Fall Break: Odds & Ends

Warm returns from a much-needed fall break! Unlike the one in Spring, fall breaks make me feel less energized academically but enhance efforts to relax and celebrate my favorite month. For some fall means escaping to islands or other urban hearts or loved ones abroad. For me it means being okay with fall breaks being hard, and healing.

Though I remained pretty local, mine was full of oddities. I added a banana leaf and a pin with many eyes to my jean jacket collection; I read half a novel for my Black Horror class in a coffeehouse (the book was odd; I’ll talk more about it later!); sweet friends & I visited an oddities shop on 4th named “Strange and Unusual,” bought familiar cassette tapes at the nearby Repo Records and Federal Donuts for the train ride home. We returned to Mando’s place in South Jersey for a cozy, festive witching hour with her pup, her two black cats, & the laughter from the Taika Waititi film “What We Do in the Shadows.” Other friends visited me on campus or met me for dinner. I bowled an unimaginable strike, collected many hours of Netflix originals & made a trip to my West Philly home.

fall breaking bread

One of the neatest things about not leaving for short breaks? There’s a lived-in quiet on campus where people feel rested. I ended my break in the cozy company of friends. They shared a meal upon returning from an art festival, but it had the communal warmth of inhabiting campus in the absence of dining hall hours or academic routines. One of them brought me a printed poem for my room and they filled the space with music and creative energy. They offered me leftover bread from La Colombe and evening comfort.

Weird things: The sharp energy changes to adjust to week-long breaks, ideal fall weather in Philly, the not-getting-used-to-feeling-uprooted, driving through the creek at night on our way back with friends. The book I’m reading for Black Horror has unreliable narrators and witchcraft and family lineages and heartbreak, but somehow among the realities and unreality my fall breaks are historically odder. Just the idea of having it marked on a planner and still feeling it creep up on me, too brief but long enough to throw a groove makes fall break my most welcome & least loved. (Below: South Street haunting, my cute creature vampire pachimari, the novel for Black Horror, and the tape on which the first song is named “Supernatural.”)

But because it’s fall break, I make efforts to enjoy October and the unusually ideal Philly weather. I sleep (a lot) and I make plans and I make notes for when I return when needed. (Make therapy appointments, make plans for eating, make…) There are a lot of upcoming things to celebrate! From the AMO Night Market to ideas to dance performances, fall semester is full of richness.

My Spotify is pretty private to me, but I’ll share a mix I made for this month and the oddness it captures. Happy October, and I hope you enjoy its sweetness!

Multi*… Haircutting…and Junior Dreams

Junior year has fulfilled many of the things I’ve been hoping to do in my time here, even though we’re only a month into fall semester. Not only have I established my place on campus in a variety of ways (and after two years I finally feel like the earth isn’t always moving to collapse), but I’ve been lucky enough to cross some items off of the internal bucket-list I have worked on since arriving here. I’m not going abroad this year (too many jobs, too many major requirements), a choice that, for me, means I have energy to channel to the mark I make on this place and my remaining time here. I had imagined a bucket-list post that never came to fruition… but now, here we are!

One thing I’ve been wanting to do is create a club on campus, and what originated as a brain-child between pals became a reality late spring semester. Now I have an established one that I co-created with a friend! Named Multi*, our club is made and meant for students who may or may not yet identify as having multiracial, ethnic, or cultural experiences, encompassing those from transnational backgrounds, mixed families or upbringings that are otherwise complicated in some way. We are making an effort to emphasize the club’s openness; the description is ambiguous for a reason, because beyond ourselves we were hearing a lot of confusion and uncertainty from other students regarding AMO spaces, belonging, and needing a space to talk through and heal from liminal identities. The visual below is from our first meeting this semester, and the image at the top of the post is from our interest meeting last spring!

We’re hoping to meet every other week for the fall semester, and our meetings have been taking place on Tuesday evenings in the Campus Center pool room. For now we’re focusing on small, intimate conversations about things like perception and space, language, family, and diaspora, but if all goes to plan we will be collaborating more with other affinity groups in the near and far future. Either way, despite the road bumps existing without an e-board, learning how to budget, and growing our idea from the ground up, Em and I are extremely excited!!

On a less formal note, last weekend my friends hooked a left on their way to Senior Cocktails in Erdman to stop by my room and trim our hair together. Using a razor kit one of us found in a free box, and with two of us already having gone short over the summer, we sat in circles on my floor to the calming hum of razor noise.

I’ve had my fair share of tiny, heartwarming moments here. But there’s something about how easy it was to cut our hair on a Friday night, like some overdue Bryn Mawr chop without the newness, and still having it be messily sweet.

Here’s to experiencing new things Junior year. < 3