15 March 2014

The other side of the ridge

13 March 2014

"I put on a placid professional exterior, while inside I was a full martini glass placed on a rubber ball."
David Mclean, “The Answer to the Riddle Is Me” -  This American Life #399: Contents Unknown.
It’s spring now in Santa Barbara. If I’m honest, there’s no discernible difference in temperature or number of people in bikinis or the prevalence of blue cloudless skies (these seem to be the year-round norm here); but daylight savings just kicked in, the days have been getting rapidly lengthier, and I’m making plans for next year. This seems to be more the essence of spring than anything else, the nurturing of new ideas that suddenly seem to flower and bloom all on their own.

The plans involve A) grad school, and B) the whole wide world. In other words, I’m packing up my traveler’s bag again and getting back out there. And studying, to boot.

A number of things have happened in the last few months that have prompted this lust for change. The most catalyzing, and certainly the most difficult, was the end of the relationship that brought me here; it was scary, because I had never felt like Santa Barbara was “my” town, and it was sad, because of the emotional upheaval and the loss inherent in a break-up. But it was also liberating. People whom I had considered housemates and coworkers rallied to support me as friends, and I realized that in my 6 months here I have woven myself a beautiful network. There’s something raw and touching in the way that people open themselves up to reveal their own hurts and histories when they see that you are grieving; and as I went through (go through) my process of recovering, people told me stories of their own break-ups, their coping techniques, the ways that they came back to life after.

That’s the kind of open, honest rawness that I’ve found again and again as I travel; people seem to be willing to open up to that degree with either close friends or complete strangers. And it’s re-awakened with intensity my desire to get out there again, to travel and live abroad and meet the kind of people who are doing that exact same thing.

My plans are under lock and key till I’m sure about them. At the moment I’m talking with professors, pursuing funding, and writing up a research outline. A few key words to describe the upcoming adventure: hydro-ecology, trilingual homework assignments, Galapagos, bio-indicators, Erasmus.

Santa Barbara from Franceschi Park, sunset

12 March 2014

My workspace wall brightens my day. I am working on pursuing grad school funding today.