Catch up time!

But first, look here [link broken]… ah, to have a pet’s mentality! 🙂 Actually I guess mine comes closer to Rover’s than those of a lot of people I know. Hm.

So, it has been forever since I said anything really about my actual life, besides that I’ve clearly been doing a lot of fun reading. But now, inspired by Jennifer’s massive stream of recent updates, I’m back! 🙂

Basically I’ve been extremely occupied for the past three weeks (including this one) by the start of school and the subsequent chaos as I try to re-orient myself to not having nothing to do all day. I’ve been going crazy trying to catch up on all the reading I’m already behind on (okay, so maybe all that fun reading I’ve been doing isn’t helping), while also maintaining a clean apartment, reasonable social life, and adequate exercise routine. So far the apartment and the exercise have suffered, but the social life is not bad. 🙂

There are two best things about my class schedule this semester, one of which I will get to in a little bit, or, as Prof Lewin says (frequently), ‘More on that later.’ The first is that I only have one class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and it’s from twelve to one, so I don’t have to get up especially early either. Unfortunately, it is a class that I get a little anxious about every time: Chinese 1AX (Introductory Chinese for Mandarin speakers). 1A is too easy for me, so I can’t take it, but this ‘for Mandarin speakers’ thing makes me so uncomfortable every class. My Mandarin speaking skills are practically nil, and my accent is not so great either. I have never spoken Mandarin voluntarily, so I don’t know even the most basic idiomatic phrases, and I even have difficulty forming grammatical sentences. In reading and writing ability, I think I am justified in saying I am far ahead of most of my classmates, which greatly helps me in homework and tests, but since the class is geared toward people who speak well and have grown up speaking but just can’t read or write, I never quite feel like I’m in the right class. In an ideal world this certainly would be the wrong class for me, but the way the classes in our department are set up, this is the most appropriate class for my level. Which means I will continue to be very embarrassed three times a week! And it’s a lot of work in between class sessions. But hopefully by the end of the semester I will be able to hold a decent conversation in Mandarin.

As for other classes, the rest are history… um, I didn’t mean that as a joke. History 100AC (race in American popular performance), 141B (social history of Latin America), and 190 (society and the sexes). I like the lineup because I really don’t like politics very much and these are mostly social history classes, and I really love all of their reading lists. Unfortunately, they are all 1.5-hour classes, almost back-to-back on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and none of my professors is a really outstanding lecturer. Which means lots of writing and not so much interest, two days a week. But the great reading assignments make my at-home work a lot easier, so it’s a perfectly tolerable trade-off.

The other wonderful thing about my schedule thoroughly obsessed me during the first week of classes, because I had to audition and wasn’t sure if I would get in. But I’m in! Music 146: piano ensemble. I have a partner, a freshman named Bo who is very nice, and a really fun energetic piece to work on (Aaron Copland’s Danza de Jalisco, originally for chamber orchestra but arranged by the composer for two pianos), and so far it has been great. I practice piano about forty-five minutes to an hour almost every day, and I think I’m a much better pianist now than I was when I graduated from high school. Getting back into piano has made my days so much richer, to be clichéd about it; big thanks are due to Erik for being incredibly supportive the whole time I was flipping out about the audition (I was completely certain I wouldn’t get in, because my audition didn’t go so brilliantly), and also for telling me about the class in the first place. He’s also in it, by the way, but there was never any doubt about that. 🙂

I’m also still working at the Emma Goldman Papers. So far I haven’t done so much, but I actually missed the microfilm room so it’s good to be back! (I must truly love what I do, né?)

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]