Until I came to Grinnell, I had lived with my parents in Kansas City. Living in a dorm in the middle of rural Iowa has been quite a change for me. College was the first time I had to share a room and the first time I lived among my peers for any extended period. I was a bit nervous the day I moved in, knowing my living space would be drastically different from what I was used to. My floor would be my home for the next year. And what a home it has become!
Change often happens without notice. One day, I’m just a student, taking classes, thinking about ideas — and suddenly the school year is nearly over, and it hits me just how much I’ve learned, grown, and changed in the last nine months. One of the courses that influenced me the most was Education 101. It challenged my ideas about what knowledge is and how it’s acquired, and revitalized my desire to work in public education.
All it took was 30 days for me to be swept off my feet. Grinnell took my breath away from day one, and as I walked dazedly around campus, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. From the beaming smiles of everyone I passed, to the crisp and refreshingly unpolluted Iowa air, to my awesome Nepali roommate, everything finally seemed comfortable.
J.B. Grinnell is a towering figure in the history of Grinnell, Iowa. Josiah Bushnell Grinnell -- better known as J.B. -- was born in Vermont in 1821. He grew up a farm boy, working in the fields in the spring and summer and attending school only in the winter. He learned quickly and began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse by the age of 16. After spending a few years teaching, he left Vermont to attend Oneida Institute in New York, a radical institution that opposed slavery. It was there that Grinnell became a staunch abolitionist.
It’s around 2 a.m. The library has already closed, and you have four more pages to go on a paper about sentimentality in the fiction of Mary Wollstonecraft. So you set up your laptop and a veritable tower of books in
the living room of Mears Cottage on the south side of campus. The Victorian-style, English and history house has a comfortable feeling, with glowing incandescent lights and couches for when four o’clock rolls around and sleep becomes nothing short of inevitable.
Here we have another late report. Apparently Africa is still in my blood and I am still doing things slowly. I am back in the States. So is my luggage. So is Lauren. The latter two almost didn't make it. Just as my luggage was lost when I arrived in Lesotho last January, it was also lost when I left Lesotho this December. Just as Lauren realized her money belt was missing when we arrived at the Joburg airport last January, she realized her ticket was missing at the Joburg airport the day we were leaving this December. But in the end we and our luggage arrived back in the States.
If I haven't been awakened by the roosters already, my alarm gets me up about 6:30. I used to get up closer to 6:00 and go jogging with Ali twice a week, but I've gotten lazy and its getting to cold for me to jog. If it was sunny the day before, there's the chance of warm water for a bath. Sometimes when it hasn't gotten too cold the night before, we both get a bath. Otherwise, we've fallen into a more or less alternating day schedule on hygiene.