This is a utopian community in many respects: law-abiding people on bicycles with bookbags, having seriously fun conversations over pretty decent espresso under palm trees on café terraces, lifting weights after-hours in gyms outfitted to Olympic specifications, daydreaming along shelves of books--it's sanitized in the best possible way...do I like sanitized? I guess I do, some of the time. Did I mention fountains playing? Did I say diversity--the diversity of the privileged, which is to say, American, European, Asian.
The undergrad vegetable plot is producing fat leeks, exotic lettuce--dappled red, feuilles-de-chêne, already stalky--I detour past it most evenings on my way home and pinch a few almost-flowering tips of leafy, peppery thyme for the salad and the tomato sauce. Just coming out of the ground, some yellow summer squash, say the labels planted in the bed. Around the side of the eco-dorm two citrus trees where I can collect a windfall lemon or two, or a lumpy citrus from a c16 Spanish still life.
I'm feeling nostalgic for city mess, Paris's jumble of filthy old walls and their graffiti, zinc roofs, smell of piss in corners, the noise, the rudeness, street people picnicking across from the Med School, cheerfully haranguing one another, sometimes quietly weeping.