It is finally here. The abstract and unknown “UCLA summer” that I have been dreaming about since fall semester in France has arrived, and I am very quickly getting deep into it. I’ve started my linguistic anthropology course (an exciting and oddly familiar way to jump back into things (academia, I’ve missed you)). And, I started giving tours again this week. I’m really looking forward to starting my RA position in July. I get to read up on Madagascar and look at the language used in the politics of its capital city. Cool stuff.
But summer is also much much more than doing cool research or taking a fun class or giving tours. I finally moved into my new apartment, which (I hope) I will begin decorating very soon in preparation for having friends over for potlucks and soirees. I’ve already went on a summer weekend trip to San Diego to watch baseball, hang out at the beach, and go jetskiing (a fantastic way to get reacquainted with American Summer). I’m meeting new friends and getting to know old ones better.
My favorite thing, though, is being on UCLA’s campus again. I have gone on a walk every day, most times twice a day, to check in with my oldest college pal. I have taken many strolls through the botanical garden and will, of course, continue to do so until I’ve touched every plant in the place. Since I’ve been gone, the garden has gotten two new succulent plots with some of the cutest miniature cacti and trees I’ve ever seen. I’m redoing all of my favorite walks and making news ones up. Lots of the construction projects that were happening my first two years at UCLA have been finished and now I can walk freely in spaces that were formerly blocked off with orange tape and chainlink fences.
This weekend I’m going to the Marina Aquatic Center to go kayaking. Today I visited a friend’s apartment. It is summertime. Finally, after having the longest vacation of my life in France, I am on my last UCLA summer break. And while I’m still transitioning over into a new normal, everything feels very hopeful and very exciting. I’m back, babe.