the center of the world

A couple of weeks ago our class on creative non-fiction writing discussed essays on New York City. Our professor, Dr Cristina Hidalgo, told us that many writers spoke of NYC as “the center of the world”. “I’d say UP Diliman is the center of the world!” she said with a laugh.

Which got me to thinking – she was right. Wherever you are is the center of the world for you.

When class was over, I decided to walk around campus a bit.

Beside the Faculty Center is the University of the Philippines Vargas Museum. Right next to its entrance is this fantastic nommery – The Museum Cafe by Cafe Iana (which is at the College of Music). Their butter-rich silvanas melt in the mouth, I promise you.

I acquired my pre-loved Kindle 2 only a couple days before. I explore how it works while enjoying pasta and a cup of brewed coffee. A huge yellow umbrella deflects the sun’s mild rays as I survey an oasis of emerald. It is cool, so cool on my eyes, that even the restless stirrings of my soul are stilled for the moment.

My cup of coffee is adorned with chocolate syrup feathers on steamed milk foam. The brown sugar glitters like crushed gems. I hesitate to drink and destroy the art. But I have seen it, it will always be in my mind’s eye, and the photograph I take lets me share the beauty I see with others.

After the meal, I walk a route familiar from undergraduate days, from the Vargas Museum past the Faculty Center and Palma Hall to the Main Library.

No one from UP calls Palma Hall that. It’s still ‘AS”, short for “College of Arts and Sciences”, which it housed before CAS was split up into the College of Science, College of Arts and Letters, and College of Social Science and Philosophy.

I look up and see a lacy tracery of leaves against the sky. There is always something new to see wherever you are – the trick is to change your angle of vision. Tilt your neck upwards, sideways, this way and that. Risk a stiff neck for a never-seen vista, a novel image. Be open to wonder. Squint. Use your imagination. Look at something upside-down. Experiment, marvel, accept.

Beside the Main Library is a new cafe – Bulwagan Cafe. I must visit it next time and see what caffeinated goodness they have to offer.

On the  front steps of the library are students. I hear there are some inside too, sometimes.

Across the library is a verdant bamboo grove. Beyond it is more grassy expanse, more earth and plants and wee creatures.

As dusk falls, the lamps across campus flick on one by one. I cast a glance back, and spy a lone orange globe glowing amber against the deep green of trees.

Past the library are more trees, lamps, and people for whom this campus is the center of the world, as it is mine this lazy hazy dreamy twilight time.

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7 Comments on the center of the world

  1. Mona
    17 July 2010 at 7:52 pm (2953 days ago)

    Coffee shops! Lampposts that actually light up! Street signs! I’ve lived away from UP Diliman so long, but it’s still the center of my world (at least in my head).

  2. JennyO
    17 July 2010 at 7:57 pm (2953 days ago)

    Mona – it is, and always will be, in our heads and hearts. <3

  3. lady dandelion
    17 July 2010 at 7:58 pm (2953 days ago)

    Thank you for sharing your center of the world :) It is something special with exploring and open up for everyday environments; to realise that one doesn’t have to travel far to marvel and see new things.

  4. JennyO
    17 July 2010 at 8:03 pm (2953 days ago)

    lady dandelion, thank you for coming to visit! :)

  5. TAO
    18 July 2010 at 1:12 am (2953 days ago)

    What a lovely tour! I remember my college days..barely. :D Thanks Jenny!

  6. pinoytransplant
    18 July 2010 at 10:35 am (2952 days ago)

    I would say UST is the center of the world. Not! But I heard there’s a new coffee shop that opened there, Coffee Bene. I also heard they serve good kapeng-barakong-sinala-sa-medyas-ng-prayle. :)

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