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Posts Tagged ‘Summer’

Greetings All,

It must be nearly the end of summer, because for the last few days, I’ve gone swimming with my pals at No-Name Pond, visited most of my friends’ new apartments, basked in the sun, relaxed on my couch…wait a minute! That sounds like the beginning of summer!

Well friends, that’s how the school year starts if you’re leading an AESOP trip. AESOP, which stands for Annual Entering Students Orientation Program, is a sort of pre-orientation orientation, where upper-classmen lead small groups of firstyears on trips into the Maine out-of-doors. It’s a great way to get everyone, leaders included, pumped for a year at Bates. We AESOP leaders arrive to campus early (the 16th of August) to begin training for our trips, gather the gear, finalize reservations, and generally make sure all is prepared.

While there’s much to do to make sure AESOP ’08 goes off without a hitch, there’s also the whole business of coming back to school after months of being away. I’ve been moving myself into my off-campus apartment, which is a bit of work but completely awesome. My bedroom is as big as my sophomore double, and that’s just my bedroom! I’ve also been prepping for the FYS that I’m teaching, “Understanding Namaste.” It’s a Yogic philosophy class, which is right up my alley, but I want to be sure that I am prepared to actually teach about it, rather than just talk about it. 

But we also get plenty of time to enjoy the height of Maine’s summer splendor. Campus is (relatively) very quiet, since it’s only the 70+ leaders running around, so we get the run of the place. It is such a blast! Just yesterday we played an epic 10 v. 10 game of Ultimate on the football field next to New Commons–huge fun. There are a few of us leaders who haven’t seen each other in months, or sometimes years, due to Study Abroad, so reuniting has been glorious. The Sun is warm, the Grass is green, the Water’s cool, and everyone is totally happy and amped.

Back to School never felt so cool.

Be Well,

Jake

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Greetings All,

After 32 days of travel across Northern Spain on foot, I arrived at Cape Finisterre, so named because of its root words, finis and terra, which indicate that this spot is the end of the earth. And, as the Western-most point on the European continent, it was long thought to be just that. A fitting place to end a month-long westwardly walk.

Now, though, I write to you all from the comfort of my Living Room, a luxury all Camino-goers must be without in the cramped albergues–hostels provided exclusively for pilgrims. Don’t get me wrong, those albergues aren’t half bad, and some of them are quite nice. But it’s hard to get any personal space when you are in a giant bedroom full of bunkbeds which are soon to cradle snoring old Germans who, while charming during waking hours, are quite a pain at night. I’ve never heard snores like those, not even from my freshman roommate.

One of the many lessons to garner from the Camino is to appreciate the luxuries, the blessings, and the privileges of our everyday lives, such as a room to ourselves. Or having running water whenever I want it. Or being able to choose from many different types of cuisine, as opposed to picking either baguette and butter, or baguette and cheese. Or having wardrobe of clothes, as opposed to having only Dirty Hiking Outfit and Dirty Town Outfit. Or even the opportunity to force myself to abandon the luxuries, blessings, and privileges of my everyday life.

But, being back in New York, back to my more regular lifestyle, there are many parts of the Camino that I wish to bring back with me. Like the immediate camaraderie that all pilgrims feel on the Road, which is such a positive and connecting force. The sights in Spain were stunning at every turn. Finally, the change in pace, from a fun but fast Bates semester to a much simpler and slower drive, provided so many goods for me and other pilgrims. We all had the chance to think, the chance to re-evaluate, and the opportunity to rest our minds by doing something that required almost no thought whatsoever–just walk forward.

So now I am back. I’ve only been in for one day, so not only do I not know exactly what I’m up to, but I also don’t have any pictures back from the trip. I’ll work on that. Besides that, my To Do list for the summer holds: get ready for the return to Bates (i.e. start reading for thesis), set up stuff for the Deansmen (the oldest all-male a cappella group on campus–have I mentioned them before?), and begin preparing for the First Year Seminar I am co-teaching. How many weeks of summer left?

Be Well,

Jake

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