East Hall kitchen and a massive bowl of scrambled eggs and spinach: a proper breakfast to begin a Sunday morning. Emily and I arrived at my old dorm on Wednesday and moved in across the hall from David Boy and Juliana for the next 1.5 weeks. We're here to research I2E2's impact on faculty, and I've been walking campus and wandering the local area with a million things bubbling and bursting in my heart, a decade of memories layered atop each other and this weird new ability to be present and experiencing them.

My old Olin friends aren't here, of course. It's strange to work in the study rooms and not have Andrew sitting across from me waiting for an extremely tardy Mark, strange to come into my room and not find Kristen there, and strange to walk past suites and feel like I can't burst in and wave or just plonk down and work, the way I'd do when those suites were filled with friends and teammates. But the lounges are still here, and the students are still wonderful. I provided vocal harmonies at a Beatles sing-along at yesterday's lunch and ended up talking with Chelsea about FWOP. Abe re-taught me Hearts last night, David fed me home-baked bread, Victoria and Alex and Chaz dragged me upstairs to swing dance in the 2nd floor lounge until 1am. I miss the spontaneous randomness of this place, and know full well it's probably my last time tasting it, so I'm just relishing that.

I didn't appreciate this nearly enough when I was actually a student. I was constantly in motion working -- not unique among Olin students -- but I think I felt like work was my best connection with others, something concrete to communicate about, and that I needed to constantly try and try and try to initiate communications all the time because I wouldn't catch any connections otherwise because it was So Hard. It's my first time in the Olin dorms with hearing aids, and being able to hear up to 1kHz instead of only 0.5 is mindblowing. I can understand card game conversations, drop into games of Taboo, hear people commenting on Pitch Perfect as we watch the film, and it fills me with wonder; how much more is in the world, how much bigger is it than anything I can imagine -- even just with talking-to-people, even just with sound in this small place at this small time? And the wonder hurts, rips at my heart to know that there's still so much world beyond... but it is good.

And honestly, that wide, wide sense of wonder at the big, big world is, I think, the best gift I've been given. If I pass anything on to my kids, I want that to be it, far more than my math talent or my writing skill or my musical abilities. To be able to marvel, wide-eyed, at an infinite universe even while it moves you to tears. I wish I could express this more coherently.

Today I'm headed to the Gardner museum with Susan from Admissions, who was the first to greet me as a 16-year-old arriving at Olin for the first time. Yesterday I had a long, long breakfast with Christine, who saw me often as I ran into Rick's office; on Thursday I was privileged to watch my cousin Melanie's high school graduation. It's a gorgeous day.