This past week no one asked me about my spring break.
For starters, I technically have no vacations at all.
“But Jordi, isn’t a gap year, like, 12 whole months of pure recess?”
No! While I do get some time to sunbathe on weekdays, I still work, take classes and learn new languages (eu estou aprendendo o português!). Then why talk about spring break? Because I had one anyway, and IT’S NO MORE. Before you roll your eyes, I promise there’s a life lesson bundled inside this story; stick around or skip right to the third to last paragraph.
Now let’s ask the question: What did you do over break, YALE? SPRNG BRK 2k12 was fun, right?!
“Way to cure blindness in a Malawian village, Sharon. Of all people, I always knew you would be the one do it in less than 14 days.”
“You got sloshed in Hawaii? You go Karl Donovan, you go Karl Donovan.”
My spring break, or rather, a few of my friends’ breaks, partly consisted of visiting me in my tropical empire, la República Dominicana. Here’s a bowdlerized version of what went down, with some pointers squeezed in for good measure:
• We sang karaoke — artists to honor should include Gwen Stefani, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and LCD Soundsystem. You know, the Greats.
• We sustained erratic blotches of sunburn; the noon sun is the worst (add something about buying spray-on aloe vera; let Lauren know she didn’t steal my T-shirt (my mom did)).
• We stayed at a hotel in Punta Cana. Tips for a potential séjour:
-Make buddies with waiters.
-Bring tinfoil, bathing suit(s).
-Always opt for the all-inclusive hotel package. A-L-W-A-Y-S.
-Peaches can be appropriate beach music if no one else is listening. #teachesofpeachesinbeaches
-Enunciate. “Gift shop” could be misconstrued as “gay show.”
-Steer clear of Cuban strangers with no visible friends.
• We ate barrows of Dominican food, which is to say, plantains, plantains, plantains and red soda. I hear you can do the same in East Haven!
• We fed our minds with the wisdom of 30 Rock, RuPaul’s Drag Race and America’s Next Top Model. We hope you did too.
• We watched “The Descendants” while eating Nutella with our fingers, despite the option of bringing in a plastic goblet of wine inside a movie theatre. If ever watching “The Descendants,” I recommend you do so too. Everyone will stare at you and you will not give a single fuck.
• We also cured some blindness and someone got sloshed (I didn’t do the latter because I was the designated driver, so take that, future employers).
• My Yale friends met my Dominican high school friends and somewhere in the universe, a black hole devoured a planet. As the Mayans predicted.
Tires screech! Moral approaching! Third thing!
Back when I was a teenager, many older peers warned me about the fickle bonds formed during high school. That I was going to lose most of my friends, that the glue holding us together was the quotidian scenario of our interactions. After all, education has been a categorical expectation since birth. Whether it’s primary school or Yale, they all form part of the same blueprint. The prognosis came true: I can now count the number of high school friends I care about with 10 fingers or less.
The difference when it comes to higher education is both cultural and behavioral:
(a) The American model of college usually implies living where you study.
(b) I once paid an expert to tell me that our individual personalities fully congeal after high school, when the umbilical cord shows signs of rupture and autonomy begins to weigh over our choices.
If you share a toilet with five other people or make dinner dates with classmates, all while you become the person you will arguably be for the rest of your existence, you have to admit, that’s a powerful development. It’s golden, man!
So when my Yale and Dominican buds converged, a fascinating estuary of common interests and friction took place. I realized my college pals, with only three years of friendship under our belt, know me better than many of my loved ones at home. I can try to prove it on Facebook or Google+, but my social Venn Diagram has expanded, and with it, trust and priorities have shifted. Sad truth? Nope, just another classic spring break lesson. It is what it is.
My only regret: not partying with the Delta Kappa Epsilon bros who were in town. Punta Cana next year, you guys?