Today is my fourth full day in the US and my third in Berkeley. It is cool and crisp this fine Friday morning. I find myself, again, at a neighborhood coffee shop where it is likely that I will have coffee to keep me awake in spite of the jet lag. The jet lag has made me sleep in short bursts, forcing me to spend the early hours awake. Those hours are the afternoon right across the ocean.
I have spent the last two days getting settled in the dorm room where I am staying. It is a big room, probably larger than my room at home, and there’s enough space for me to store my stuff. My cousin Jennifer brought me over and helped me settle in the other day, and we spent the rest of that day mainly walking around both the UC Berkeley campus and the city itself. It was fascinating to be finally in a college town of this sort. One of the highlights for me was getting a glimpse of the library, a place with which I might become familiar sometime soon.
Now, I’m at a neighborhood coffee shop just down the hill from the school where I’m studying. The coffee shop takes a lot of clients grabbing coffee to go, but there are those who are having their coffee and food on the premises. Unlike the chain coffee shop I am used to, there is no loud music, and it is also fascinating to enjoy the relative silence of the shop. The only music one could hear is the sound of the street.
I could be here almost every day, having coffee, but to linger here would be a periodic treat from now on. Orientation begins next week, which would keep me busy. And classes would start the week after. It means that I may very well get my coffee to go more often. And there’s a significant discount for bringing one’s own mug.
Hopefully I get to enjoy my weekend, and on Sunday I’ll be sure to steer clear of that flashpoint which is the white supremacist rally somewhere further down the hill. For now, time to relish the rest of the coffee.