Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's Christmas!!!

OK, well, not yet. But it will be in a week. And it's close enough so that people like me who simply bask in the over-commercialisation of Christmas can acceptably deck the halls and all that other nonsense. I put up my Christmas tree about two weeks's really tiny and pathetic with plastic ornaments, and I don't even care. It makes me so happy that I leave the lights on it turned on 24 hours a day. Just doing my part to speed up the process of global warming...

In all seriousness, I think maybe I love Christmas so much because it's the time of year when we can outwardly appreciate friends and loved ones without being called a pussy. I never understood those people who get all miserly and wretched around the holidays because they're single or poor or something. So what? I'm single, I'm poor (destitute is probably more appropriate), but that doesn't mean there aren't things to celebrate. I'm normally a glass half-full person anyway (unless the glass contains a really good cocktail, in which case anything less than a full glass is saddening), but something about the holidays just makes me overly giddy. Fair warning to those of you out there who are cynical grinch-like people-you will find my mood this time of year unfailingly annoying.

But you want to know one of the major reasons I'm in such a good mood? NO MORE CLASS FOR A WHOLE MONTH!!!! Wahoo! It's not that I don't like class; class is fine. My teachers are great, my classmates are always a good laugh, and the work is really not that strenuous. But let's face it, no matter how much a person likes school, inside each one of us there's that little kid counting down the days until summer vacation. Plus, no class for a month means no Latin homework for a month. Ace.

It is a little bit lonely here, though. Most of my friends have gone home for the holidays already, so I've been doing a lot of sitting around watching TV. I did manage to drag myself out of bed on Monday to go out for a drink and a show with my friend Rosy, which was fantastic-I haven't seen her since West Side, and my life felt distinctly Rosy-less. I also went out for really yummy hot chocolate with my friend Alicia yesterday, which was really good, and I'm meeting up with Rebecca on Friday, about which I'm excited. So my life isn't totally empty and lonely now that the holidays have crashed down upon us.

You know what I really love? I love the fact that you can move to a new city on a new continent and make a whole group of new friends that you absolutely love and adore without losing one ounce of love and affection for the friends you left behind. Sorry, I know that was ridiculously sappy, but it's true. I was afraid that I would either end up not getting close to people over here because I was too attached to my friends in Miami, or I would grow emotionally unattached to my friends across the pond and reform new attachments here. But that isn't the case, and it makes me happy. Maybe it's just the effect of tinsel and twinkle lights and wassaling, but I am one lucky girl. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

End of Term!

My term ended yesterday! YAAAAY! I feel like my brain has turned to absolute mush the last week or so. (Of course, the fact that I've been sick with the stomach flu did I'm sure contribute to that.) No more Latin until January 12! No more transcriptions! No more codecology or paleography! Most importantly-NO MORE LATIN!!!! I'm really happy.

I am gonna miss my friends, though. I already feel Fiona-less. And Betsy-less. And Rachel-less. And Michaela-less. It makes me sad. But they'll all be back in about 3 weeks or so, which is good. In the meantime, I've got plans with some people from West Side next week, so that's good. I won't sit around being a total and complete lump for the next 10 days at least.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Opening, Another Show

West Side closed last night. It flew by so fast. I really wish we had been able to perform for 2 weekends; shows always seem to reach their peak the last 2 performances, and it always sucks to have to close them right when they're just getting good. And it's not even just the performances that get better; socially, you always get closer to your castmates as the show goes into production, simply because you spend every waking minute together for that last week before opening. I'm so grateful for the amazing friends I've made just in the last few weeks-you guys rock.

The obligatory drunk-and-debauchery cast party was last night; I myself wasn't the guzzling alchoholic that I had intended to be as someone managed to snake half my bottle of wine from under my nose (a maneuver which I begrudgingly admit was very impressive). However, that was probably a good thing. No one ever makes good decisions when they've had that much to drink. I was buzzed, yet sober enough to still have a great time. Perfect place to be. I wish that party could have gone on forever, except for the part where my feet felt like they were about to fall off.

On a completely different note, I went crazy and bought a ton of Christmas decorations for my room yesterday. I don't care that my room is pretty much the size of a gym locker; it will look like it threw up Christmas. Awesome.

Oh! Life plan! So I'm thinking-move back to the US when I've finished my MA (though I REALLY love London), teach community college, and work as a choreographer in my spare time. Thoughts?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Obligatory Thanksgiving Entry

I didn't get to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Not only am I in Britain, where they're silly and don't have Thanksgiving, but tonight was opening night of West Side Story, so eating loads of turkey was pretty much out of the question. But I've decided, at 11:59 pm right before I run out of time, to celebrate Thanksgiving the only way I can this year-by making the stereotypically sappy list of the things I'm thankful for, and hoping that by reading this all my friends and loved ones will know how grateful I am for them. So, without further ado, here goes:

I'm thankful for:
-One of the best opening nights I've ever had-there were virtually no mishaps and the house was nearly sold out, which is awesome considering the show was in a huge theatre.
-Kendall for coming to see the show even though she only found out about it today.
-All the people in my course, who make class so much more interesting and fun. I would be lost without you guys.
-Arianne, Lucy, Manny C., Monica, Sam, Nick and Manny, who all still regularly make an effort to keep in touch with me even though I'm light-years away from Miami. (Also, side-note: Manny A.F., I miss you more than words can say. I know this hasn't been the greatest year for you, and the fact that I can't be with you to help make it better breaks my heart.)
-Caddy and Kat for both going out of their way today to wish me a happy Thanksgiving-one wouldn't expect English people to remember the date and remember how meaningful it is to us Yankee types, and they both did. Thanks, guys. It seems like a really small thing, but it meant a lot to me. :)
-Fiona and Michaela for loving me enough to throw caution to the wind and embarass me in front of someone I don't know that well by field-tackling me in the street. You girls rock.
-Rachel for bringing me tea when I'm stressed.
-Ashley, Stacey, and Judith for always making dinner an interesting event.
-Betsy for just being you. :)
-Liam for your crazy random text messages
-Jake for your random comments on my blog; good to know someone reads this thing. As long as there's at least one, I will continue to update it.
-Seb for wanting to work with me next semester; I've discovered that it's reasonably difficult for me to live without working on a show, and I'm really excited to be part of what looks to be a really awesome production team, though my capacity is yet undefined. At this point, it doesn't even matter what I do; I'm just so psyched to work with you guys.
-Mimi for always going out of her way to be kind during rehearsals.
-Jeff for always walking me home.
-Adnan for his chivalry tonight. Much appreciated. Three cheers for new friends.
-My mom for being amazing. She's the most courageous and selfless woman I know, and I love her more than words can say. Mom, I wish more than anything that I could be there for you right now when things may not be so great. I'm so sorry that I can't be.
-Leigh for being an awesome sister; Adam for being an awesome brother.
-Gracie for, well, my whole life, Brad for taking care of her, and Parker for being the best pseudo-nephew a girl could have. He'll be even better when he's actually born. :D (I'm too excited for words.)
-The whole camp crowd for helping me transition to life in London so easily; Aimee, Andy, Alistair, Rick, Gemma, and especially Rhys and Kendall-you guys have been a Godsend.
-Pete for commiserating with me while we suffer through Latin's sort of like the really nerdy three musketeers. Except there's two of us. So it's not really like that at all.
-Rosie, Rebecca, Vanessa, and Ginnie for befriending me from the very first West Side rehearsal, when I was still being the shy and intimidated version of me. (Glad that's out the window...)
-Rupert, Dom, Jane, Liz, Lizzy, Julia, and Dan for just being awesome. Elaboration unnecessary.
-Dr. Fitzgerald for fighting so hard to get me into grad school; I know for a fact I wouldn't be where I am today without him.
-Deb for hiring me to choreograph for her so many times; I think a good half of my experience came from her, and I can't express how much I appreciate that she's let me develop my skills so extensively.
-Phoebe, Vicki, Kat, and Liz S. for being so sweet to me recently; I'm sorry we've only just gotten to know each other, and I really hope that we can stay in touch when the show ends.
-Donna for making such an effort to be part of my life; if I had to go out and pick a step-mother, I would have picked you.

Well, if you've read this far, then a major kudos to you-you officially have no life. :) (Though the fact that I spent a good half hour writing this doesn't say too much about my social life either...). If there's anyone I've missed, I do very much apologize-I promise I'm thankful for you, too! It's just, you know, late. So good night world; tomorrow morning ushers in the official start of the Christmas season! Woot!

Monday, November 24, 2008

As If We Couldn't See This Coming...

So remember how in my last entry I mentioned how I was once again having an identity crisis? Yup. Yesterday I did what I swore I wouldn't do this year-I applied to choreograph the musical for next term. Whether I'll get the position or not is another issue entirely, but that's not the point. The one simplistic truth about my life that I've been trying to wrap my head around for the last 2 1/2 years finally clicked on like a lightbulb-whichever career I end up choosing, dance or academics, I will regret not having made the other one. And I'm not willing to settle for either one as just a hobby. So how does one manage that? If I don't pursue professional choreography, I'll be miserable. If I don't get my PhD and get the opportunity to teach college and write academic treatises, I'll be miserable. So what do you all think? Is life long enough for 2 simultaneous careers? It doesn't really appear to be, but maybe it is. I don't know whether I'm asking for advice or comfort or just for someone to tell me I'm not crazy. I guess the only thing to do for now is to raise our metaphoric glasses to the quarter-life crisis...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Odds and Ends

Hello my faithful readers! Sorry it's been so long since I've posted...I wish I could say I've been so busy doing homework that I've haven't had a spare second to post, but that's blatantly not true. It is starting to back up on me, though...I should get on that whole falling-behind-in-my-classes thing. Meh.

On the subject of class, though, for those who have any fleeting interest, I got assigned a really cool paper topic for one of my course term papers (well, ok, I picked the topic myself, but still). I'm writing a paper on the use of allegory in the early Middle Ages as it applies to Biblical interpretation, specifically the medieval readings of the Song of Solomon (clearly not an allegorical text, though universally read as one) and Revelations (clearly an allegorical example of Jewish Apocolyptic literature, but read as a literal prophecy that would come true eventually). Should be awesome. I realize that most normal people would find that topic deathly boring and dull, but what can I say...I never claimed to be normal.

On another note, I am having a little bit of a personal crisis (again). All of you know that it took me forever to decide between going into choreography and being an academic, and it was a very difficult choice to make. I never regretted it for a second, until a couple of weeks ago. I was asked to help choreograph the partner work for the production of West Side Story that I'm doing right now, which is all good fun. The thing that sets my life into a turmoil of confusion once again is that the first tought I had when I started doing them was, "Thank God, I feel like me again!"


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Entering the World of Grown-Up Land...

You ever get hit by a sudden realization that, when you weren't looking, you became a grown-up? I had one of those today. I had just returned from a shopping trip down Tottenham Court Road, where I had ventured out and braved the stinging cold to buy a much-needed new winter coat (my old one is 10 years old and is of prime retirement age), some books, an Oyster card for the Tube (finally), some trousers, some sweaters, new gloves, etc. After I came home I went online and bought a new laptop, and then it hit me. I'm a grown-up.

It's not that anything I did today cannot be done by an adolescent. It was just a random thought that struck hear people say that these are the days of our lives, and it's true. In Western/American society, being young in the city is idealized to the extreme. According to prime-time TV, going out for drinks with your girlfriends, dating cute guys in their twenties, and gallavanting around London doing your shopping is the kind of life that everyone wants. It's not that I don't love my life; I very much do. But it's interesting when you get a sudden flash of what your life looks like to the disengaged observer. It's a weird mix of "Wow! I actually have that awesome life that people pine for!" and "This is it? THIS is what people lay awake at night wishing they had?" Again, I have no complaints. It's just striking to realize that what looks so good on TV is just pretty much normal. If the characters on Friends or Sex in the City or some other show about being urban and single were real people, I'm sure their lives wouldn't look nearly as cool to them as they do to everyone else. There are still bills to be paid, a crashing economy to worry about, homework to do, guys to fret over, tiffs with friends to regret, cold weather to curse, and so on.

I guess what I'm getting at is, it was surprising to suddenly realize that I've become all growed up to be a single girl in an awesome city who dates successful men who wear suits, gets to shop on Tottenham Court Road, goes out for drinks with her girlfriends once a week (or twice a week depending on how much our classes instigate a need for alchohol), and rides a subway every day. To me, it still feels like normal life. But to be honest?

It's pretty freakin' awesome.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Think It Might Be Winter...

Last night, I was inexplicably exhausted. So, at around 7pm, I decided to make like an 8-year-old and go to sleep. I left my light on, and woke up at around 10pm. I got up to turn off the light, and then glanced toward my window, where I noticed it was gray outside. Out of curiousity, I opened the curtain further and looked out.


Yup, that's right. Snowing. On October 28. In London, where it almost never snows. I was so excited I started jumping up and down. I haven't seen snow since I was 18, so this was a very big thing for me. I naturally ran ouside immediately and froze to death running around my block. You know those movies where they show London in the snow, and it looks just like Christmas was meant to look? Like Muppet Christmas Carol, Hook, etc? It looked just like that. There's a cobblestone street outside my window, and a 19th century brick building across the road with those old-fashioned chimneys that have 4 or 5 chimney pipes coming out of them. Looking at that in the snow at night was incredibly awesome. I couldn't have been more excited. Needless to say, I didn't get back to sleep for a very very long time.

However, London being a city, the snow naturally all turned to slush within an hour, and by this morning was all gone. It's still unusually freezing though, so today I finally broke down and bought a pair of gloves. No more pretending I still live in Miami, I suppose...

In other news, I mentioned in my last entry that I would talk about the manuscript I get to analyze this year. IT'S AWESOME. It's a book from the early 12th century comprised of sermons and parables of unrepentent deaths. The really cool thing about it is that the stories are all from St. Ephraim in the early 2nd century, and are translated from Greek into Latin. So really, the book is a bunch of second century stories and sermons, just copied and translated in the 12th century. As far as I know, the Greek copies are no longer surviving, so this manuscript is actually reasonably valuable. Also, either the scribe who copied it or the guy who bought it was a doodler. They even cut a clover-shape out of one of the pages. What they did with their parchment clover I couldn't tell you. But it was funny to stumble across a folio with a clover-shaped hole in it.

Anywho, I fear I must now run to my Latin class. Bring on the public humiliation!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Knew Latin Would be the Bane of My Existence...

So remember how I keep complaining about Latin class? How it's like getting my soul dragged through the mud 3 times a week? Yeah.

I was in the British Library yesterday for my manuscripts class (more on my super-awesome manuscript later) and my course tutor was wandering around, helping each of us in turn decipher bits and pieces of our manuscripts. He gets to mine, and we go over to the reference room to look at some resources about my book. When we're in there, he pulls me aside and lowers the boom: "So, your Latin professor tells me you're really struggling through her class."


Now to be fair, I know I'm struggling. I suck at Latin. A lot. Anyone who didn't know me and only saw me in Latin class would think me a complete dunce. Languages are not nor have they ever been my strong point. But I didn't think I was SO bad that my teachers would talk about it behind closed doors. Ouch. He was very nice about it-he asked me if I would feel more comfortable dropping down to beginner level Latin, and I said no-it's not that I don't understand the concepts of the language-I very much do. I just suck at memorizing my declension and verb endings, and rush through my translations, making a lot of silly mistakes. There's nothing anyone can teach me that will make that better; it's something I need to do on my own. I told him that I feel like I'm learning more in a class that's a little above my level, and he understood.

But herein lies the bigger problem-I need to start my PhD applications. Like, yesterday. I was planning on asking him for a recommendation, simply because he is my advisor after all, and the head of the department. But after he spoke to me yesterday, it dawned on me that all he really knows about me is that I suck at Latin and I'm also not a great paleographer. I joined this programme for exactly that reason-I'm not a linguist, a historian, or a paleographer, and I wanted a program that would play to my weak point, helping me to improve and give me more job skills for the future. However, that doesn't change the fact that because I'm studying things I suck at, I constantly look stupid. My advisor doesn't know that as an undergrad, I wrote papers that I've been told are near-publishable. He doesn't know that when it comes to discussing theology, I really am very good. I know more about the theology behind evil than most PhD religion students. I'm not stupid or uneducated in my field. However, if he hasn't seen any proof of that, then how in the world is he supposed to recommend me for doctoral programmes? It's a conundrum. I'm starting to consider maybe taking another year off in between the masters and my doctorate. Not that I particularly want to, but I need time to write my thesis and get everything in order and prove myself not completely inept before asking for recommendations. I don't know.

It's all very stressful.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dissertation and Thesis-ing

My dissertation topic got approved! Yay! I went to see my advisor yesterday to discuss it, and though he's not entirely convinced that I'm right in my thesis, he thinks I should give it a go and see where it takes me. Basically, I wrote a paper as an undergrad (actually, it's the paper that got me into UCL) arguing that the depiction of the relationship between Judas and Satan in the Gospel of John was a catalystic changing point for the development of the modern idea of Satan and his relationship with humanity. I want to follow that thread into the Middle Ages and find theological commentary and sermons and whatnot that address that passage, and explore how that relationship affected satan theology throughout church history. Not sure if it's really a feasible topic yet, so I haven't officially submitted my topic for approval, but David (my advisor) informally approved it and told me where to start looking for ideas. We shall see...

On the social front, things are going really well. I've really started to bond with the other people in my program, and we've all been going out for drinks a couple of times a week for the last few weeks, mainly just to get ourselves out of the library/computer lab/graduate common room, a combination of which takes up about 90% of our waking hours, while the other 10% is spent in class. It's nice to get out and clear my head (or fuzzy it up, as the case may be) every so often.

I've also met a guy who I'm really starting to like...he's VERY British, but in a cute way. I won't say any more as I don't want to jinx it, but I will note this-he was at a black-tie thing for work last night, where he was seated next to a PRINCESS. Like, an actual real live one. How a girl competes with that I have absolutely no idea. If anybody has any clever ideas on how to usurp her attractiveness with my unclassy, unlettered, unprincess-y charm, feel free to chime in. In the meantime, I will sit here quietly feeling threatened. :/

That's about it for now-it's now off to the Batcave, Robin! (And by that I of course mean "off to spend my entire weekend in a library, Robin!")

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Guess Grad Students are Anti-Social For a Reason...

So this weekend, I made a valiant effort to have a social life. On Friday night, I went out with a few people from my course to a grad student night at one of the on-campus bars (of which we have tons...I love English schools for that). I definitely had too much to drink, but hopefully I didn't embarass myself too horribly. I did manage to bond a lot more with one of the girls in my course who I've really liked since the first day I got was nice to feel like I'm getting closer to making more actual friends vs. friendly acquaintances. I paid dearly for the sambucha shots the next day, but it was worth it.

Last night (Saturday night) I was invited to attend the 30th birthday party of a guy that worked at camp with me way back in 2004. I didn't really know him particularly well whilst at camp, but his wife, who also worked there, was my boss, and I knew her reasonably well. The party was a costume party (called a "fancy dress" party over here, which I find hysterical), and the theme was "British". My friends Kendall and Rhys and I had been debating for weeks what we would dress as...first we were going as the Spice Girls (Rhys obviously being Baby Spice as a 6'2 man), but there were only 3 of us. Then we were going to go as Amy Whinehouse at three different stages of her career. However, in the end Rhys decided not to come, so Kendall and I had to think fast. We dug through my wardrobe and found some brown slacks and white tops and ties (don't ask me why I own ties; I'm not really sure. The ghosts of costume parties past, I think...) and ran around central London in a tizzy for hours looking for Sherlock Holmes and Watson attire. We managed to find it, but not before almost giving up and tying black bedsheets around our shoulders and finding some sticks and going as Hermione and Cho from Harry Potter. In the end, it all worked out, and we managed to find the hats, the pipes, the magnifying glass, even some stick-on mustaches and fuzzy eyebrows. We didn't win the costume competition, but everyone loved our idea anyway. We were the only girls who didn't try to look nice in our costumes, which was mildly detrimental. Everyone else actually looked very pretty in their Maid Marion or Alice in Wonderland or Queen Mum costumes. And we were in drag. Awesome. I feel it shows boldness on our parts. :)

The party in the end was a lot of fun...I couldn't bring myself to touch any alchohol, but there were a lot of people there that I haven't seen in years, so it was really nice to reconnect with everyone. Good times.

Today, however, I am paying for trying to have a social life. I've got so much homework that I'm actually worrying if an all-nighter will be enough to get it all done. I wouldn't be that concerned, except for the fact that in a stroke of masicism, my Latin teacher assigned us 3 more poems to translate...from English to Latin, which is SO much harder. Ugh. Wish me luck.

P.S. I know I said this already on Facebook, but in case you read this-Happy belated birthday, Jake!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Is It Really That Time Already???

It's started. The moment I've been dreading since getting my acceptance to UCL. The time I prayed would never come, but knew deep down always would as it sat there peeking around the corner of time, blowing raspberries at me.

It's time for PhD applications.

Now, normally this wouldn't seem like such a bad thing. True, it's a little soon after starting my MA, but as master's degrees in the UK are generally only 1 year long, it's only natural that I would need to start now. I only dread application season because I have spent the last 2 years of my life thoroughly ensconsed in it without escape. I made the catastrophic mistake in my first year of applications of only applying to 4 schools, all of them Ivy League (for anyone who's wondering: no, Harvard is not impressed by a 3.4 GPA from a 3rd-tier school), and thus got lots of very nicely phrased rejections letters. Last year, I broadened my horizons and tried again, having little more luck in the US (Pepperdine was the only US school to accept me), but by some stroke of luck, magic, or a severe crack addiction on the part of my advisor, I was accepted to UCL, which is really a gift from the proverbial gods, as UM is ranked about 100 spots below UCL in the international rankings, which to UCL is more important than the Gospels.

Now that I finally escaped the dreaded application process, I find myself pitched right back into it headfirst. It's not that the applications themselves are that bad; it's that I don't know if my fragile mildly narcissistic ego can take another two years of rejections. I'm sincerely hoping that as long as I do reasonably well this term, I can hide behind UCL's name and hope that some Ivy League school will assume that if I was smart enough to get in here, then they too should bank on me. I'm not sure how much stock US schools put in the ranking system (here it's a huge deal), but UCL just got pushed to #7, behind only Harvard, Yale, and CalTech in the US and Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial internationally, so maybe that will be enough to push my application through to the top of the pile. We shall see.

As of right now, my short list of schools is comprised of Stanford, Northwestern, and Columbia. However, I REALLY don't want to make the same mistake I did the first time around, so I'll probably also apply to Catholic and Fordham as well (though they both rejected me in the past, I'm hoping a UCL MA will be enough to make them reconsider). I may also apply to UChicago. We'll see. Either way, I've really got to get going on this. I think Stanford may be my first choice; I do love Columbia, but honestly, I'd rather eat my own foot than live in New York (nice place though it is to visit). Given the choice, I would stay in London forever, as I rather love it here, but I can't get a doctorate for free here as I can in the US (discounting, of course, the sale of my soul to whatever school I attend). Maybe I'll come back when I'm 78 and am finally done with school. Who knows.

Just when I felt I was getting settled, my life shoots once again decidedly up in the air...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Just so everyone's aware, my phone is out of calling credit, which means I can't place calls or texts. If you call me and I don't respond, I'm not ignoring you. Just try me again until I pick up the phone. I'll top up this week, but in the meantime, that's why I've gone AWOL.

In related news, happy belated birthday, Dad! Sorry I wasn't able to call for the aforementioned reason...but I did in fact remember. Donna, I know you probably read this more than my dad does, so pass along the message. :)

So on to updating. I didn't know so much homework existed in the world. I've probably already said that in a previous blog. I don't know. My brain is so clogged up with Latin that I now have trouble concentrating on anything that's not written in the ablative case...on the homework note, I went to the library to pick up some of the recommended reading for a class I have on Friday. Neither of the books are in English. Naturally. I'm slowly becoming of the opinion that a day without spending at least 4 hours in the library is a day wasted. What a sad existence I do lead.

On a completely unrelated note and with absolutely no segue whatsoever, I am discovering once again how small the world West Side rehearsal the other day, I started talking with a really sweet girl named Ginny, who's also American. Upon chatting, we discovered that not only are we both in the same department at UCL, but lived 20 minutes away from each other in Maryland and in fact have taken class from some of the same dance teachers. There's another girl in my program who grew up in Silver Spring, and a third who apparantly went to college with me, though she's just sitting in on one of my classes, and is from another program. How small the world indeed is...

On a positive note, I'm slowly starting to feel less stupid. I mean, I always feel stupid in Latin class. That's a given. And in Paleography I feel just kind of average. But in my Cloisters to Classroom course, I actually feel like I'm in my element. Understandable, as it's a course on theology and my background is early Christianity. I've actually got to start picking a topic for our first's due in December, and we can basically write about anything we want. I'm thinking I might write about the theological connection between the Judeo-Christian Essenes and the 4th and 5th century monks. Not entirely sure, though.

Oh, and I'm playing a Shark in West Side. Like, one of the Puerto Rican chics. I find this endlessly funny. Also amusing is the fact that the guy playing my boyfriend is clearly a fresher and is probably about 6 or 7 years younger than me, though I feel like I look old enough to be his mother. Awkward much? He's a sweet kid, though. I suppose it doesn't really matter. I just find it amusing.

Also, postage is really cheap here, so if anyone wants me to send them letters, just send along your address...I've yet to purchase a DVD player, so I will write letters. I really am THAT bored.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Well, I got cast in West Side. I don't have a main part or anything, and honestly, that suits me just fine. Primarily, they cast me to sing the "Somewhere" solo, and to be in the core group of dancers. Instead of doing the show in the traditional manner where all of the actors also do all of the dancing, they decided to have an extra group of ensemble members who just dance and are not actually members of either of the gangs. But apparantly, I lucked out-the director told me he's putting me onstage for most of the show in one of the gangs, having me dance with the dance ensemble, and having me sing "Somewhere". Not bad, if I do say so myself. I don't have any dialogue, but it looks like I'll actually get more stage time than most of the principles, which is always nice. Sounds like fun to me. :)

In other news...there really isn't a whole lot of other news. I never knew the world contained so much homework. It's only the first week, and I've already got a favorite desk in the library, which I have occupied until the library closed-twice. Le sigh. I'm finally starting to get the hang of Latin again. I'm still not good at it by any stretch of the imagination or twisting of definitions, but when I looked at my assigned translations for the week, they only looked like about 80% gibberish, which is a vast improvement. I hate going to Latin class because it's so above my level, but at the same time, it's really forcing me to remember my grammar. Very, very quickly. Pressure, but productive pressure nonetheless.

Um, let's see....I played the role of classy grown-up this weekend. My friend Kendall entered a photography competition and made it into the top 50, so she and I went to the gallery opening of all the finalists on Thursday, and drank free champagne and ate yummy finger foods. Then last night, I met a friend for cocktails at the bar on top of the Tate Modern, which was really fun and classy and all that. And today I'm going to tea at the home of a professional contact I made from the V&A Museum; basically I'm going to try and whore myself out to her for an internship or something. We'll see how it goes. :)

As the pig said, "That's all, folks!"

Sunday, September 28, 2008


When I got here, I had resolve. I really did.

And then I saw the announcement for an audition for West Side Story.


Needless to say, I went. Because I'm more addicted to performing than Paris Hilton is to fame. I promised myself that I was done, that I was retired from performing, that I'm now officially an academic. But then I realized something. Pursuing one thing professionally doesn't have to mean sacrificing who you are. I started thinking about this the other day when I was having dinner with Ashley, my next door neighbor. I mentioned to her that I really liked everyone in my course, and I think I'll be able to be friends with all of them. Her response was, "well yeah, except that as soon as classes start you're all in competition with each other for either grant money or Ivy League PhD slots, so you don't really have room to be kind to them." And she's right. She's absolutely right-we are each other's competition.

And I refuse to be that way.

Of course I will always do my best, and I will always try as hard as I can to be thorough in my research. But if someone wants help with a translation, I'll give it to them. If someone doesn't have time to do the reading, I'll give them my notes. I have tried to make kindness a part of who I am as much as possible (whether I've succeeded or not is for you to decide, not me), and I don't want to give up that part of who I am in pursuit of a career goal. Just as I don't want to give up performing for it. I love academia, and I really, truly do want to get my doctorate, get tenure, write something groundbreaking, all that stuff. I do. But not at the expense of my identity. I won't give up my thoroughly non-competetive nature, and I won't give up my hobbies.

Maybe that makes me silly. Maybe that's the formula that makes people who were almost successful, but in the end didn't quite have that extra edge. Maybe. But to me, all the success in the world isn't worth giving up the pieces of myself that I love the most. So I've decided, from now on, I will be a non-competitive academic who sings and dances when she could be doing extra research. That's who I am making a choice to be. And oddly, even though nothing's really changed, I feel better knowing that. More confident. I'm determined as hell to make it in this program, but at least I know that whatever happens, I'll emerge from it on the other side the same person I was when I went in.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Want Me To Read WHAT?

Well, I've done it-I've officially signed up for my courses. No turning back now-looks like I'm stuck in it for the long haul. In the end, I signed up for Medieval Manuscipts and Documents, Internediate Latin (ACK!), and Cloisters to Classroom, which is basically a study of how the first universities were formed and how they dealt with the problem of studying theology and secular academia at the same time. Should be pretty cool. I'm also auditing an undergraduate class in archeology, since the graduate level one was cancelled. Another guy from my course is doing the same, so that should make it more fun.

Now, I realize that graduate school will be harder than undergrad. Obviously, this is how it should be. Not only am I at a much higher academic level, but I'm also going to a much better school (not that I won't always have a fondness in my heart for UM, particularly the on-campus frat parties to which I was so partial). I expected a lot of independent learning, extra recommended reading, private study in the library, etc.

What I did not expect was to receive the syllabus for just one of my courses and find attached to it a full 7-page bibliography. Not 7 books, not 7 subjects with a few books each, 7 pages. 12-point, single spaced pages. Of books. Which I am expected to read.

Oh. My. God. I wonder if I should just commence the suicide attempts now. But unfortunately, my refund cheques haven't arrived yet from the school, so right now I can't even afford a bag of crisps, much less a razor blade. Damn. I guess I'll have to stay the suicide attempts until I can afford to purchase a length of rope or the like. I feel like I'm going through freshmen hell week, when you try to join a sorority but all they do is haze you. My terror has now increased 10-fold.

However, it's not all bad and horrifying. I know a lot of grad students who are treated like vermon, and told repeatedly that they are academically worthless until they prove otherwise. This does not appear to be the case at UCL. First off, all of my professors insist on us calling them by their first names. Secondly, they refer to us as "colleagues", not students, which is weird, but nice. Thirdly, we've already had 2 departmental welcome parties, and both involved a lot of free wine, which the professors drank freely alongside us while discussing things having nothing to do with academia. That bodes well for this year; they treat us as equals, which seems to be a rare find in postgraduate programmes.

As there are only 11 of us in my degree programme, it's very personal. David, my dissertation advisor, arranged for us all to go on a free trip to the Tower of London, where we got to go into the private research offices and handle 17th century letters and archives. Also, we got to try on an original suit of armour from the 16th century. Bad. Freakin'. Ass. After the tour, he gave us £40 to go out to a pub together and get drunk, simply because "it would be sociable to go out and get drunk together before the term starts". Which we did. And it was fabulous. I really like everyone else in my programme, which is good as we're going to be stuck together without escape for the next year. And they all seem to be as petrified as I am. Well, except for the Princeton guy, who's just an anomoly.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What Am I Doing Here, and Why Do These People Think I'm Smart??

I had my first meeting with the other students in my course today. There are 11 of us in total, plus 4 professors. The head of the programme, Dr. D'Avery, had us do that thing where you introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you, and then in turn you introduce your partner to the class. So fine, we start doing introductions. Then after my partner was done introducing me, Dr. D'Avery added in an announcement to the whole class, "Also, according to her recommenders, Colleen is one of the foremost up-and-coming experts in the history of religion, so if you need help in that area, she's the one to speak to."


OK-realistically, I know I've written some good papers. I've penned a couple of theories about the evolution of Satan in early Christianity that I haven't seen anybody else touch on. But still...that was just undergraduate work. That was playtime. I don't consider myself an expert in any way, shape, or form. But apparantly, some poorly misinformed person told somebody otherwise. As if I wasn't intimidated enough!

And intimidated I am. I mean, yes, I've got a good base of early Christianity, but I've had an estimation of ZERO experience in Medieval Studies. I couldn't even tell you the dates of the Hundred Years War. As everyone else got introduced, I found that the guy next to me graduated from Princeton and has already written an original thesis on Henry III. Another guy has been studying the medieval period since high school. Every time someone new was introduced, I felt more and more like the pity case who got in because she had a really good social worker or something. Like the bad egg in the omelette. I'm horrified at the prospect of even trying to compete with these people! And now, apparantly, I have to live up to being an authority on a subject where I feel more like a second-grader learning to read than an expert.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Open mouth, insert foot...

Major lesson of the week: just because you're in a country that speaks your language, that doesn't mean you speak the same "language".

I discovered this the hard way. Up until last week, I was staying at my friend Charlene's house. When the day came to finally move into my dorm, I was looking all over the place for my favorite pair of black pinstriped pants. Being completely unable to find them, I went down to the living room, where her roommate Emma and Emma's boyfriend Tom were watching TV. I asked them if they had seen my pants, and proceeded to describe them and mention where I'd last seen them.

This sounds entirely innocent. Unless, of course, you think the word "pants" actually means "underwear". Which apparantly, British people do. They stared at me with their mouths hanging open for a good 30 seconds before Emma, being into fashion, finally remembered that the term "pants" means something very different to Americans. Lesson learned: unless you're discussing your recently purchased thong, call them "trousers".

I've yet to run into any other huge cultural snags, but I still worry that I might. Within the academic realm, I'm not too worried, but it's everyday life that concerns me. For example, I have a date set up for this week, the first date I've ever had here. Now, anyone who knows me well knows that I thoroughly enjoy dating. I'm good at it. I can manage to have a dinner-length conversation with a newel post if required, and having done the casual dating thing for so long, I've got the American dating standards down to a science, at least up through date 6 when you actually have to stop being "date" you and start being "real" you. But when it comes to dating here, I'm totally clueless. Do guys pay for first dates here? When we say we're going out for a drink, is it just a drink or do they also mean dinner, a walk, a movie, etc? Is it normal to kiss on a first date here? Does the holding hands come before the first kiss or after? And how do you do it when you're not going to separate cars, but are both on public transportation? Do you get off the train and walk the person to their door before getting back on? Do you part at the tube station and just awkwardly travel in the same direction and try to be seated in separate cars of the train? Do guys here open doors and pull out your chair or not? Is it OK to have a drink with dinner on the first date, or is it awkward? Is it a cultural faux pas to share dessert, or is it expected? Do guys here actually like girls who eat salad, or do they prefer a screw-it-I'll-have-a-cheeseburger kind of girl? Do British people kiss on the cheek when they greet each other for the first time, or was that a Miami hispanic thing? If so, is it one kiss like the Spanish, 2 like the French, or 3 like the Italians? Are heels sexy or impractical in a city where everybody walks everywhere? What if he does try to kiss me on the first date? Should I let him, or will he think I'm easy? But if I don't, will he think I'm a prude? Is my British cultural ignorance still cute and quirky, or is it annoying?

This should be interesting...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Rules, rules rules

It's been so long since I've been in a dorm that I completely forgot about the insane amount of rules they've got going on here. Unbelievable! I went out with a couple of friends last night who both live way out in the suburbs, and since we were all not what you could call sober and it was 2:30 in the morning, we decided that they would come over and sleep on my floor. But when we got to the dorm, I found out that not only am I not allowed to sign anyone in after midnight, but I can only have 1 person in my room at a time, and there's not really any getting around this as you have to have the front desk buzz you through the turnstiles to even get into the building. Seriously? I'm 24 years old and I can't have a couple of friends come over to chat and then sleep on the floor? Seriously? So then they had to turn around and take the hour long 4-bus commute to get back home in the middle of the night. That really sucks. Ugh, I'm annoyed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lonely Friday Night...

I think I officially got hit by my first wave of homesickness today. It's not intense or anything, but enough so that I feel a little bit down and worn out. I'm just in that awkward phase where I'm meeting people and making some friends at school, but I don't really know anyone well enough yet to call them up and hang out without it being weird, so I'm stuck at home on a Friday night with nothing to do. Thankfully, I am meeting up tomorrow night with a couple of people I know from a summer camp I worked at a couple of years ago who all live here, so that will be good. But for tonight, I sit at home with my book. It's not all bad...I know that as of the 29th when my classes start, I won't have any time to read anything for pleasure at all, so I should take advantage of the time I have to read crappy fiction while I still can.

Still, I look around at people in the dining hall, and I feel a little bit separated from them. My dorm is made up of freshers (freshmen) and first-year grad students, and I can tell that the ones enthusiastically making friends in the dining hall are all freshers. I remember being that way once too-nobody knows anyone, so you try as hard as you can to make friends, because at 18 that really is probably the most important element of being in the dorms. Not so for graduate students, apparantly. It's not that I have trouble making friends; I never have and I doubt I ever really will. But I just don't particularly have an interest in hanging out with 18 year olds who are in the "party" mode, and I gather that most other grad students here don't either. The dorms have suddenly gone from being a social event to just being a place to live when you're not at school. It's an interesting change for me, made more dramatic by the fact that this building is cleanly split in two between 18 year olds and 25 year olds. Still, even though I really don't want to hang out in a group of 15 people at dinner and spend an exhorbitant amount of money on pubs and movies and the like, watching other people do it does make me a little wistful for the social climate of freshmen year. I'm sure as soon as the school year starts and I'm swamped in homework and papers and whatnot, the lonliness will certainly fade. But, for right now, I don't really feel like a 24 year old who is staying in to catch up on her reading, but kind of like a freshmen on the first day of college who doesn't have any friends yet.

But on a positive note, I went and explored the library today. Let's just take a moment of silence for the awesomeness of the UCL libraries.......................................ah.

I found a whole room on paleography (admittedly it's kind of hidden in a back hallway on the top floor behind some offices, because really, who goes looking for paleography books?) and they had a few really cool-looking books on medieval Bibles and the production of sacred art in copies of the Gospels and other really cool-looking books. I already checked out 2 books for fun because I know that starting next week, there will be no more fun reading, even if the books are academic in nature. But that's beside the point. The point is, the library is AMAZING. I would have spent all day in there if I hadn't started getting really really hungry. :) Nerd heaven...

Thursday, September 18, 2008


In case anyone wants to send me letters or packages of goodness ::coughcoughgoldfishcrackerscoughcough::, my address is:

Colleen Prior
International Hall, room 5W23
Lansdowne Terrace
Camden, London

On another note, orientation started yesterday. It's been pretty fun. I made a couple of friends-only the international students are around right now, so I haven't met any local students yet, but I hung around for most of yesterday with a guy named Jake from South Korea, and then at the new students' reception last night met a guy named Marten from Germany, and we hit it off pretty well. Who knows, maybe I'll actually get lucky and have real live friends this year. You never know.

Also, I moved into my dorm yesterday. When I said before that it was a closet? Wasn't kidding. It really, really is. But it will get the job done. The bed is comfortable enough once I put excessive amounts of padding on it(i.e. put the provided comforter under the mattress pad since I brought my own blanket), and I have a sink in my room. The bathroom's a little bit of a walk, but I can deal. Also, I have a landline, which I will give the number to once my loan checks come through and I have money to pay the £10 start-up fee.

Another good thing-I'm walking distance to school. Yay! Speaking of which, I must now be off to go finish getting oriented and orientated and whatnot. :) Later!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Almost there!

Well, the time has finally come-tomorrow I get to move into my dorm! YAY! I went to find it yesterday, and it's in an even better area than I thought-1 block from the tube, 10 minute walk from the British Museum, across the street from a cinema and shopping center, 2 minute walk from a pub, and around the corner from a park complete with climbing trees. Awesome.

Orientation also starts tomorrow-it's going to be a big day. I have an orientation meeting in the morning, then I move in during the day, then a new student welcome reception in the evening, which I'll obviously go to because there's free food, which is like oxygen to grad students. After that I've got various seminars and such scheduled for the rest of the week, then next week I start in on meeting with various advisors, gaining access to the medieval manuscript collection at the library, etc etc. Classes themselves start on the 29th, and I can't wait-I found out that I can opt to take Medieval Archeology as one of my optional courses. YAY! So it looks like I'll be taking Paleography (basically studying ancient documents), Intermediate Latin, Medieval Archeology, and meeting regularly with my advisor for my dissertation. Sounds like an awesome year to me! I can't wait to just be moved into my room, have a place of my own to call home, and start in on this program that I'm paying such a ridiculous amount of borrowed money to attend. Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back in the UK!

Well, we're back! Our vacation to Italy was fantastic, if you just don't count the sick days involved. We didn't really do a whole lot of touristy things, but that was actually fine-it was a lot more fun just chilling out and meeting people. I've come to the conclusion that Positano is one of the most beautiful places in the world. I've also come to the conclusion that this little pizza shop on the corner of Via Palerno in Rome sells the best pizza known to man. We had that stuff at least once a day, sometimes twice. Amazing.

All in all though, I'm glad to be back. I'm currently at my friend Charlene's house in Greenwhich, London, just biding my time until Wednesday when I can move into my dorm room and really get my life started. Jon is still here until tomorrow-I think we're going to meander downtown to where I'm going to be living and explore a little bit. I can't wait to wander around the area and find my local grocery store, pharmacy, blockbuster, pub, etc. I love getting to know new places...

Also, I now have a cell phone...yay! Should anyone be inclined to call me, the number (including country code) is:

044 0750 392 1871

I can only call landlines internationally, so if you have a landline and I don't know it, just send it to me by e-mail!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sick as a dog...

So it finally hit me. The cold/flu bug that has been threatening for a week finally got me in full force yesterday. Normally, it wouldn't be that terrible, but I'm sharing a dorm room in Positano with 12 other people (all guys, naturally), so to be honest, I've had better vacations. I spent the majority of last night locked in a bathroom stall blowing my nose and pacing around the bathroom; it's one of those colds that's so bad that not only can I not breathe while lying down, but I can't even breath sitting up-there's nothing for it but to stand. Yuck.

On the plus side, Positano is beautiful; it's a small town on the Amalfi coast, and I can see the ocean from the balcony of the hostel. We met another group of really cool people; the other night we went to dinner with a Scottish girl named Janice, and 4 Australians, 2 guys and 2 girls. I'm quickly finding out that the backpacking industry is basically kept afloat by Aussies-since it costs so much to fly to Europe, they just travel everywhere at once.

The hostel we're in certainly has...character. There are two dogs running around the lobby all day, and a whole myriad of interesting people. I think the thing I like best about hostels is the people-you temporarily befriend people that you never in a million years would have come across. For example, the group that went out to dinner the other night was comprised of an employee of the BBC, an insurance agent from Melbourne, the head medical consultant for The Biggest Loser, and 2 men who work in the mines in Perth. Definitely an interesting group that otherwise would never have crossed paths.

Still, although the town is beautiful and the hostel is a lot of fun and very friendly, I'm looking forward to going home-not that I really have one at the moment. I'm just feeling yucky and wishing that I had a couch to sit on and watch bad TV all day while chugging orange juice in a too-late attempt to get better. Unfortunately, home is really nowhere to be had right now-my stuff is at a friend's flat in London, and I don't have a place of my own yet. So I'm really feeling homesick for a place that doesn't really exist. How very depressing. It's times like this when I kind of want my mommy...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Partying Italian style

Hello from Italy! As you can probably surmise, everything with my visa went through swimmingly; it was delivered to my door about 6 hours before I left for my flight. My mom dropped me off at the airport, and a 1-hour check-in line, £250 charge for my extra baggage, and a ridiculous security line later, I successfully made it to London. And-get this-somehow, after all my finagling with the Consulate, I managed to skip customs all together. The trick is to fly through Ireland, tell the passport person you're just traveling through for a connecting flight, and voila! No customs. Not that I had any intention of skipping it, but apparently any old Irish vagrant can come into the UK without so much as a second glance, so who am I to argue? And they say that UK border patrol is tough...

My first day in London was a little rough...a friend of mine met me at the airport to help me with my ridiculous amount of luggage. Of course, this meant toting upwards of 300 total pounds of baggage through the London public transportation system to get to her flat, which is-naturally-about as far from Heathrow as you can get whilst still in the same city. Not nearly the effortless task it sounds. But, after blood, sweat, and the intense desire to cry if not the emergence of actual tears, we made it, and I even managed to meet Jon at the airport and get him back to the house without getting too horribly lost.

The next day we left for Rome, and almost immediately made friends with 2 French girls and an Aussie who were all at the same hostel. Although I haven't studied French since high school and was embarrasingly bad at it even then, I surprised myself by conversing (rather rudamentarily) with the girls, one of whose English was about as limited as my French. Needless to say, there was a lot of miming. But, as we all met at a pub crawl and were under the influence of a massive amount of Italian beer, it didn't particularly matter. We got home at 4am (I was forcibly reminded of the all-night frat parties that I was so fond of attending at age 18), and the next day Jon and the girls went to the beach, while Tom the Aussie and I nursed our hangovers. Last night we all went out for a real Italian dinner, complete with uneven tables in the street, bottles of wine, reeeeeeally good cheese, candles, and small cars whizzing by the table so close that I feared losing a foot if I let my leg wander past the edge of the table. A true Roman experience.

Our new-found friends all left today, the girls for home in France, and Tom for who-knows-where, so Jon and I went to the Roman Forum and the Colliseum by ourselves. Just as awesome as I remember it. It was stifilingly hot outside, but what can you really expect from the south of Italy in September? Tomorrow we're going to Vatican city, then it's off to Positano and Venice, and then back to London so that Jon can go home and I can start my new life. Anyway, as this entry has gotten far too long (I thoroughly applaud any who read this far), methinks I will say good-bye for now. Ciao!

P.S. I also found out today that my best friend Grace, who is expecting a baby, is having a boy! I get an almost-nephew! Thank God-I wouldn't have the faintest idea how to talk to a little girl, having been thoroughly ensconsed in tomboy-hood for as long as I can remember. Congrats, Grace and Brad!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

All Comes Together!

My visa was approved this morning and is being shipped via over night long as it gets here by 4:30, I should be home free to catch my flight into the UK tomorrow night! To those who literally, metaphorically, and in all other ways crossed your fingers for me, thank you a thousand times!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Watched Pot Never Boils...

But the real question is, does a watched mailbox receive approved Visas?

I feel like I'm stuck in that Led Zeppelin song "Time" keeps speeding by, my departure date getting closer and closer, and still no visa to speak of. I think I'm gonna go pace. 87% of the time, pacing helps speed up the desired result of a dilemma. A statistician figured that out right after discovering that 68% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Forgive my terrible humor. I'm just trying to distract myself.

But really, I'm going to go pace.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Clock is Ticking...

It's officially 10 days until I move to London...

Not that I'm counting or anything.

Though nearly everything is done in preparation for the move (except the minor details of laundry and packing), I'm still waiting for the most important component of my smorgasborde of travel documents-my visa. It was delivered via FedEx to the British consulate in NYC on Thursday (contrary to popular belief, I did NOT put this off until the last minute like I do every other crucial thing in my life; there were just a lot of steps that had to be taken on a specific timetable before it could be sent to the Big Scary Important British People in New York) and now, I just have to sit, wait, and chew my nails like a good little neurotic. I should start doing my laundry, sorting through things, throwing away half my possessions so I can actually fit everything in my suitcase, etc, but I'm almost afraid to-like I'll be all packed and ready to go and then the consulate will deny my visa because I have bad handwriting or something. God forbid I infect the British with my terrible penmanship. But you never know. With my luck, I'll finally receive my visa 3 hours before my flight takes off, and then realize that I haven't packed anything at all and will have to spend the entire year in my underwear, undoubtedly burning the retinas of all those who are forced to look at me in my lack-of-laundry-induced buff. On second thought, maybe I should start packing...

There is a good side to all of this stress, however...granted everything actually gets done on time, and the silly Limey's foolishly let me into their country, I have an 8 day trip to Italy planned with Jon, one of my closest childhood friends (well, teenager-hood, anyway). We have tentatively sketched out a trip to Rome, Positano, and Venice. I keep trying to tell him that Venice smells like sewage, but he has this half-baked notion that it's cool or something. I suppose I owe it to him...God only knows how many boring museums full of insignificant artifacts discovered by dead archaeologists I'm going to drag him through. Poor guy. I mean, I can't wait to go drool over old tombs and stuff, but if I were even relatively normal and/or non-nerdy, I wouldn't want to travel with me. But I digress. We arrive in Rome on Sept. 5, and then on the 9th we're heading over to Positano, then up to Venice on the 12th, back to Rome on the morning of the 14th, back to London that evening, then back to the States he goes, as I continue on into full-on geekdom for the duration of the school year. I sure hope we enjoy this little foray into world-travelor-hood, because it's the last one I'm seeing for a while...I'm considering giving up my place in the graduate dorms and setting up a pop-tent in a corner of the library. God knows it will be more convenient that way.

Anywho, that about sums up my rambling and undoubtedly riveting debut blog...for the 3 people who might actually read this thing, I promise I'll update it when I actually travel somewhere more interesting than Maryland. In the meantime, stay out of trouble, and keep your fingers crossed that I get my visa in time to travel, lest I be stuck waitressing at Denny's for the next 60 years...