asked you, "What are the most important lessons you've learned these
last 11 months?", what would you tell me? I think you need this type of
experience: an intense and leisurely conversation with a good listener you
trust -- someone who will encourage you to articulate the major
developments in your life since your last birthday. Here are some other
queries I'd pose: 1. How have you changed? 2. What long-term process
needs to come to a climax? 3. What "school" are you ready to graduate
Funny I should get a horoscope like this since I'm coming off one of the biggest lessons I've had in years. I don't want to forget things about this experience, from the people to the place to everything. I will write a little bit of this in Japanese in a second, but I've spent the last 9 weeks struggling to express myself in Japanese so I'm switching. Of course, at the moment it's difficult to think in English too, so I'm assuming my wording will be a bit weird. You're warned.
The best thing about the summer? Three things come to mind - the fact that I had to speak Japanese every day during meals made it so I could actually express myself -- at the end there was a conversation with a teacher where I was actually talking about and trying to explain radical feminism and what the word patriarichy means and was able to do it. My language wasn't perfect, but he understood anyway. That walk back from Atwater dinning hall was probably one of my most proud moments - because I could make myself understood. And it came on the heels of one of my most emotionally frustrated moments (during a conversation where I tried to explain to another sensei what the difference between cyberpunk and science fiction was and he just didn't get it... ). I think the contrast made it all the more an achievement.
Second thing is Sara. She was (is) a grad student from the west coast, working on pure literature, and she's older than me and had a family of her own and she kind of adopted me while at the same time calling me friend and I'm just glad that I me her - not only because her japanese was better than mine and she elevated every conversation's difficulty without making me feel uncomfortable about my knowledge gaps, but also because she dragged me swimming and checked on me when I was sick, and bounced ideas off of me when she was writing her papers and came into my room every day for 'tea time'.
Third thing is the grounds of Middlebury itself. YOu want to talk about impeccably cool places to study, views that I looked at every morning that took my breath away, buildings that made me delighted to work in them, and even classrooms (despite the funky smell from time to time) that worked as beautiful spaces to learn. I'll have the pictures up later for proof of that.