Well folks, we've reached the finish line. The end of Winter Term has arrived! Just this morning, I unpacked my suitcase and tasted my first bite of Stevie cuisine since early December. To be perfectly honest, I have been waiting for this day to arrive since approximately January 5th, but I don't want that to discredit everything I've learned in the past month. It's taken a lot to get here—literally, my connecting flight got delayed six times yesterday—and I'm proud of the progress I've made. Surrounded by yarn and the dulcet tones of nearly every artist under the sun, I have found the knitting process to be almost meditative at times, especially after a long day of wishing I was at Oberlin.
The most fulfilling part of this Winter Term project has been navigating the challenges that arise. Sometimes these are relatively small, like forgetting to slip with yarn in front or accidentally dropping a few stitches, but sometimes they are more complex. I think the most difficult problem so far has been yarn breakage (pictured in the photo album from my last blog). For whatever reason, the green yarn I've been using has a tendency to snap, so I've had to perform a few emergency rescue missions with a tapestry needle. After the first few times this happened (and my heart rate skyrocketed a little higher than it should), I decided to adjust my yarn tension a little in hopes that there would be less stress on the yarn. Since then, it's been smooth sailing.
As it turns out, this tension problem is an excellent metaphor for my Winter Term as a whole. When a challenge arose—a doctor's appointment in Massachusetts on the last day of Winter Term, for example—I learned to overcome and adapt, leaning on additional resources as needed. In time, I found solutions that relieved the tension from within and eventually became independent of the tools I had once relied on.
This practice of overcoming and adapting came especially in handy yesterday when I found myself stuck in Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport for what appeared to be an indefinite amount of time. This was the first time I had to deal with a delayed flight while traveling alone, and I wanted nothing more than to get back to Oberlin and order Korean food with my friends. Every half hour or so, my flight got pushed back another 45 minutes, and I was beginning to lose hope. At some point, I looked up the incoming flight and realized that it still had yet to depart from its original destination. So, instead of panicking, I pulled out my knitting and put on an episode of Drag Race. I've learned this Winter Term that mistakes and challenges are inevitable, but you can always try to make the best of them. And yes, I know that sounds cheesy, but what were you expecting? This is a reflective blog post about the lessons I've learned. Cheese is mandatory.
Eventually, I realized I could have driven to Oberlin (and back) in the time I had been stuck in that airport, but I didn't let that get me down. When I finally landed at Cleveland Hopkins, it didn't really matter how I got there. I was just happy to be with my friends.
So, overall, I would rate this Winter Term a 6 out of 10. Maybe even a 7 if I'm feeling generous. I definitely would've preferred to be on campus, but being away from Oberlin for so long has also given me a deeper appreciation for the time I do have here. I'm feeling refreshed and ready for the next semester to start, and I'm excited to see what screwups and do-overs the upcoming months have in store.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, my favorite new album this month was Maggot by Dazey and the Scouts. I'm still working my way through all the recommendations I received, so my full review of the synesthesia playlist will have to wait until later. In the meantime, I leave you with a complete list of the 34 albums I listened to this Winter Term, with my five-star favorites in bold:
Amidst the Chaos by Sara Bareilles
Ants From Up There by Black Country, New Road
Bad Contestant by Matt Maltese
Beginners by Christian Lee Hutson
Car Wheels On A Gravel Road by Lucinda Williams
Come Around Sundown by Kings of Leon
Coming Home by Leon Bridges
For Lovers by Lamp
Further Joy by the Regrettes
Future Nostalgia by Dua Lipa
Gemini Rights by Steve Lacy
Grace by Jeff Buckley
Growing Pains by Sammy Copley
Honey by Samia
Little Plastic Castle by Ani DiFranco
Look Alive! by Early Eyes
Maggot by Dazey and the Scouts
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Ms. Lauryn Hill
The Much Much How How and I by Cosmo Sheldrake
Oh My Messy Mind by James Bay
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by Simon & Garfunkel