Oberlin Blogs


February 9, 2010

Alice Ollstein ’10

I want to begin by apologizing for not blogging in an embarrassingly long time. For most of Winter Break and Winter Term I was cut off from Internet, and the few moments I grabbed in Internet cafés were spent posting on my project's blog, which I'll soon turn in to my Winter Term faculty sponsor and dear friend Ana Cara.

After a month in hot, dry, rural Nicaragua, it's bizarre to be back. A week ago I was sweating in shorts. Yesterday I shoveled snow for the first time in my life. Two weeks ago I was sharing a dirt-floor home with a farming family in San Juan de Limay. Now I enjoy my own room (with a door) in a lovely, heated off-campus house, a house that looks particularly cozy and cottage-like in the current Winter Wonderland. I've transitioned very quickly from seeing suffering and resilience to silliness and pleasure, and it's been difficult to rationalize and connect these two parts of my life. And it's hard not to feel guilty about participating in some of that silliness and pleasure myself -- a delicious meal with local beer at the Feve, walking through the snow to check out vintage hats at Ratsy's, seeing a wonderful Shakespeare play starring several of my friends.

I have several things on my plate for the semester that will help bring what I saw and learned back to Ohio. One, a class on travel writing, where I can process my experiences and produce some pieces to share with others. I have many friends in the class (funny how writers and travelers gravitate towards one another) and even our first assignment was a great opportunity to revisit and work through some of the more unpleasant aspects of my recent travels. Writing is great therapy. Editing with friends is even better.

I'm also looking forward to getting back in action with the Nicaragua Sister Partnership committee. We have so much to share from our trip and so many ideas to (hopefully) bring to fruition, including, but not limited to: an all-OSCA Nicaragua food night, political activism on trade issues, pressuring Campus Dining Services to stop buying bananas, explaining the importance of our project to the OSCA board and general membership, and perhaps some more fundraiser dance parties like our successful one last semester.

It still hasn't sunk in that this is my last semester of college, but I'm trying to milk it for all it's worth -- taking challenging classes with excellent professors, seeing all the plays and concerts I can, and leading an exciting and productive committee. Oh, and graduate. And have fun.

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