like a lost limb

feeling super nostalgic for NM again. I know. get over it already. it's been like two years + since grad. but I miss the adobe houses and the pale yellow hues of the desert. I feel disillusioned with what uwc has become, but the montezuma castle will always have a special special place in my heart. I will forever savor this feeling; this of belonging, of home, of family. 
I'm thinking about the hot springs. snow swirling down landing on the top of our heads to melt immediately into the reeking algae-filled hot springs. some said they were gross – "ew I'll get pink-eye!" – some loved them. I was one of the latter. I've spent countless early saturday mornings there, soaking in the pool beneath the lobster pool with a murakami book listening to the soft humming of local families enjoying the start of their weekend. I've spent countless late nights there, often in the company of friends. those were the best. during first year carlie and I made a vow to sit in the toasters after class every friday afternoon. I miss those afternoons. and I still remember going over to denali knocking on láz's door after check to walk to the hot springs. that's how we became friends. the grass on the field was always wet during the evenings. dewy and cold. and the muddy stairs were always dead slippery, especially in the winter. and we always wore our flip-flops, no matter what season. that made the road there very cold, almost always. but it was so worth it when dipping your feet in the warm hot springs. that tingling sensation. ahh. I miss that, endlessly. I'll savor that feeling forever, too.
one of the last montezuma snow falls I got to experience. april 5th, 2017.
I remember lying on the dawn light roof with benja and mihir during orientation. someone had shown ben how to get up and he'd promised to show me. I'd never met mihir before. that night we talked about the size of the universe and I remember thinking that I'd never have an experience like this at home. I remember thinking mihir was so pessimistic. later, his nihilism was one of the things I loved most about him. my best friend, brother. on sunny february afternoons we'd sit out on the field with our respective books and a coffee cup each. and we'd sit there soaking in the sun and read.
february, 2017. he read catch 22. I think I was in my one-short-story-a-day- period, where I read one murakami short story in the sun each day.
I remember our movie nights. mine, ben, carlie, and mihir's. that's how I met carlie. I can't remember how she was added to our trio but then she was there. and we became best friends. during first year fall I remember thinking that she was one of my only friends there. I remember her showing me her favorite spot on campus. by the water. we sat there before going on our first year retreat talking about the crazy night she'd had prior. it was blackout, I think. I'd gone to bed at 10. she couldn't sleep. that night we walked to CVS instead of partaking in the group activities. or maybe it was duane reade? I don't know. but I remember that walk along the car roads in santa fe. it felt endless. everything is just big in the US. another time in santa fe (one of our firsts), benja and I acquired one of those new mexican chili thingies. the ones that hang. chile ristras, I think they're called. I got half and ben had half. they hung in our rooms for the whole of first year.
me, carlie, and ben in front of the santa fe locomotive. this was the day benja and carlie got zias. a declaration of friendship. hahaha. september? october? 2015. 
I remember the first snow ever. in december 2015. it was mihir's first snow fall ever. he was so happy. we took a walk around the hot springs down to the ice skating pond and back before brunch. all the caribbeans were so happy too. by noon they were all frolicking in the snow, throwing snowballs and making snow angels. eric had so much snow on his glasses. and rebecca wore her down jacket coupled with her flip-flops when walking up to the castle. haha. so typical.
top: from mine and mihir's morning walk. bottom: eric! what a cutie. I miss his smiley face. december 2015.
I remember coming back second year and feeling at peace immediately. that first week before our first years came still remains one of my favorite weeks at uwc. settling back in. I can't really describe it better than that it felt like coming home. they'd changed the coffee and tea stations in the caf, putting in two different kinds of coffee (what was it, like hazelnut? french vanilla? pumpkin spice? it was fucking bougie) and like six different kinds of tea (that jasmine tea was amazing). zsuzsa and I shrieked of excitement when we first saw it. I remember meeting libbie for the first time. we watched ru paul's drag race one of the first nights she was in the room. I had never seen it before. she was so independent, already from the beginning. not like me, being dragged around to all the stupid orientation events. she knew what she wanted. the first time I got sick I went to take a shower and when I came back she'd made my bed and had made me tea. I remember feeling endlessly grateful after having a really messy roomie relationship during my first year. libbie was my rock – a light in my life. when I was heartbroken she made cookies in the dayroom and her and carlie took stupid shrek photos on my photo booth. 
I remember hugh coming to my room to talk about his summer, telling me he had a revolutionary experience while swimming when being high. or something like that. I can't remember what his sentiment was but I remember him saying that it happened when he saw the boat lights shine underwater. I remember laughing. I remember making avocado fries in the MB dayroom with anchor and benja. they turned disastrous but at least we had fun in the process. I remember denali karaoke nights. those were some of my favorite nights. screaming my lungs out to abba with HP and knowing all the lyrics to hotel california with jack and láz. I really miss those nights hanging out in the dayrooms. they were always filled during the beginning of the semester and then as soon as midterms hit, all of a sudden, they were empty. except for at 2am during the weekends, when the parties had been shut down and zsuzsa and avit and I were hunting for eggs in kili. man, I miss those times. we'd always eat fried eggs when we got drunk. it was our unspoken ritual. 
hugh saying something existential, probably. august 2017.
avocado fries in MB dayroom, august 2017.
one of mine, avit's, and z's many third-semester freakouts. this was an early one. in september, I think? third semester was the time of college essays and IB hand-ins. E.E stuff. I.A's. it was fucking awful. I'm happy these two got me through it. 
I remember going on walks with anders and rachel's dog. lulu was her name, I think. I used to go with láz, and we'd walk up to the wifi rocks or the lookout point and sit there for a while. I remember really missing having someone to take care of because most of the time it felt like people were taking care of me. 
at the lookout point. survival week, october 2016.
I remember route-setting sundays with andrew. after brunch. sometimes hungover. other just tired. with selina. and joey. and hugh. I remember wanting to grab all the best holds but not knowing what to do with them. but I remember that feeling of completing routes and feeling like you had the perfect sequence and it made so much sense and then as soon as someone else tried it they'd climb it in a completely different fashion. route-setting is fun like that. those sundays were my favorite, because then I'd get to spend time with andrew and eve. I think about both of them a lot. they changed my uwc experience drastically, but for the better. still today, climbing has been what has lingered on since my time at uwc. that release of anxiety I get while climbing is the same. I remember walking up to the wifi rocks after school. shoes on a carabiner attached to my bag. chalk inside. no pad. sometimes I'd meet hugh on the way. the sun would shine through the pine trees creating long shadows around me. and I would listen to my own steps against the dry needles and cones on the ground. and the sky was always blue. those were my favorite afternoons.
route-setting with hugh, joey, and andrew, october or november 2016.
our first time exploring the wifi boulders. selina, elias, andrew, and hugh. when was this? november, maybe? 2016.
happiest by the wifi rocks. this was right before winter break in 2016.
selina and eve by the lower wifi crag. two gals I miss endlessly. february, 2017.
I remember playing stress with karen on our yurts trip. hahaha. I was so happy someone else knew what stress was (apparently it's a scandi card game) and I was so excited to play. stress was my favorite childhood card game. sophia and I would spend countless hours rounding it with superstress and skitgubbe. needless to say, I'm pretty good. so we started shouting in excitement, and our wilderness leaders got really pissed and we had to stop. that trip was the first time I experienced caffeine abstinence. oh my god. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and taking ibuprofen to wake up a couple of hours later feeling like it didn't work at all. I've never had a worse headache. anders ended up giving me some of his faculty coffee and then I felt fine. it was a bad experience. then I decided to try getting off coffee for a while. avit did the same. so she'd come into my room and take my matcha tea powder all the time. I ended up giving it to her.
from our yurts trip, february? march? 2017.
and I remember my last days there. my last nights, too. selina and I took doug with us to the wifi boulders and then the d-boys showed up and we bouldered and hung out in our hammocks and the sun was shining and it was may and montezuma was at its best. one day andrew transported carlie selina and I from the upper wifi boulders in his van and eve got to sit in the backseat with us. selina, hugh, and I went bouldering in the middle of the night once, with headlights as our only source of light. it was great. I remember thinking that in a week we'd be out of there. it was a scary thought. one I savor, still, as well. I remember spending endless hours in simen and láz's room. that was my safest space on campus. I could just walk in and know I'd be comforted in some way. I was fucking terrified of graduation but looked forward to it anyhow. after two years, it was... time. even though it sucked. I've never cried that much in my entire life. 
my favorite spring afternoons. with hugh and selina. this was in april? or may. 2017.
selina on the lookout point by the wifi rocks. that's las vegas in the distance. may, 2017. one week until grad.
my two roomies. libbie and láz. that's libbie's part of our room. fulfilled with a kahlo tapestry I got her while in mexico and that list on the left that says "top ten mexicans." hahaha. láz had one in his room with his top ten canadians. I miss these two so much. it breaks my heart that I'll never get to experience moments like these again. another one to savor.
the glimmering desert sky I'll never be able to capture in words. I have never seen anything more stunning. first time seeing the milky way I cried. I still remember that. on a blanket on the water reservoir during orientation. 
huuuuuuhhhhshh. looking back on these memories makes me really sad. I barely talk to anyone I got to know at uwc anymore. I don't know if it's sad or not. I think that's merely how life works. I'll look through old pictures and smile at the sight of someone I'd forgotten but not really. the picture brings them back, vivid memories floating to the surface. of that person. we might not even have been friends, but we shared this experience together. you know? it's like you live on a really secluded campus for two years and it fucks you up in a horrible yet beautiful way. there are people you'd never talk to on a day-to-day basis but looking back at photos of them you still feel this ache in your heart for them. it's like an extended family. does that make sense? or a lost limb. one that still senses but is no longer there.
I guess that's what's uwc has become to me. a lost limb.
- a
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