It's been almost four years since I moved into San Clemente Villages, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and bit anxiety-ridden about starting a fancy PhD program. So many seminars, term papers, and a Master’s thesis later, that feels like forever ago. I was one of the first residents to take up court here (September 1, 2008—easy day to remember), and I believe there are still a few of us lingering on, representing the first generation of San Clementers. The grassy knoll in Arrowhead was still just a dirt mound, and there wasn’t a palm or shrub in sight. But the place was brand-spanking new, the toilets and shower curtains were gleaming white, and I had a view of the mountains; I liked it. Since then, the place has truly grown its spirit; the courtyards are now a veritable oasis of colorful flora and landscaping expertise, and our community centers boast a pool table, a ping-pong table, and a piano (with a student choir to boot!) Alas, I think it’s finally time for me to spread my wings and fly the coop, and see another part of residential Santa Barbara. As I begin my forays into the rental listings on craigslist, I can’t help but reflect on all the “amenities” I’ll miss in these parts, including the human ones… below, the best of SCV, in my book, and all that I’ll mourn as I depart:
- The free wireless internet;
- The proximity to campus (especially for when you realize that your data are all messed up and you have to schlep back to the lab/office to right things the night before the paper’s due);
- The unprecedentedly fast turn-around of the maintenance staff, such that all household issues got solved with the single click of a button (as a native New Yorker who fought with many a landlord, this still blows my mind);
- The variety of free food offerings throughout the year, from bagels and coffee in the morning to weekend barbeques to catered events at night (I’m pretty sure other apartments/rental properties don’t do this for their tenants);
- The mailman who really does know you by name;
- The RCs on-call who give you a spare key at 3 in the morning when you’ve locked yourself out (for the second time that month);
- The free furniture—I know it’s not the most fashionable or comfortable at times, but it’s saved me, and others, a heck of a lot of money (I forgot that the next place actually comes empty, and that I’m supposed to fill it);
- The ten-minute walk to the sea, morning, noon, or night, and all the wildlife this entails;
- Freebirds just beyond my door!!!
- All the dear neighbors I’ve befriended over the years, whose friendly and familiar faces I’ll truly miss, wherever I end up.
San Clemente, you’ve been very, very good to me. I wish you and yours all the best. Cheers!
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