Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer Life

After spending a week going through my things (and having a close friend help me purge 14+ bags of clothing), my life is now devoted to math, reading, working out, cooking...all the good stuff, that is! And of course, I am trying to see other friends in the cities, but bus schedules out here in Maplewood are horrendous (and I live only a five minute drive from downtown...does anyone else besides me see a problem with this??).

I have also spent time at my uncle's home meeting his chickens (one lays green eggs! apparently because her ear drum is green...maybe my uncle is joshing me, but he is a vet...). I also mowed the lawn for the first time in my life. Before you start clucking in disapproval, my dad is very protective of both his lawn and John Deere and has never allowed either me or my brother to mow the lawn...ever. I am also very bad at digging (no surprise there). My uncle also has three cats (Mr. Peabody, Chester, and Oscar) plus a dog (Nigel). There must be some sort of genes in the family for naming pets and stuffed animals creatively, for my little brother has given his non-allergy-provoking pals such monikers as Arnold, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Mick.

If you are around in Minnesota and would like to get together, let me know: transportation will have to be carefully orchestrated, but I will do my best!

...and with that, I'm done with undergraduate degree.

As I still needed an "Intellectual Traditions" general education credit, I spent May term in Bloomington taking the final class of my undergraduate career. Each day I spent three hours in class, and a good deal of time outside of class reading obscure and dense literature on the idealogical split between Ashkenazim Judaism that occurred in the Pale of Settlement in the 1800s, as well as learning slightly more practically knowledge, such as the actual meaning of the words putz, schmuck, and bupkis (see http://www.alanemrich.com/Class/Class_Practical_Yiddish.htm for more examples). My professor was Marina Balina, and her field of study is actually Russian fairy tales. She is quite the pistol, and she really achieved her goal of making Jewish and Yiddish culture expand beyond the horrors of the Holocaust.

I also spent a good deal of time birdwatching with my advisor/professor Dr. Harper, and I was able to see quite the variety of birds...some of my favorites are below:

Indigo Bunting

Eastern Bluebird

Blackburnian Warbler

We even went a far ways out of town to find a Dickcissel! My life now feels complete!

I also spent a lot of time cooking, a lot of time in lab, and said a lot of goodbyes: from the streets of Bloomington to the beauty of the quad to my housemates, it was kind of a bittersweet month. It still hasn't really hit, and when it does, I know that I'll be pretty sad.