Missing Oxy and Waiting for Tokyo
Blogger: Laurel Cox
Hello everyone and Happy (Belated) Lunar New Year! Can you believe we’re already at the year of the Snake? Craziness.
What’s even more unbelievable is that it’s almost March. Where is the year going? This semester is special to me, primarily because I am studying abroad in Tokyo! My program doesn’t start until April, however, so I’ve been at home (im)patiently waiting to leave.
I haven’t just loafed around, though, tempting as that sounds! Earlier this month, actually, I went back to Oxy for a visit. I’ll tell you, nothing confuses people more than when they think you’ve left for the semester and you run into them in the market place. It was nice to get the chance to see my friends who were abroad last semester, as well as see my senior friends one last time before they graduate. Four years really isn’t long enough to get to spend time with the awesome people that Oxy students are.
Since I didn’t really have work to do while I was in LA, I got the chance to explore some of the downtown areas and just relax in the sun, a welcome reprise from the chilly Colorado winter. I even went to Malibu to see the beach! In a sense, the time before I leave for Japan is my summer break, as I will be in Tokyo from April through August. Not that I’m complaining; who could ask for a more exciting place to spend four months than the land of the rising sun?!
Although I was in LA partially to visit, there was another more formal reason for me being there. This fall, I was asked to be on the student committee to help the History department hire a new Chinese History professor. We were asked to read through part of their applications (over 70), discuss our top choices, and interview the three prospective professors invited to come to Oxy. They talked to the student committee (there were five of us) for about an hour, gave a lecture, and discussed their research plans with the rest of the History department. It was a lot of work, but it was quite rewarding and interesting. I think I want to become a professor one day, so it was especially informative in terms of knowing what’s ahead of me if I pursue academia.
While I was in LA this February, I realized how lucky I am to go to Oxy. It was my top choice way back in the way back when I was applying to schools, and my feelings haven’t changed since. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in a routine and take all the wonderful opportunities Oxy has for granted. Next week, for instance, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are coming to perform at Occidental's Spring Fest! I am a little sad I’ll be missing it, but the fact that in the time I’ve been at Oxy we’ve had Snoop Dogg, Common, and now my favorite thrift store tag poppers is incredible.
Of course, Oxy has more than just great taste in music. I was lucky enough to go to a fascinating lecture by former Oxy Professor Karen King on a piece of papyrus that has sparked great debate in the academic world.
I guess all I’m saying (in the most round-about way possible) is that as excited as I am to go to Japan, there is a part of me that will miss Oxy terribly. The fact that I get to go to Japan at all is an opportunity I have because of Oxy, but I still feel a sense of bitter-sweetness when I think about the things that I’ll miss while I’m gone. In a sense, it’s a realization of mono no aware, a Japanese expression that doesn’t exactly translate, but indicates an awareness of the transience of life. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic, or maybe I’ve been watching too many Ozu films.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, but at least we have the internet to keep us connected right?
Until next time, Sayonara!