Jasper and I are back from CA. I am looking forward to that sweet and wonderful boy from Missoula blowing into town tonight, and Jasper is still asleep with visions of undergraduate education dancing in his dreams. CA was warm, the bay area was wet. ID is cold and wet. I am oh so glad to be home. My pussy willows bloomed while I was gone. It is Spring on the Palouse no matter what the thermometer says.
- Harvey Mudd: The engineering school of the Claremont colleges. It is located in NW LA county, but feels like you dive into a bubble the minute you exit the freeway. Wide streets, bikes and other forms of transportation rule, and a nice downtown with really good pastry and restaurants. A 10K peak a short bike ride from town, and professors that know students by name. The engineering school is right across the street from the all girl’s school, Scripts. From white stucco with ivy to Lego brick construction with underground tunnels. I was prepared to hate this school as it was in LA. I don’t.
- Stanford: Every aspiring geek in the world knows about this school. Jasper is convinced his chances are slim on getting in, I say wait and see. A big plus is their financial aid package. Based on my current income, if he gets in, he will likely receive a full ride. They also like to pull from a large geographical area. Who ever thought that being the son of a poor widow from Idaho would actually be beneficial?
- UC Berkeley: Being a huge big city school, this one scares me the most. Yet, the research opportunities are endless, Jasper’s namesake lives and thrives there. As a high school senior I chose a huge state school over a small private because I knew I needed an education in life as well as academics. I understand the draw.
- OSU-Corvallis, OR: We did not visit on this trip, but Jasper has already been accepted and offered significant aid. He knows he would be happy there. It is his dad’s alma mater, his paternal cousins all live or go to school in town, and I still have dear friends that would feed Jasper a hot meal for the asking.
As the other Jasper stated over pizza at the trendiest place in Berkeley, “With those as possibilities, he can’t go wrong.” We will know where he has been accepted by then end of this month. The FAFSA numbers should be final by then, so we will know what is affordable. Jasper will make his decision by May 1st.
In addition to visiting college campuses and taking official and not so official tours, we spent time in CA with family and friends. I took my mom, and she spent the week with her step sister in Santa Barbara. The closest things I had to as cousins growing up also live there. Their kids were the closest thing my kids had to cousins. Jasper and Sarah have always bonded surrounding being left out by older siblings. We always go to the Wharf. We always buy candy cigarettes at the candy store. We drove from Santa Barbara to the south, and to the north. I have a dear friend in the Bay area. She lured me to Tahoe after college, where I met Jim. She is looking at an empty nest next year, too. Jasper’s namesake is working as a physicist for NASA at Berkeley. He’s got a great wife and a new baby. One of my favorite MD’s in Moscow recently took the job as physician and medical director for the Claremont colleges. I am comforted. With all that support, he can’t go wrong.
I took a break from this writing to head out for a late (for me) morning run. In 5 miles, I saw 2 cars. Idaho is not California where freeways consist of 6-14 lanes of heavy traffic. There was no sunshine. The grays, browns, golds, and green of Spring on the Palouse contrast sharply with the red roofs, blue water barrels, and the remaining white snow on Moscow Mountain. The ducks and geese are pairing up. The red wing black birds are singing again. It is Spring on the Palouse, and I know that no matter where Jasper goes, he knows where he is from.