This post is going to be a whimsical accumulation of the Oberlin things that follow me throughout the summer, and the things I miss the most. Currently, I’m sitting in a gelato store in Brunswick, Maine, thinking about Oberlin. I’m at Bowdoin International Music Festival, which is amazing because it’s like being in Oberlin, just in Maine, with a gelato store, and no classes.
Preparing for summer is always like a bittersweet chocolate bar for me. Yes, it’s beautiful when the trees are blooming, and yes, the fragrance of spring is in the air, and yes, I’m excited not to be wearing my big winter coat anymore, but it also means the year is ending. Another one. Four years seems like a long time, until it’s not. Everything goes by so quickly, and as my fourth year is approaching I’m finding myself savoring every day, knowing that I’ll have to let go of Oberlin as my temporary home at some point.
This year, I had one consolation — Bowdoin International Music Festival, where I’m studying with my wonderful teacher David Bowlin. I get to keep working with him, visit his charismatic and infinitely cute dog, and spend time with several Oberlin studio mates who had the same idea. If you’re in the conservatory and plan to attend a summer festival, as your teacher will undoubtedly encourage you to do, chances are you’ll meet an Obie, or several Obies. Currently I have friends spread across California, New York, Texas, Maine, Florida, Colorado, etc., attending festivals. After Bowdoin I’m attending a week-long festival in Norway with a professor from the Norwegian Academy of music, and guess what? There will also be a handful of Obie violins to go exploring with across the pond. So even though I’m always feeling a bit sad and lonely at the end of the year, we’ll all connect at some point, somewhere. My fellow RA here at Bowdoin is an Oberlin alumna I got to know my freshman year before she graduated and went to Eastman School of Music for graduate school. Small world, eh?
Anyways, enough intro already, let’s get to the nuts and bolts of the things I miss, and am already looking forward to visiting in the fall.
1. Slow Train and the Local: Arriving for my freshman year at Oberlin, I was skeptical about there being only two coffee shops owned by the same people, and the lack of Starbucks. I’d grown so fond of the Starbucks “bring your own mug drip-coffee.” Now, it’s the other way around. Whenever I go to Starbucks I see only an overpriced, overly sweetened, commercial coffee machine. Slow Train has quality espresso drinks for affordable prices, great drip coffee, and amazing salted chocolate chip cookies. Also, their iced chai is some of the best anywhere. I’ve tried numerous others, and they are simply not as good. (Pro-tip from a cream lover, try it with half and half.) Yes, I miss Slow Train, and the bagels from the Local.
2. The Feve: Specifically, the Wellington Burger. It’s a wonderful creation of a juicy beef patty that oozes Münster cheese and chipotle mayo.
3. The UPS store: This might sound strange, but Oberlin has the nicest UPS store. They know my name, greet me with a big smile, and make me feel as though I’m visiting a group of friends whenever I bring in my drop off packages. Just FYI, they also do summer storage.
4. The back room at the Blue Rooster: The Blue Rooster has many intriguing treats, and amazing bread, but also a very cozy hangout room. In the winter it has an electric fireplace, cushy sofas, and comfortable lighting.
5. The Mandarin: I have a soft spot for Chinese takeout and haven’t gotten any good fortune cookies since I left.
6. The hotel lights: I don’t go inside the Oberlin Hotel often, but I walk past it several times a day. I love seeing the colored lights glittering out of the ballroom night after night in alternating colors.
7. The view from Oberlin’s Skydeck: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to climb to the top of Oberlin? Don’t keep wondering, just do it! The Kohl building has a beautiful Skydeck where you can see the entire vista of the metropolis that is Oberlin. But sarcasm aside, it’s beautiful. And the breeze is great! It’s also a magical place for night time yoga.
I’m sure I’m forgetting several other things, but if or when I remember I can always post a follow-up. For now, I wish you all happy summer adventures!