By Dorothy Bowerfind
Ah. Spring Break: A time to catch up on lost sleep, two weeks to binge watch movies on Lifetime Movie Network, the lifespan of a housefly to debug your apartment…a glorious time in every college student’s life. While some of us hung around and stayed close to campus, others traveled far and wide.
Stayed Close to campus: Hyukhee Kwon (2020) completed an Urban Scavenger Hunt in Santa Fe. In the best tradition of St. John’s, she has rendered the genesis of this adventure in the form of a dialogue.
A little bored after a week of spring break hiatus, my friends Pavitra, Bobin, Ashish and I were thinking about something FUN to do.
Bobin: I want to walk around Santa Fe. I have been to Walmart several times but never actually saw the REAL Santa Fe.
Ashish: I like walking too, but I want to eat something really good. I’m hungry.
Me: I heard there is an amazing burger place. I want to go there.
Pavitra: Guys, I know what to do! I know something that would fulfill all your wants. We should do the urban scavenger hunt!! I have a gift card for it!
Ashish: What’s that?
Pavitra: It is a great game to explore the major parts of Santa Fe closely in every nook and cranny. It is super fun. Also we can go to the burger place you talked about, Hyukhee.
Bobin: That’s exactly what I want to do! That would certainly make me explore Santa Fe thoroughly.
Me: Sounds like fun. And if we’re going to the burger place, I’m in.
Ashish: Well then me too.
And so we went.
(from the left: Pavitra, Ashish, Bobin)
(We are solving the first question in front of San Miguel Church, the oldest construction in Western US.)
Me: Damn, I didn’t know the first question would be a math problem!
Ashish: Yeah, the problem has no respect for people who doesn’t have the brain do math!
Pavitra: But we do. Let’s do it.
Me: I like how we run into murals and monuments every 20 feet we walk.
Ashish: It’s more like every 10 feet. By the way that mural is nice but the guitar seems so alien there with a monarchy.
After solving about 4 questions, we became super hungry. Coincidentally we were passing by the burger place, THE burger place I wanted, so we went in there and feasted.
(Ashish with his chicken sandwich that is invisible in the picture and Pavitra with her vegetarian dish)
With a satisfied stomach, we continued the quest. The first question after lunch was super difficult! It was the first one we got wrong.
The day was growing cold, cold breeze started picking up. Ashish and I insisted on quitting the quest and going back home, but Pavitra was firm. She was eager to finish the quest.
(After decoding the hints, only to realize that the sentence is “Travel two blocks to the town plaza”)
Ashish: “Travel two blocks to the town plaza”? That’s what we found after walking ten minutes!
Bobin: It’s so frustratingly addictive..
At last, we finished the quest! We solved 17 questions, and got 13 of them right. The process was sometimes frustrating and arduous, but we couldn’t have explored Santa Fe so thoroughly if we didn’t keep up and finished it. Approaching the end of the quest, we encountered this piece of artwork. As is carved in the wooden bricks, hope is what led us here. And it was precisely worth it. I knew that Santa Fe was beautiful, but I discovered the colorful vitality that is breathing in every hidden corner of the city.
Traveled Far and Wide: Akiva Katz (2018) describes a whirlwind international spring break adventure.
On either end of my spring break I took four flights to get from Albuquerque to Israel and back. First, Albuquerque to New York, New York to Boston, Boston to Istanbul, Istanbul to Tel Aviv. It was truly exhausting. It was made up for however by the experience of attending my cousin’s wedding. Though I am not a particularly religious person, the traditional ceremony was beautiful to witness. His wife’s family was very welcoming and friendly, and one of them is a student at Israel’s first Liberal Arts (and Great Books!) schools, Shalem College. It was fascinating to discuss our two curricula and different approaches to learning, and it quickly became clear that we both, like most students drawn to either program, shared a passion for books, inquiry, and discussion.
I also was able to revisit my favorite tattoo shop in Tel Aviv and get some more work done by an artist there who has done some work for me already. Tattoos are taboo in Judaism, but the thriving diverse community of Tel Aviv supports a number of tattoo shops in the same neighborhood. The artist, Nick, comes from a secular family from the Ukraine and we often spend time discussing the difficulties evinced by religious conflict in the middle east.
On the way back I spent a short day in New York, where I had a chance to see my father. He’s participating in a charity fundraiser in April as an amateur boxer, and was able to train with him for few hours. We trained with Christophe Mendy, who represented France in the 1996 Summer Olympics. It was the hardest workout I’ve done in a very long time.
It was great to get away for a while, to see family and friends, and travel a bit, but I am happy to be back at school, immersed in the program, and home in Santa Fe.
Here are a few additional highlights from the break (and maybe some ideas for next year!).
The Croquet Team Break:
The Croquet Team spent part of spring break practicing together at the Pinehurst Country Club in North Carolina!
The Freshman Break:
Xin Ye and Nishan Dhungel attended a 10 day Vipassana meditation retreat. Xin Ye says he learned that, “mind precedes everything, liberation should start within.”
Cookie Chang went hiking in the Joshua Tree National Park, in Southern California. She had never seen lizards do pushups before, but in case anyone was wondering, they do. They do them a lot. On rocks. Here is a video, although not from Joshua Tree Park, to prove it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WW_N3MQBjoE.
The Sophomore Break:
Enablement essays are life.
(The enablement essay is important essay due in the second semester of of your second year at St. John’s—sophomores often use spring break as an opportunity to get a head start on it.)
The Junior Break:
Felipe Rego went home to Miami to work on his upcoming summer project. He will be creating a new educational assessment measure and piloting it with/for Learn01.
Andre Pellegrin translated some Pascal, which is cool AND interesting.
The Senior Break:
Kaitlyn Bredeson visited New York City with her family–and was kind enough to share these pictures with us!