I’m slowly warming up to this new yet familiar experience. School, with a once dry and slow atmosphere suddenly bursts into life without warning and everything finds its root from it. Just last week was the last days of the summer semester, and by this time tomorrow, the school would have burst into the full form of a busy, happening place. The geese are here, still not yet nesting. So are the deer. I saw one yesterday on my walk back to Cougar Village for the very first time in three months. It must have recognised me for having visited a place where its kind are “bush meat” because it immediately retreated from the road further into the woods.

Starbucks remains where it usually was, deep on the side of the students centre. On many sides of Peck Hall are water fountains that give the passageway a kind of home feel. On Friday, just for the kicks, I moved the knob on one of it and watch the water sprout up onto my face. The candy and cookie dispensers also remain, stationary as a public building. I won’t be using them this time. I think I have enough sugar in me to last a year. I won’t be patronizing Papa John’s either even if I get a 200% raise. Something about the exuberance of a bubbly Fulbright scholar has receded, and all that remains is a more relaxed mature student (but of course not without sufficient residue of needed mischief).

What remains is the famous bicycle, and/or the car. The latter is a luxury about which I am fighting myself very very seriously. Even with a bicycle, I remember the horror on my own face to discover how much weight I had gained after a mere ten month’s absence. Now imagine that spent in the comfort of a moving vehicle that requires even less physical exertion. I can also almost swear that I will forget where I’ve parked it on campus nine times out of ten. It doesn’t make sense that people who think of so many things should have to operate a moving vehicle. Isn’t there a law against that?

Today I attended a get-together for Turkish students on campus from various levels and different programmes. I was one of the third non-Turkish students there out of about fifty of us, and I made it a duty to tell whomever asked that my qualification for being there was that I had recently been a victim of Turkish Airline bag misplacement. What I didn’t say was that it was actually convenient that the bag had to be brought to me on campus two days later and I was saved the hassle of having to drag it all by myself all the way from Chicago.

I think pretty much everything is in their place now. Now let’s go enjoy the semester.

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