These photos were mostly taken during orientation week, and the rest at least within the first month, because, as you can see, it is still sunny and gorgeous. The weather shifts fairly rapidly into gloom and rain for about, oh, four months of autumn/winter, though in our second year, climate change granted us a mercifully long and mild autumn period. You know, as compensation for all the shit it has already given and will continue to give us everywhere else.
The East House lawn and the path to and from MCL; the latter is obviously the coolest dorm/house in Pearson. In retrospect (as always), it’s a little amazing to consider how many times I’ve traversed the college on that path and how many of those times were hasty and blind with the knowledge that I was late to class. I am reminded of the autumn and spring evenings the setting sun ushered us, lingeringly, out of the caf and we, trailing back to our houses along the edge of the lawn, watched the people playing frisbee or rugby or catch or [insert recreational sport of choice], dispersing only when the light had grown too shy to see properly. The cheery May afternoons, too, when the sun teased us with its rapidly shifting rays, so that we were continuously forced to move our blankets and books ever to the right as it fell, but it was worth it for the glorious, blazing warmth, even as an afternoon exam revision session became two hours of nap time.
There are individual memories too, of course, and personal ones, intimately attached to faces and names and countries, and all of these places are invested with decades of these impressions, of happy, upturned faces into the sun and cautiously brushing hands and the uneven cracking of twigs underfoot, and sometimes I think the campus must be so, so heavy under their accumulated weight, and yet simultaneously, light with emotion and the promise of the Pacific ocean.
My first look at the place I would count two years in. I have never learnt to call it home, however, and I always used to look askance at people who would say I’m going home when they really meant their house/dorm. It’s not a comment on my attachment to Pearson as much as a reflection of my attitude towards the word; in general, I’m more inclined to say that I’m in Singapore now rather than I’m at home. At the same time, Pearson wasn’t an idyll for me, and my recollections of it, as filtered through nostalgia as they inevitably are now, are as much bitter as they are sweet, and I suspect the sweetness came later than sooner, and even then, it could never be described as saccharine.
Still, two years must count for something.
The director’s residence and the director’s lawn. I associate this with MCL primarily because I have only generally been there for house BBQ dinners and house meetings, and some farewell events. There is a proper grill here. That is really all I have to say about this, or from this angle, at least.
This is the view from the director’s lawn. Positively stunning, especially under the sun’s loving eye.
I find the floating building quite fascinating, architecturally. It is also the setting of my favorite class, Philosophy, and the setting of my favorite activity, kayaking. This is one path down to it. How many times have I paused here and just stared, almost uncomprehendingly, at the sheer wonder of the view laid out in front of me? In case the name has not tipped you off, the building floats. Other great things about the building: a couple of grouchy Canadian geese roost in that trolley of plants right next to the ground level walkway. Otters sometimes climb up and frolic amidst the idly swaying sailboats or float lazily on their backs in the water. I saw a rabid raccoon fall or skitter his way clumsily down a tree near the water’s edge, once.
Kayaking launched from the metal platoon there in the photo, and after an hour-long kayak trip out, getting out of the kayak onto the high platform was always a task gingerly executed as all your thigh muscles protested the sudden stretch. It was harder still in the race kayak, of course, as you couldn’t brace yourself on the boat to hoist yourself up or you’ll tip right over, and what an ignoble capsize that would be!
In my first year, this was a thought that often occurred to me: I have never seen this shade of blue before. One of my first and sharpest memories about the bay, unfortunately, is the helplessly naive thought during orientation week that hey, the water is this blue, it can’t be cold, can it?
YES IT CAN.
My buddy took me to do a bay jump (where, as the name suggest, you jump into the freaking bay) on the first day of orientation week, the first day I arrived, and I had the shock of my life (then; other things that happened during my two years later surpassed it in shock value) when I hit the 9 deg C waters. The cold was exacerbated by my (in hindsight, ridiculous) expectation that it would be summery and warm.
I suppose the water can’t be too warm, though. Otherwise, the students would spend most afternoons swimming around in it, especially when it looked this inviting.
This dock was the second go-to place in the sun, after East House lawn, because the sea breeze was cold. But sailing launched along this dock every week (that phrase unfortunately gives the wrong impression that I showed up for sailing every week) and the sailing session on Friday had the curious luck of always being sunny, while the Thursday session will experience the epitome of cloudiness.
I remember lying here with other Pearsonites throughout my two years, faces shielded from the sun even as the rest of our bodies soaked it up, and talking about all manners of things and relishing the rising and dipping of the dock whenever a boat surged past. Sometimes, the lounging took place atop one of the docked keelboats, too. Mostly, the thought running through our heads would be, is there a more beautiful place in the world? I don’t know the answer to that question yet.