I’m a summer crusader, a SUNSHINE CHAMPION, and finally, my time has come. The beer is cold and homework is history, T. Rex is on rotation and I haven’t moved from this lawn chair in my backyard for a luxurious amount of time. As a certified child of summer, my season for living has begun. OHH YEAH (Kool-Aid voice).

I’m writing this entry amidst the wreckage of a recent throw-down, when all of us neighbors invited a few bands to play in our backyard for about 250 people. As I’m writing, the two kiddos who live in the dilapidated building next door are riding a unicycle around the yard while my friends who live on the second floor are grilling kebabs for all of us. Summer dreams are coming true.

A few weeks ago, as finals were wrapping up, things felt very, very different. After a lot of deliberation, I planned to stay in Oakland this summer: I can take summer classes here, and have access to a studio, and find a job. Little did I know, till last week, neither of my parents had any plans to pay for summer classes for me, though each expected the other to. (And I sure can’t pay for them myself, and I’m trying to avoid incurring even more loans.) These are the joys of navigating money and life between two divorced parents, once you get to college. The politics of the relationships you have with them will always be tricky, but as you get older, the issues you’re dealing with change. I often find myself trying to pin down stuff like who’s paying my tuition this semester, having confused or unmet expectations of who’s taking care of what, and being left to figure it all out on my own (and often being disappointed).

I figured if I couldn’t take classes in Oakland, there wasn’t really a point in my staying here, which kind of mucked up all my summer plans. I started to think that maybe I should just stay in Seattle, with my mom, after all. I got really bummed out when I thought about this, though, so I came up with a new plan: stay in Oakland, take workshops and cheaper classes not for credit, and still feel productive and purposeful. Just because I’m not getting school credit this summer doesn’t mean I can’t achieve all the other stuff I want.

Anyway, the SPIRIT of the SEASON is not about sticking to some static, perfectly executed plan. Summer magic comes from spontaneous fun, the warm air and everything fun you can do in it. Magic summer doesn’t come without tribulations, but I think despite my disappointments, this summer is gonna give me all the good stuff of life that I’ve been ready for since life began. ♦