For the last few days, I’ve felt like an outsider observing my life, accompanied by an overly talkative tour guide with a German accent.

Welcome to your senior(ish) year! Welcome to your room! The guide gestures sweepingly; I run my eyes over the sparse bookshelves and ageing furniture of my dorm room. Here is the bed where you’ll sleep. Meet Leonidus, your fish. This is the coffeemaker. China made. Very gut.

Here are your roommates… two human forms appear, vignettes frozen in time and space: one sits sleepily before a theology textbook; the other is motionless in front of the mirror applying smudgy black mascara.

Down the hall are the bathrooms, lots of showers and sinks… reminds me of an airport. Actually, the whole experience makes me think of traveling. I feel like I’m living in a sterilized transportation hub or something. Sleeping in small rooms with other people, using public restrooms, floating from one big building to another, everyone going somewhere bigger than themselves.

Whatever happened to the calm, crisp, snowy Mount Rainier I was hiking a couple of weeks ago? It’s been replaced by mass-produced carpet floors and a 2,000-seat dining hall.

These are your classes. Writing und languages, just like you like, no? Yes, just the types of classes I love. Now I feel like I’m observing each class as an individual object. Here’s one with lots of crevices to explore; here, a very foreign-looking entity that’ll take hours of study time; here, a lower-level class that seems more like a trinket than anything else.

Aaand here are the extracurriculars… Yep, I see. Meetings, university newspaper, community service, meetings, people… ministry. More meetings. Work. Lots of work.

And this is your alarm clock. I silence its raucous call and roll out of bed, bidding the tour guide of my life farewell for now. This is morning. 

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