Life as an Extreme Sport

These People and The Mountains

I’m in Santa Cruz, California. I haven’t been into the city proper yet – we came straight to the UCSC campus from the airport – but just driving through Mountain View, Los Gatos, etc, en route to the site brought back floods of memories. It’s hard to believe I haven’t been here in something like 12 years. (I know I visited the area with Kellie and Eric before moving to Oregon, so that gives me a pretty narrow range of times of when I could have been here.)

I’m here to teach bioethics to a group of academically bright 12-16 year olds. I’ve spent my time since arriving Thursday setting up my dorm room – the first one I’ve ever lived in, or even been in for more than an evening (itself a thing new to the last few months) – and getting to know people. Oh, and eating in a cafeteria, another new experience. It’s like I get to round out all the things I missed by being a non-traditional student!

I’ve been so impressed by the people here, from the staff to instructors and RAs. Everyone is incredibly warm and friendly and welcoming. Plus, it’s California – my fast pace but casual relaxedness? Yeah, this is where I get it, so in so many ways I really am coming home. I’ve held myself so tensely, for the most part, while on the East Coast; it’s like exhaling after a long dive.

My dorm is a top floor corner room; I look out over the Santa Cruz mountains as well as a small volleyball area. That the mountains are right there is really an amazing bit of nature; deer wander the property like it’s a giant buffet, the fog rolls in every morning and night, the air is tinged with the tang of salt. It’s a beautiful place, full of all the small and subtle things my body thinks of as “home” in so innate a manner.

Which is not to say that… well, actually, yeah. I don’t miss Albany. I don’t, to be honest, even miss anyone in Albany – not yet. It hasn’t been long enough to yet notice I haven’t seen friends, and/or I’m still talking to people in the evening. I suspect come Monday, when I’m in class until 9pm and my ability to talk to people decreases dramatically, the missing of people will begin to happen.

And now, if I don’t want to miss breakfast – and I really don’t want to miss breakfast – I need to shower and make ready my day.