Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Today was the orientation for all graduate students. Initially, it wasn't all that useful. There were a bunch of booths, each representing either some type of student organization or some type of student services. I put my name on the email list for Hillel, and talked to a priest about when and where I can go to confession. Luckily, at the recreational services booth, I learned that there is intramural Ultimate Frisbee, but only in the spring. Still, that is better than nothing!

I sat through talks on payroll and health insurance that were pretty useless in that all of the information I was getting was available on the website.

Afterward, however, I decided that I would stay for the reception. There would be food involved, and I didn't feel like biking home to make shrimp scampi at that moment. I sat down at a table with a girl who had, like me, been searching frantically for the restroom after the talks. As I sat down, she complimented my dress, introduced me to the Asian girl sitting next to her, and we were off. Her name is Sydney and she is in Physics (GAH! I know, like actual physics, like, she wants to shoot lasers and study their effect on atoms for the rest of her life), and the other girl is Vicky and she is studying to be a Rehabilitation Counselor, which sounds like Psychology to me. It was overwhelmingly refreshing to be chatting with people who were not cashiers at the grocery store--almost for the first time in weeks. After we stood in line for food, we found a whole group of people congregated at our table. They all turned out to be English people! My English orientation is on Friday, so I would certainly be meeting these folks soon. But it was nice to know that they exist and that they don't all already have an MA or an MFA or some other PhD (or, like someone who added me on Facebook, a JD... from Harvard).

After eating, a great number of our table decided to hit up the Farmer's Market. When I was unlocking my bicycle to walk with the group, one of the pedals somehow scratched the back of my heel where a blister was forming. I didn't feel it until a little later, but realized as we trekked on that my foot was bleeding profusely, onto and into my beloved Sperry Topsiders. To save the shoes, I went barefoot. All my companions voiced their concern and I was very embarrassed.

The Farmer's Market was very unlike the one I went to a few times in Little Rock. The one in Little Rock was always more expensive than what I could find at Kroger, and so I always felt kind of cheated when Alex and I bought overpriced fruit and it went bad quickly. This Farmer's Market, which is on the ground floor of a parking garage to shield it from sun and rain, hosted incredibly reasonably-priced produce, as well as various vendors of jellies, breads, pies, meats, and spice plants. One vendor sold small boxes of different fruits and different peppers. I sampled a few salsas (a habanero salsa with apple and peach in it was not bad) and even a BBQ sauce (very unimpressed; it was a Memphis-y vinegar-based sauce). I found a booth where a man was selling salsas, guacamole, and tamales. We had a nice chat about the importance of using tomatillo salsa on chicken enchiladas, and he wrote me out a coupon for his restaurant for free drinks! Then I bought 8 tamales to freeze upon my arrival home. Tamales are so grievously bad for you... but I couldn't resist. They will be something easy to throw in the oven when I get back from my evening class.

After the market, Sydney suggested we could try to fit my bicycle in her car so I wouldn't have to walk barefoot all the way home. This turned out to be quite the hilarious adventure indeed, as she ended up having a Toyota Corolla and we foolishly attempted to squeeze the bike into the back seat... where it inevitably got stuck and we spent the better part of 20 minutes just trying to get it out again. Eventually, after much giggling and after I managed to snap the buckle on my new favorite belt (a skinny brown belt with a gold buckle with a little sail boat on it--$8 at Blue Velvet), we got it out and situated it as best we could in the trunk. She dropped me off and I came inside to figure out how to get blood off of my Sperrys.

All in all, a pretty good day.

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