Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Why I love my Old English Professor: Reason 682

His 4 week projected final paper work schedule:
Week 1: Find and isolate topic.
Week 2: Drink tea, eat biscuits and think.
Week 3: Bibliography and rough draft
Week 4: Shape material into brilliant paper.
Needless to say I'm looking forward to week 2.

In other news I have mastered the art of putting up my blinds without assistance. Not just a pretty face!

(Ok, I've accepted that my life is neither adventurous nor exciting, I think you should do the same...)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Thanksgiving is coming...

The turkey's getting fat, please put a penny in the poor student's hat.
(I was told no Christmas until after thanksgiving, so I'm modifying...)

So tomorrow I leave on exciting Thanksgiving adventures! I have no idea how I'm going to make it back from aforementioned adventures, but I've totally figured out how I'm getting there, and it's going to involve a car, an underground thingy bobby, a train, and then another car on the other end! Oh yes! I feel like a mighty intrepid type explorer! It's all pretty exciting, I actually arrive before Half-Pint does, but it's all good! There will be real Maine potatoes, and Turkey and a bunch of other American type things, but I'm sure this will all come in a later post.

Right now I'm all excited because I've figured out there's a 'Stats' tab on my blog and I can see who is reading it! Well not exactly who, I can't stalk you, but I can see how many people are looking at it, where they are from (by country) and what browser they are using to read my random ramblings! For example I now know that 4 people visited my blog yesterday, 187 people visited this month and in all time 489 people have read about my life. I also know that this week 51 people from the UK, and 37 people from America read my blog, which is fairly interesting, but I also know that 10 people from Canada and 2 people from South Korea stopped by. This is fascinating, because I don't know how these people came across my blog, and prompted me into further research. Transpires that in the history of my blog, I have had 14 Russian readers, 12 Swedish 3 French readers, and one lost reader in Germany. I understand the French ones, I know French people, but I don't know 12 Swedish people (plus many of my Swedish friends don't actually live in Sweden) and as far as I'm aware I don't know anyone in Russia or South Korea.  Or actually Canada for that matter...

Needless to say this is inflating my ego, even though I'm very aware that the majority of these people probably came across my blog entirely by accident, and didn't read anything before they left, and probably have no recollection of seeing it at all. Nevertheless, it is spurring me on to post more often and to generally be a funnier, more interesting person, which is what you've all been waiting for anyway I'm sure.

Anyway I should get back to my mountain of papers and other thanksgiving preparations, such as packing and doing laundry (as you can see my bid to be interesting and lead an entertaining life is going well!)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

There are two things I should never do...

and they are a) tell myself I'm going to have an early night, and b) take my laptop to the library. 

I have told myself I need an early night every night this week, thus far I have failed to make it to my room much before 2. I really don't understand how this happens. Well I do, essentially I get distracted by people and end up talking until way too late. This isn't exactly a new phenomenon, sleep is a fairly inconsistent part of the Mount Holyoke experience from what I've observed, however with the work load consistently ramping up and thanksgiving break nearing, it's getting a little hairy. 

I actually have a bone to pick with those 1621 pilgrims, I think they went out of their way to make my life more complicated than is strictly necessary. While I'm all for giving thanks and all that jazz, it basically means I and the rest of civilisation is trying to get to Eastern Massachusetts Tuesday/Wednesday and then back again on Sunday. This makes it very hard to figure out how to get there and back, and whilst I'm looking forward to spending my first All-American Thanksgiving in Plymouth, the home of thanksgiving, it is proving to be somewhat of a logistical nightmare. Not to mention the fact that really I don't have time for frivolities because every single deadline EVER seems to be around now. This is not fair; my professors are all American, they knew this was coming, I never saw it approaching and then it suddenly arrived and I have been thrown into depths of panic. ish. 

However this brings me onto point 2 of my two things I should never do. I am currently in the library. I was going to write my two page paper today. Clearly this is not happening. Instead I have written long emails to people in England, I have written a blog post, and I have written (arguably) witty comments on facebook pictures. Not a paper in sight. Which is an issue. A fairly sizable issue really since I have this 2 page paper, and a 5-7 page paper due this and next Tuesday respectively, and a translation and a quiz to prepare for. And a sodding four day break with no library right slap bang in the middle. It really is most inconvenient!

Not to mention the fact that all my Sinterklaas things are in the post from England, and I'm pretty sure that Thanksgiving is going to involve postal workers having a break, which means that most likely my things won't arrive and I shall have a sad, sad, strooigoed-free sinterklaas for the first time EVER and I shall cry and cry. Vespers is actually on Sinterklaas, which is probably a good thing, since in my experience no work ever gets done on Sinterklaas since I spend the day feeling homesick. So instead I shall spend the day running around like a headless chicken, and I'm sure it'll be much more productive. Hopefully I shall still have time to watch Alles is Leifde, which is a personal lonesome, only dutch person around, tradition of mine. Perhaps in the morning. 

The only other issue with the approach of Vespers is that I have yet to actually master the pieces, which is an issue, since I do need to be able to play them in the concert. I've got the Bach Chorale and Joy to the World down (if you could see my music you'd see why, even I can handle a couple of crotchets and the smattering of accidentals) and about two thirds of the crazy other piece. It's the last third that I'm worried about. Since the bit I haven't got is the tune bit, which would be helpful to you know. Play. Still it could be worse, we could be playing the Borodin, in which I have SOLOS. Seriously? What kind of crazy composer gives the second clarinet solos? I'm supposed to play helpful harmonies, the odd long note and spend the rest of my time, well counting rests, not playing solos. This was not in my job description!

Anyway. I'm going to move out of my desk with my laptop, as this is clearly of limited productivity, and go work somewhere else. Hopefully with more evident output. Toodles.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Wait just one minute!

I forgot to blog about something of momentous and extreme importance! LISA CAME TO VISIT! Like actually from England. Well clearly from England, because that is where she lives, but it was so very very exciting! Unfortunately the Valley is a pretty dull place, and there is not much to do, particularly since I still had homework and quizzes to do and therefore was not at the peak of my fun! Still we had a good time hanging out in the library. I'M JOKING! Well, actually, we did hang out in the Library, but I'll have you know the library here is very beautiful and historical and has very comfy seats.

We also went on other exciting adventures though. We went shopping at the mall, and to Northampton, and went to pub night and a Blanch Party. Lisa also went on solo missions to Amherst and Boston, and we hung out and stole food from the cafeteria. And went on walks around campus to see the lakes, and we went to the village commons. You know, all the important things to see and do in South Hadley. Oh! And one night we ordered sushi and tried to watch Glee, but the TV wasn't playing ball, so it was showing the picture and playing the background music but you couldn't hear the actual dialogue. It was very bizarre. And we hung out in the library, and in my dorm room, and did homework. Because we're cool like that. 

Regular readers of this blog, will recognise my adventures with Lisa to include much shopping (let's be honest, Lisa probably one of the only regular readers of this blog - so I'm just telling you that whenever Lisa and I are in the same place shopping occurs). This time was no exception. I successfully bought a really nice polo Ralph Lauren sweater/jumper (depending on where you come from), a vest/body-warmer/Gillette (ditto) a couple of t-shirts (one of which from Holister, I feel so in with the kids) and most importantly my Advent calender! This year, since I bought it so early and therefore had limited choice, I went for a slightly less religious themed one, with Santa and toys and small children. However, in an unusual twist of fate it has chocolate in! Oh yes! I'm pretty excited!

Which allows me to segway nicely (or perhaps not so nicely) into a short moment of excitement about the fact that DECEMBER IS COMING! This means several things: 1. Thanksgiving break! 2. Sinterklaas. and 3. Getting ready for Christmas. I shall address these in order:
1. Thanksgiving break starts next Tuesday! Which is exciting! I'm going back to Plymouth for the break and hanging out with my fake American Family in Eastern Mass. We're doing exciting things like a turkey trot, and eating our body weight in food and hanging out with extended family. 
2. Sinterklaas is fast approaching, but because thanksgiving falls between now and Sinterklaas I'm not too sure when I get to start listening to the songs or becoming excited about it all. My mother went to Holland this weekend and bought me Sinterklaas things, so maybe I'll start when it all arrives. I'm prettttty excited!
3. Christmas! YAY CHRISTMAS! I have Christmas themed knit wear and everything! I love Christmas! My cousins and aunts and uncles and grandmother will be there, and it's all so exciting! I'm told mince for mince pies has been made as well as Christmas cakes!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I'm a mess.

I feel like I've blogged about this before, but I am continually astounded, befuddled and bemused by my innate ability to create mess. It's actually very impressive; I actually got to the stage where I can no longer fit my laptop on my desk, which is slightly beside the point since I can't actually sit at my desk because both of my chairs are covered in stuff, I'm currently unsure of the location of my bookshelf, I haven't seen my rug in weeks, I have to take a flying leap to get into bed, and I can't actually open my fridge. Today I decided that enough was enough and it was time to start clearing. Logic dictated that I start in the door way and work inwards. Thus far I have made to in line with my bedside table. Which is a meter in. In 45 minutes. It's pretty impressive.

My tidying adventures led me to ponder many soul searching questions, such as what is the nature of chaos, where does dust come from, and perhaps most importantly why can't I snap my fingers and have everything clear itself like Mary Poppins does? 

It is interesting though, I feel like in York my room was generally also a mess, but it bothered me less, perhaps because I lived in a house with 6 other people who hadn't seen their floors in weeks. People here tidy. Alot. I haven't seen a seriously mouldy mug in any one's room but my own for a long time, it's almost as if American students aren't looking for penicillin in their daily lives. Generally people's beds are made, their floors are clear and their washing up is done. The only people I know who claim to have untidy rooms, usually are referring to a pile of clothing on the floor and clutter on the desk, which really is a poor effort in my opinion. I even know someone who owns a mini-hoover for tidying emergencies... no joking...

My initial knee-jerk reaction to the question - 'what happened in here?!?!' is to claim that my things move themselves while I'm not looking. And whilst this seems like the most probable explanation for the state my room finds itself in, my hoarding habit probably doesn't really help, nor my impulse to dump everything on the floor when I get into my room and get into bed. I have this strange idea that when I take my clothes off before getting into bed at night, if I put them on a chair, I might wear them again at some point, when in reality what happens is that the pile gets bigger and bigger until I decide it is threatening to over run my room, or I've run out of clean t-shirts and then I go through put everything in the wash and start again, because it's been so long since I've worn things that I've forgotten whether I inadvertently spilt tomato soup on the purple or the green t-shirt.

I sometimes wonder where my inability to control my stuff comes from.My family, whilst not being the tidiest people on the planet, really don't seem to have my level of skill at tidying. My mother asked me when we skyped today whether the mess in my room was getting as bad as when she'd seen my room in York. The irony of the situation is that when she came to my room in York it wasn't even as bad as it had been. My washing up was even done, and I seem to remember I had clean sheets. The truth of the matter is that I seem to be able to create mess just as quickly as I can tidy it. It's like an endless vicious circle.

I'm hoping my untidiness a phase that I will eventually grow out of, because if I'm still like this when I have teenaged kids I'm going to struggle to hold my own in the 'you don't even tidy your room' argument, which seems to be a staple of the teenager experience. But for now I'm going to get back to task at hand and attempt to tidy the next meter or so of room.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


Americans are not very good at making popcorn in the microwave. They seem to burn it every other time. They also make popcorn at ridiculous times. Such as 1.30am. When they will burn the popcorn badly enough to set off the fire alarm. So the whole building has to go outside into the freezing cold. I'm not even exaggerating; there was frost on the ground. What is truly amazing is how people bond over the oddest things, in a previous post I mentioned midterms, last night, at 1.30am, in the freezing cold, we bonded over our mutual disgust at late night fire alarms. We were all in various stages of undress; some people very sensible very large pjs, some people in smaller pjs, one friend in a very teeny tiny nightgown, with jumpers, coats and duvets thrown on over the top, all moaning about the cold and how late it was. One poor girl was in a towl and flipflops and had clearly been dragged out of the shower. Maybe people just bond over mutual misery...

The worst thing about the whole thing was that it was at 1.30 so we still need to have our 2-6am fire drill. So we have to do the whole shibaz again at some point...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Family and Friends etc.

So I'm really not doing too well with keeping this updated. So since I last posted it was family and friend's weekend, which basically involved a weekend of running around pretending to be musical, wearing a pope dress and watching my friends actually be musical. And my friend Map from camp came to visit which was highly exciting! And meant that we did alot of talking and not much sleeping. But it's all good. 

Last weekend was Halloween weekend. Which was alot of fun, but sadly was a little deviod of trick or treating and other such American goodness. But we did go out on Saturday (mainly because it was a friend's birthday), and we did dress up (albeit rather un-enthusiastically and at the last minute) as playing cards. But there were four of us so we could each be a suit (one of us was hearts, one was diamons, clubs and spades etc.) so it was actually kind of cute. 

I'm noticing that I'm sounding more and more American recently. I know this because a) I can say pants without giggling like a four year old, b) I say that everything is cute, c) every now and then I say tooz-day rather than chews-day for Tuesday, and d) Beth tells me so when we skype. But panic not my British accent loving friends! All is going to be O.K. because Lisa is coming to visit tomorrow complete with British socks (from Primark - I'm classy like that), British chocolate (Cadbury's of course) and a fully functioning British accent! YAY!

I have much preparing to do in preparation for Lisa's arrival. I have already crossed off 'Locate Floor' off of my to do list. Still remaining are such joyous tasks as: plan french paper, edit french paper, translate old english, read children's books, sweep floor (once I discovered it, I also discovered it was still covered in bits of astroturf from when we had a frisbee class out there a couple of weeks ago - oops) and start creative writing assignment. Still I'm exceedingly excited about the invasion of British which is about to happen.

I find myself becoming more and more patriotic the longer I stay in this crazy country. Which is weird. Because I'm not even particularly British (exactly half to be precise). And yet I find myself giving an internal (and sometimes not so internal) cheer everytime anything remotely British related is mentioned. Even Scotland. Which is saying something I think you'll agree. But I could (and might) write a whole post on this phenomenon. So I'll save it for another time. 

In other news, I have a tentative schedule for next semester, I think I'm going to take, The French  Speaking World, Medieval Literature, Modern British Novels, and a Creative Writing class. Which is exciting. Unless York says I don't have to take the French class, which I'm least looking forward to, in which case I can do Faulkner and Modern Southern Writing, instead of the Modern British Novel (which kinda makes sense since I am infact in America not Britain) and possibly a Psychoanalytic Theory Class.

But possibly more exciting than next semester's class choices, are the choices available for the J-Term. I've already signed up for Creative Writing Workshop I, which is being taught/led/whatever, by one of the girls who lives on my floor, which I am massively excited about. But I'm also thinking about signing up for Intro to Crochet, Adobe Creative Suite: The Ins and Outs, Beginning Knitting with Annie, Ping-Pong ahoy! , Bead and Wire Earring Design and Yummy Chinese Food (A Cooking Class). Some of the other options include: The Science of Bread Baking, Spinning Yarn, To Boldy Go: Exploring the Star Trek Universe, Intro to T'ai Chi, Intro to Watercolor Painting, Comic and Graphic Novel Creation and Constucting Language. Some of which sound more appealing than others.

Anyway, my freshly made and laundered bed is calling my name with increasing strength, I think I might be beginning to ramble and I need to get up in the morning so it's off to Bedfordshire for me!