Sometimes, I think it is up to us to make the days count.
When I first arrived in Berkeley, I had too much time at hand. I practically had no friends. I only had classes for a few hours each day, 3 days a week. There were not many assignments and no academic paper to read. My ‘commute’ involved a mere 10-minute walk to my (very lovely) house.
This was not something I was used to. I started feeling uneasy, not knowing what to do with all this luxury. I could use it to acquire some new skills, but the irony of life is, the more time you have, the fewer the things you will get done.
So one day I decided I needed to get my lazy ass out of the house. Instead of lying around on the couch, I put on my sporty outfit, my colourful crocs and decided to go for a little hike to the Big C.
The Big C, I had read, was a giant concrete block of the letter ‘C’ built on the Berkeley Hills. It offered a stunning view over the UC Berkeley campus, where I was studying at the time. Definitely a perfect incentive for a rookie hiker. I decided to go during sunset because I wanted to witness the transition from the golden soft lighting of the sun to the dark expanse being studded by the city lights.
The starting point was from the North Gate Hall, Berkeley’s journalism school.
From then on, I just needed to follow some paths that led me to the top of the hill. For example, these stairs that greeted me right in the beginning of the journey.
Right at the top of the stairs, I regretted my choice of shoes immediately. What I thought would be an easy stroll up the hill through paved roads turned out to be rather gravelly. I should have worn proper trainers.
Having grown up in Singapore, what we considered as a mountain is a hill misleadingly called Mt Faber where there were proper roads for cars to pass and hardly any nature to speak of. In Berkeley, the hills are meant for hikes and even have an actual deer…
My fear of height started kicking in halfway through the hike, but I persisted. I tried not to think of what would happen if I slipped on some gravel (I would have just fallen flat on my butt at the spot probably, but it had felt a lot more dangerous than that). It was a good thing I kept on because the view that greeted me at the end was nothing short of amazing…
It wasn’t the clear sky that I had hoped, but it still made this girl happy.
Let’s admire the sunset lighting once again.
And the deer also decided to join in some of the fun.
While waiting for the city lights to come on, I was chilling at the big C itself, until then slowly, the city started sparkling.
And the view in front of me was pretty much star-studded despite the overcast clouds.
As it got darker, it got even more magical, and for the first time, I appreciated Berkeley in all of its beauty.
Having been back “home” for almost a month now, I still can’t shake off the feeling of being trapped – somewhat understandably so, judging from my nomadic lifestyle the past two years. In a way, days that count had been handed down to me on a silver platter through the excitement of living in new countries. Now that I’m back, everything just seems a little too… familiar. And it is up to me again to make life exciting, just like the days in Berkeley.
So after some incessant complaining and whining over the past few weeks, I have decided to leave my sorry self-pitying person behind. Instead, I will don up my colourful outfit and open my eyes a little bigger so life’s little excitement doesn’t pass me by right in front of my eyes.