The pace of life here in is just different. My house sits atop a steep, cobbled driveway a few dozen yards from the main road on campus and what feels like dozens of miles from anything resembling an outside world.
Life on campus at INCAE has its own rhythm. Perhaps "campus" isn't the right word. Back home capus conjures images of big, brick buildings, lively co-eds and excitement all around. Here campus is a rural lush landscape doted with small, bungalow style houses. Walk down the road and you arrive at a cluster of buildings that make up the center of academic life. One small building of classrooms, an administrative building, a small library and an open-air cafeteria. My life is lived within far less then one square mile. House->Class->Cafeteria->Library->House.
At first this was a huge shock to the system. I arrived here just a mere 3 days after leaving San Francisco. From the top floor of my house on Oak street I could look off the back deck and see an entire world surrounding me. Walk down three flights of stairs and there were limitless options. Life unrolled opportunities faster than I could swat at them. Dinners, drinks, games, arts and who knows what else. It was all there for the taking. Out the front door, catch the MUNI and the possibilities were limitless.
Here life is painted with different shades of excitement. Evenings are filled with studying and practicing Spanish. The sun disappears before six and it's the smiles of friends that keep you from slipping off to sleep by 8 pm. Poker games on the porch, beers in the hammock, a quick trip to the small store if you're lucky enough to convince someone with a car. These little things break up the monotony. Longing for the weekend, a rented car and a drive to explore the closest beach town.
Classes are a mixed bag, some challenging both because of their language and because of the sheer volume of content. Others have plenty of good material but just seem to miss the mark on their intended purpose. Would it make sense if I said that it's both reassuring and disconcerting that Harvard-trained professors have the same difficulty connecting materials with actual learning that our professors have back in Denver?
The students here have taken to calling the school INCAE-traz- a nice little mash up of INCAE and Alcatraz - because when you are here there's a sense that you're cut of completely from the outside world. Sometimes I suppose it's good to step away from the usual day-to-day. Sometimes it's good to let life slow down. Sometimes it's good to know that you can get on just fine without the outside world and it can get on just fine without you...
See you soon,