Monday, August 30, 2010

driving in MN

After driving in MN for a few months I have noticed some interesting things. Some of them are merely puzzling, some I just don't like. My most recent discoveries come from driving through rural Minnesota this past weekend. Out there, for whatever reason, they decided numbers would be good for naming roads. A girl told me today that apparently there was a big legislative change some years ago that actually changed names to numbers. Anyway, you'd be driving through cornfields, and suddenly come across, say, 468th Street. Or, the intersection of 150th Street and 170th Avenue. Where the other 467 streets were, we'll never know. That was the only road for miles, except the county road I was driving on. Unfortunately the counties also seem to like to all use some of the same numbers, so it seems like it might be easy to get confused (I think I passed a 150th street in about 3 different counties).

Then, I was driving down this one road, and I passed a sign that said 'End Speed Limit 45'. Which was all well and good, but there was no sign that then informed me which speed I should be driving.

Lastly, what I hate most about driving in Minnesota (though I imagine this might be a problem in other states, too) is the idiotic cloverleaf design of entrance and exit ramps. They are so tight that they are almost homicidal. Exit, slam on brakes so you don't fly off the side of the loop, then have cars coming at you at 65mph trying to exit as you are trying to enter, all trying to share the same space. Oi.

There are perhaps quirks in Texas that I am just used to, I'll grant that. The cloverleaf thing still seems stupid, though, even as I grant it's space saving nature.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

cross cultural education

Thursday evening I went down to the kitchen after CPE to make some supper. While I was eating, two guys that live upstairs came in, one of them is from Korea and the other from Sweden. They told me they had decided to make food for each other, so Choong made noodles (they were actually Ramen, but he presented them well), and Mattias made swedish pancakes from this mix he had found. They invited me to join them, so I did, and it was quite fascinating to watch. Choong ate swedish pancakes with chopsticks, and Mattias didn't drink the liquid from the noodles, and each made the other a bit uncomfortable by not doing it quite properly, but I enjoyed watching the interaction. The two are almost literally from opposite sides of the world.

That evening Tim got the chance to get half price tickets to see Gin Blossoms at this jazz club he likes to go to, and asked if I wanted to go, too. That was fun, and it's a small venue so every seat was close.

People are moving in for the fall semester, and thus the quiet of the dorms is over. There are also two men on my hallway, I guess the third floor is full. I feel bad for them, they have to go upstairs every time they want to shower or use the bathroom, and that's just rough.

And so the semester begins.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

and so it begins

Howdy, y'all.
CPE started yesterday, and I have two weeks of orientation before we get into the real deal. It went fine, nothing terribly exciting, we got id badges and some introductions to the CPE group and a few logistical things. It is kind of exciting in prospect, along with the usual dreaded dull work that will go along with it (learning scheduling and charting and email and having to write verbatims and such) but there will be some interesting experiences, no doubt. I won't pretend I'm not nervous about it, and in certain moments entirely petrified, but it's going to be an interesting experience where I will have to dig deep and bring out some of me that I usually allow to lie dormant. I think perhaps some of y'all won't entirely recognize me when I get home for Christmas. Then there are other moments when I look at my calendar that is already getting full before I've even really started the semester, and I think December can't come fast enough. This should be interesting, at any rate. The group and the supervisor seem pretty decent, at least, which is good since I've heard plenty of stories about that part being terrible.

In other news, the weather is cooling off, but it seems to be having a hard time deciding whether its fall or not. A cold front came through again, so it only got up to about 75 today, but yesterday it was in the upper 80s. Someone said 88, though when I walked out of the hospital after CPE yesterday one of my group members said something about it being hot, and I just thought, no, not really. Ah well. I'll just appreciate the fact that it's not 102, and pretend like winter is not coming soon. Peace.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

back, but maybe not ready yet

I am back from visiting CT. I also visited NYC, somewhere I've never been before. It was quite exciting, and a nice place to visit, though I am not enough of a city girl to think I'd actually like living there. The friend I visited does psychology research, so I got an MRI while doing the stop task, then got to see pictures of my brain. Pretty cool. We toured the main Yale library and the rare book building, and I saw two Gutenberg Bibles and the Audubon book (also awesome). In NYC I saw the statue of Liberty from the Governor's Island ferry,went to Central Park and Times Square (which isn't square and that still bothers me- why didn't they call it Times Plaza or something?), then met up with a friend from high school and had some pizza and hung out. We went to the beach in CT, on Long Island Sound, and it was a different sort of beach from the ones on the Gulf Coast I've been to, but I don't know if that's normal north Atlantic beaches or just from being on the sound. Anyway, it was a fun trip and a nice vacation, since I really haven't had one of those in a while.

Now I'm back on campus and getting really close to finishing my Romans class (the only summer course I have left). I start CPE in a week, though, and still don't know how many classes I can take, so I am a bit anxious about all of that but am going to try to enjoy this last week of relative freedom and lack of responsibility as much as I can. I continue to get my photography skills complimented, which is always nice to hear (maybe I really am talented there..haha).

I think it's possible fall is very close now (the natives might claim this as still summer weather, but where I'm from it definitely resembles fall), so I think shorts wearing days are quickly drawing to a close. I've been told the first frost shouldn't be here for about another month (!) but frost=winter to me, so I think this will just be a really long 'winter'.

Just to leave you with something to think about, I think all we can really know is Descartes' "I think, therefore I am". What I am, I can't know, nor is there really any certainty beyond that simple phrase. That is where faith comes in, on many levels. However, if you don't like thinking all that much, you can pretend this post ended with the previous paragraph.