Die Luft der Freiheit

My parents–especially my mom whose own experience at St. Hilda I might someday recount–were not particularly thrilled at me refusing to apply to Oxford, nor at the prospects of paying for a 4-year education. In England, you spend only three years at university and there are even plans to curtail it further–which is jolly sound idea if you ask me, since you actually don’t learn anything there.

Stanford is one of those American universities which regularly churn out presidents, senators, supreme court justices, captains of industry and athletes (at least until they earn too much money and drop out altogether). It is relaxed, compared to many an Ivy and the weather is amazing, except for a few weeks in winter when Mother Nature vindictively dumps the entire year worth of torrential rain onto the campus. But it is also the prime example of academic bubble or ivory tower, ironic for a school whose motto was “The Wind of Freedom Blows,” or in original German, “Die Luft der Freiheit Weht” which sophistically sounds like something you would put on a concentration camp.

From Stanford, it usually takes an effort to go to the nearest noteworthy stores or restaurants–or in my case right now, a spa and a hookah bar. Which is why I decided to stay in bed and blog. ‘The city’ is still good forty minutes away. I find it extremely tragic and fitting that the school that produced the Silicon Valley around it remained this isolated and reclusive like so many techdenizens around us.

It should not be so. My parents told me stories about befriending barmen at Oxford (which just says something about my parents and the decade they grew up in) and my mom is still in awe about her chance encounter with the great Tolkein some far autumnal day. Paris is playground of my friends at Sorbonne, while I cannot shield my jealousy that those at Columbia are getting invited to the most exclusive of Upper East Side parties. And the only invitations I get are to some geriatric health farm. (Californians are healthnuts, and everytime I try to drink whole milk, people looked at me as if I just ran over their kid).

So my only New Year Resolution this year is to get out more from this bubble we aptly call ‘the Farm’ and to record my true feelings about it.

Hopefully it doesn’t get shattered like so many pieces of prior broken resolutions.


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