Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Daily Walk (Crystal)

For this blog post, I chose to create a map of my daily commute. As may be evident, neither art nor spatial reasoning is a specialty of mine. Remembering all the twists and bends on these streets is something I physically cannot do, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Unlike most of my peers, I have chosen to forego a bicycle, partly to save money, partly because I am terrified of getting hit by a car and/or hitting a pedestrian and/or running into inanimate objects. This means that I have to leave half an hour before class starts to get to school on time. At Beloit, I typically woke up fifteen minutes before class, took ten minutes to get ready, and was still on class on time, so this is a big change for me.

A garden
The first half of my journey to school takes me through a small residential street. One of the most striking things about it is how beautiful most of the houses are. Even the houses with less-than-stunning architecture are still adorned with well-cared-for (at least to my very non-expert eyes) potted plants. I’m not sure, but it looks like some of them may be herbs, which I would assume they use for cooking and not just decoration.

I also pass a shrine. I rarely see anyone in there, but I have noticed several older folks walking by who will pause and bow toward it when they pass. It looks like there is a park just beyond it, but I’ve never seen any children playing there. Maybe there would be some on weekends.

The shrine
 Another thing I notice is that there are several vending machines, even on this residential street. They only sell drinks, and I rarely see anyone using them, but they exist. I have to wonder who takes care of these machines. Have the companies decided that this street is a worthy investment? Have the owners of the houses paid to get vending machines on their property? Do they get a share of the profits? Are there many residential streets with vending machines, or is it just that this one sees a large number of international students?

There generally aren’t terribly many people walking around the neighborhood. Slightly more traffic (pedestrian, bike, motorbike, and the occasional car) in the morning and late afternoon, but never a whole lot. Most people are alone, but I see the occasional group of girls biking together, or a husband and wife returning from the store.

At roughly the halfway point, I cross the street and shortly arrive at the front gate of the school. I’ve reached campus! The rest of the trip is fairly unexceptional, though long. No one lives here, so all I pass is other students going to and coming from class.

It’s important when visiting new places to take a look at the small details. Consider why things are the way they are. What little differences you notice, what you have always taken for granted about your home. Some questions may arise that are difficult to just google, so it’s a perfect opportunity to make conversation with the locals.

1 comment:

glassgourd said...

I've noticed a lot of vending machines that look oddly placed too.