i've been trying to draft a blog post for the longest time now. already have a half-finished post among my drafts but it all just fell into pieces. i hope my creative block would do the same. i need to write now. need to pour out everything inside me. apathy deciphered into math class with tears in my eyes. haven't felt this way in a long time.
#1: it's february and spring is right around the corner
back home, february is snow melting as it hits the ground; an ice cold wind unraveling my scarf as i trudge through the slush to get to the bus station, too lazy to bike into town. it is spending afternoons huddled in cafés with a cup of black coffee, too cheap to get anything fancier. it is waking up before the sun and getting home after it sets, my exposed ankles numb from the wind hitting the signature roll-up of my black jeans. it is the gray and the black and the whites surrounding the pastel pink houses in my quaint little university town that i love so much. lund and my sheltered winters, my humble protections found in the soothing chatter from the café sofas and the clatter of shiny wet dr. martens through slush. wool mittens and rosy cheeks, and
the eternal wait for the brightness of spring, with its chirping birds and stopping by the pink cherry blossoms in lundagård on my way back from school; the pink petals falling slowly to the ground in the low afternoon sun. the breeze still chilly but the pink whirl an indicator of rebirth; a hint of happiness. a reminder that the outdoor serving outside ariman will soon be filled; behind it a crowd soaking the day's last sunlight behind domkyrkan. that the indecisiveness in glasskulturen and the sitting on stortorget will come again. and the walking home barefoot in the 4am sunrise. a reminder that happier days are to come.
it is a sunday afternoon when i talk about this with simen. simen, my little norwegian firstie that i love so much. that offers me espresso at 10pm and comes over with honey-spread bread. that never fails to listen and that looks out for me. his constantly worried look and fluffy hair and "hvordan går det?" in the hallways. it is a sunday afternoon and i have just watched him play the golden goal in frisbee, tired after a 6h climbing day developing a new area by the wifi boulders. "i think a lot of my mood depends on the weather", he says. i look out on the sunny campus benches outside his window; the new mexican sun faithful to its bright blue backdrop. i nod.
i always seem to write about the montezuma sky; its orange sunrises and lavender sunsets. its clear blue sky above days soaking on the field and the milky way during late summer nights on the water reservoir. there is nothing i love more.
in montezuma, february is that cloudless sky with a blazing sun that shines its morning beams through the blinds of my windows. it is a sky always clear blue, but now somehow brighter, bluer, and broader. or so it feels. it is the warm breeze cooling down the gap between my tennis skirt and crop top and lying on the sunkissed floor in my room, eating nectarines with libbie. it is walking across campus, murakami book in hand and annika norlin's lyricism streaming through my headphones on repeat; romanticizing my dull everyday life. it is the changing outfits five times a day because, still not having mastered the art of layering clothes that is required in the desert. and the afternoon light hitting the tall tree tops behind the castle; their shadows stretching over the trail like an abstract painting. it is a campus livelier than ever, with music streaming out the windows and bare legs running to class.
yet, getting out of bed deems a five-star mission.
#2: montezuma you're changing, and so am I
i've been climbing a lot lately. spent every single afternoon with chalky hands and a determined mind.
i've missed the outside. have spent too much time butt in chair and pen in hand. i've missed the frisk air and the chirping birds and the sunlight sipping through from behind the boulders. i've missed hiking muddy trails with feet covered in my old nike's, the ones with the right sole burnt off from that wilderness bonfire somewhere sometime. that bonfire that i miss so much. have never longed for wilderness as much as i have now; craving the freedom it has to offer. i've even missed the dry thorny bushes crowding the trails and the prickly pears around every corner. and every other beautiful plant that the high desert has to offer.
i've missed long afternoons spent in the woods; chalk in my backpack and scraped up hands hugging the cold rocks. peeling pistachios and drinking coffee on top of sunny boulders, getting to know selina. rushing down hills in the sunset with hugh, talking about cities and indifference and cosmopolitanism. listening to andrew's crazy stories, mocking pro-climbers and stompy bouldering guys, his sunshine in form of a black dog licking me in the face. the bonds and the people and the smiles they put on my face, but also
being alone. truly alone. leaning my back against our own little legacy -- the wifi boulders; reading among the pine cones, listening to the gust of wind invade the trees above me. a determination to finish a project and warming my feet in my backpack inbetween climbs. tyler the creator in my headphones, and hiking down with scraped up legs and bruises forming purple galaxies on my knees.
and then coming back to
laughter and frisbee throwing on the field. t-shirts and shorts weather and people soaking in the sun. sunglasses covering the traces of unfinished homework and too little sleep. and my own heavy eyelids and cup of black coffee on the field, watching the rugby players as i finish each chapter of the book i'm reading. and to the right, my best friend in his rainbow bucket hat, head buried in catch 22.
this is the montezuma i love, and this is the montezuma i missed,
but i don't want to be here anymore.
#3: on (in)dependency
i talk with zsuzsa after biology one day. it's morning break and i'm making coffee. zsuzsa has been talking about leaving ever since our second year started and this day we are talking about it again. at first it broke my heart but now i understand. montezuma is beautiful but its intensity is tearing me down every single day. it's strange getting back into routine again.
coming back didn't feel as exciting this time. it felt like coming home, but coming home like you come home every single day, not coming home like coming home after a long break from everything and everyone you love. it felt like coming home to a familiar bed and taking a long nap in solitude. it didn't feel like coming home and hugging your entire family and eating homecooked food for the first time in a long time, and sending out that "GUESS WHO'S BACK!?!??!!?" text message. coming back felt like coming home after a long day of work. all i want to do is lay in my bed.
me and zsuzsa talk about friendships and how they spiralled down into peculiar family ties. it's weird because that seems to be how friendships work here. i try to explain how i've been feeling off lately, that on a superficial level i've seemed to cut off a lot of people from my life but deep inside there is no one i love more than them. there is no one i care more about than them. they are family to me. family i see around every day but also family that i don't necessarily feel the need to be around all the time. that i'll only update maybe once a week; much like how i skype my parents every sunday. except my family here doesn't live 5000 miles away from me and whereas i miss my family back home i have no reason to miss my family here. because they're here, too. yet, there seems to be a trying to get away. a trying to move out. a trying to be independent. perhaps. i don't really know; haven't really figured it out myself yet.
and this is what i try to explain to zsuzsa too, as we drink our morning coffee and talk our way through break. i tell her i feel disconnected; dazed; disoriented; and
and how that somehow ties in to the doormat i braided out of 5 boy t-shirts that i've fallen asleep in many nights. there is something intimate about boy t-shirts; a piece of their identity; a means of self-expression; and drowning in that. drowning in bare skin and wrinkled sheets, a soft snoring in my hair and kisses where my shoulders turn into neck. and waking up embraced by a safe arm and ten fingers intertwined to one; ruffled hair and the little i-just-woke-up smile; tracing jawlines with my finger tips and silently counting birth marks. nights knocking on unfamiliar doors and mornings carefully closing them, walking back to my dorm room before anyone else has woken up. sunlight hitting my abandoned pink moomin bed sheets. ;
a dependency when i promised my self to be independent. a leaning back on when i need to support myself. a getting lost in isolation.
me and zsuzsa end up getting to math class 15 minutes late.
#4: a tsunami of self-doubt and how to see in the dark (jan 25th)
my friends are getting into college, offers from UK schools, contacted for interviews, and i'm growing increasingly anxious about what the future holds in store for me. i'm incredibly happy for all of them. but, it's hard. i'm stressing out over everything at times like these. it's a down-spiral hell-hole. i don't want to go back to sweden. i don't want to live a stable, ordinary life. i don't want to be content. i don't want to live my life not worrying about anything. i don't want to live my life not working to become better. i don't want to live a life in my comfort zone. i can't go backwards.
still the thought is always there. like that's probably what i'll end up doing. suddenly a tsunami of self-doubt, some kind of convincing that 'hey, that's fine too'. some kind of trying to justify a life that i don't want. and then the loveliest mini-guide from my english teacher on how to manage my time and "Fuck college. You're smart, creative and awesome and if they don't want you, then they're deprived and hopless Trump supporters. Let them wallow in that". i'll wallow in that, but
i know too little still.
i spend a lot of time with mihir. he drinks the cold coffee on my window sill and i fill the room with radiohead. i sit in his bed eating indian snacks while he plays the smiths. one day i take a nap while he watches a bon iver live concert by my desk. he leaves a little post it note that says "thanks for the coffee and the company... and for being my friend. - mihir". another day i lie on his chest and cry for the first time in a long time. "i feel so lonely" i tell him. he lets me wet his t-shirt with my tears. "i'm so happy you're still my best friend" i tell him before i leave. i really am.
at assembly, president victoria mora is talking about her vision for uwc-usa, for this place and its people. it's a long presentation, filled with repetition of the words "mission alignment". about a vision of living the mission: something that we often seem to forget. something that seems to be too easily pushed away; hid behind; not emphasized enough. i close my eyes as victoria talks about how this school has the potential to be the most important one in the entire united states. how we should be constantly reminded of our mission. VISION and MISSION. "montezuma it is", she says. i open my eyes and i smile. and then she talks about our amazing student body. the strong community. everything that everyone always seem to say about this place. everything that's everything that ever seems to matter. and then mihir texts me:
"Fuck this shit
Who did she even talk to
I don't see optimism I see people crying in my bed, wanting to go home"
and that's part of the story too, and it makes me indescribably sad.
because what would i do without you, my magical montezuma with your misty mountain tops and your bright blinking stars from my bedroom window? what would i do if i never got to know you and the warm yellow sunlight that peaks through my blinds and shines on the left side of my bookshelf every morning at 7am? if i never got to know your cream yellow walls that i hate so much? the ones filled with memories from my predescessors and drinking tea with candles lit in the window. the ones that i hate but that i came to love. the ones that i made my own.
what if i never got to have that discussion on the dwan light with mihir two years ago? the one on the night of a day it had just rained, where we talked about free will and the size of the universe. the one that introduced a best friend and his nihilism; the one that led to lots of music recommendations, complaints about life, and sitting in the MB stairs.
and what if i never got to go on that hike in the middle of the night? the one with lázaro leading the way. what if i never got to spend 12 days in wilderness with him? what if i never got to know my favorite little mexican? the one that comes with on 7am walks with lulu and sits on the end of my bed and talks about life. the one that gives the warmest hugs and the worst cuddles. my best friend.
and what if i never got to know libbie and her wool socks+birkenstocks combo? how she's put up with me for half a year now, and how grateful i am to have her as my roommate. what if i never got to know her and her snyde comments at boys? her presence lighting up my life. coffee crisp, hand-made stickers and the cutest christmas decorations; and her laughter filling up the room.
and what if i never got to know the girls: my saviors, my best friends, my sisters. what if i never got to know the empowerment of sisterhood and the love shared during midnight-tea conversations? how else would i know how to love so deeply.
montezuma, sometimes i lay in my bed unable to get up. sometimes i lay in my bed wanting to go home. but oh montezuma, you are home. and what would i do without you?