Riley. You may remember Clay from last February. You may not. You will certainly meet him if you read the second half of this Fall Break post.

The funny thing about this half of my break is that I actually worked almost incessantly, and still somehow managed to do enough excellent stuff to cobble together a blog post outlining the sorts of experiences that can be expected from a break in Oberlin (they boil down to superb food, even better quality time with friends, and frequent lucky flukes that give you the opportunity to do things like carve flutes and fall head over heels for blues dancing). I'm not quite sure how I managed that, myself, but inserting spontaneous awesome into your schedule while you aren't looking seems to be one of the things Oberlin is particularly good at, so I'm not surprised.

The second half of this post: not in Oberlin, for once! Pretty surreal.


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{ Responses To This Entry }

1 Yes,yes, yes:two-things-a-week challenge!!!
2 The drawings are so fun. You are just great, look at how big and heavy those midterms are!
3 Indian cooking...imaging going to all that trouble (repeatedly!) and the entire crew goes "what is THAT?!grumbe grumble". So, French-German-American it was. Proud to know we passed the love of drawn-out meals down successfully, though.
4 So Will still requires help with his room...
5 That's what friends are for: making sure you eat! Thank you, friends.
6 Bloody shoulder? What? Let's not start a new trend here, an injury per blog? Let's stick with the drawings, visuals and writing. Plenty entertaining enough. Hence all my explanation points!

Posted by: Muriel on November 4, 2011 8:11 AM


1. Shouldn't you be encouraging me to be more reasonable, not more crazy?
3. I can imagine. I didn't say my food history was bad, just that it was specific to my cultures.
4. I think that will always be the case.
6. The shoulder was a scrape, it just caught on the underside of his bed a little. No worries.

Posted by: Ida on November 4, 2011 10:01 AM


This is brilliant Ida. Fall break in Oberlin is the bestest (not a word, but truly appropriate here), and so is Sunday Dinner at the Brittinghams!

Posted by: Simba on November 4, 2011 12:21 PM


This post turned out even better than I expected!

That picture of flutemaking is spot-on. Also our food comas. And CHINWE. And all of them, actually. So good! This reminds me of the best of Hyperbole and a Half!

Posted by: Ma'ayan on November 4, 2011 2:55 PM


Nobody is talking about the dancing! We are all just jealous. Go again!

Posted by: Muriel on November 4, 2011 3:14 PM


Oh man! I just got compared to Hyperbole and a Half! Okay, so either I should kill myself now because I've reached the pinnacle of achievement, or the gods of the internet are about to smite me because of my hubris. . . Basically, I have to die now. Thanks, Ma'ayan.

Posted by: Ida on November 4, 2011 3:16 PM


Also, mom, I went again last night. But I'm taking it easy because of my still-broken toe, so only a little bit of dancing at a time.

Posted by: Ida on November 4, 2011 3:18 PM


Ida, you just keep amazing me. how are you so awesome?

And that is prettymuch what happened to me the first time I went blues dancing. (Are you going saturday?)
and fall break in Oberlin sounds awesome.

Posted by: Zo on November 4, 2011 4:42 PM


I want to say yes to blues, but I'm going to reserve judgment until after contra tonight. But I do want to go.

Dude, breaks in Oberland are always the best! We should break here together sometime, clearly, the both of us being so awesome and all.

Posted by: Ida on November 4, 2011 4:48 PM


This is random, but were you in the "Problems of Philosophy" class last semester? I'm a high school senior/Oberlin prospie and your picture strikes me as awfully similar to a girl I saw when I sat in on the class during a visit. Sorry for being creepy, haha.

Posted by: Machmud Makhmudov on November 5, 2011 7:56 PM


Interestingly, I'm in Problems of Philosophy this semester, not last semester. . . I wonder who that girl is! (Also, no creepy points. I would have been really excited if that had been me, but oh well. You get bravery points for asking.)

Best of luck with the whole senior year/college choosing ridiculousness!

Posted by: Ida on November 5, 2011 8:15 PM


.Ida is to lion as tumbling is to steak? Is this a deliberate flipping of the usual analogy structure?
.And what is this dancing with the broken toe thing?
And now picking up a shoulder injury. I won't inquire further on that.
.Whether it works or not, I want to see the hand-crafted flute. I think it rules that you can even get notes out of something made on an early try.
.Nice job with the MS Paint-like app (whatever the Mac equivalent is on your loptap). Making interesting drawings with it is very definitely in the sow's ear-->silk purse category. Or maybe driftwood-->Pearl flute. Anyway, the lion (right below the Simba link--serendippy or deliberate?) is better than anything done with such software has any right to be.

Posted by: charles on November 6, 2011 7:05 PM


Hahaha, thanks for the compliments! Mom said you were watching the game yesterday, so I didn't want to interrupt, but I'll totally play the flute for you next time we skype.

I was just using this free online sketchpad doodle thing for the drawings. I don't even know what it's called, there are a million of them if you google around some.

The shoulder thing was honestly just a scrape! I had a welt and it scabbed over and now it's totally gone. Promise. And it's been weeks since I broke my toe, so I can do normal things normally now, especially with hard-soled shoes. I just try to avoid high-impact things, like fast tumbling and running and stuff. Should be all healed up pretty soon.

Posted by: Ida on November 6, 2011 8:51 PM


1) YOU USED 'what do?' IN REAL-SPEAK! YES! haHA! WIN!

2) Hyperbole and a Half win!

3) Thanks for helping with the room! It is now messy again, but everything has a home (unlike before), so I can actually clean it! You get a 'wounded in the line of combat' award for your shoulder. :D

Posted by: Will on November 10, 2011 6:17 PM


I don't really think that terrible, scribbly exaggerations of real life count as things that involve "real-speak," Will. Hate to burst your bubble.

Does that award involve baked goods, perchance?

Posted by: Ida on November 11, 2011 2:57 PM



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