readingredhead: (Adventure)
I'm pretty sure that all schoolwork should be suspended in times of wonderful weather. Unfortunately I act like this is already the case despite the fact that it isn't, and have spent 90% of my spring break thus far wearing skirts and shorts and dresses and gallivanting about outdoors (and the other 10% sleeping). What do you mean I have my MA essay to write, and lots of long and involved 18th- and 19th-century novels to read, along with assorted relevant criticism? I don't think you understand, IT'S SUNNY, that supersedes mere logic.

What also supersedes mere logic is the fact that springtime anywhere in the world apparently reminds me of Berkeley, and how much I love it there and how I really will someday go back. Good to know.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go lie on the grass and pretend to read but probably just stare dreamily into space from behind my oversized sunglasses.
readingredhead: (Fear for Courage)
Fuck, you guys, Berkeley is going up in metaphorical flames: The Police Riot At Berkeley: If They'll Beat A Poet Laureate, Will They Kill A Student?

At another time I'll have something to say about how strange it is to feel closer to events happening on the opposite side of the country than those happening just half an hour's subway ride south of where I work and live, but that's not what this post is about.

This post is about the queasiness I felt when I realized that one of the women at the front of the linked-arms line of protesters, one of the first people to be pulled aside and forced to the ground by the police, was Celeste Langan, my romanticism professor, who wrote me letters of rec and sponsored my SURF project last summer and gave me incredibly cogent and compassionate grad school advice. I'd seen the YouTube video of this action a week ago. I hadn't realized that it was her -- the thought had never even crossed my mind, and I assumed, watching the clip, that since all of the students I knew had more or less graduated, the terror of the thing would be about violence happening in a place that has, for me, epitomized the grandeur and import of learning and knowledge. I never expected that it would be happening to people who epitomized the same thing. I got another shock when I realized that the Geoffrey O'Brien whose ribs were broken by the police is Joanna Picciotto's long-term partner, and Joanna is my absolute role model/future self. 

Thank god Celeste is okay, and she wrote a brief and wonderful account of her arrest -- why she protested, what it means to her, and how appalled she is (and will continue to be). I don't know yet about Professor O'Brien, though he's quoted by ABC News local describing the event after the fact, so presumably he's more or less okay:

"I said, 'if you're going to hit somebody, hit a professor,'" O'Brien admitted. "The cop said, 'you want some?' It was a rhetorical question, and I was hit viciously in the ribs and went to the ground."

I'm torn between feeling an immense upwelling of pride that THESE ARE MY PEOPLE, this is where I come from (and where I'd like to be going back to), and a visceral disgust that just about tears my innards out, because HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO MY PEOPLE. When I first heard the news I was physically sick to my stomach for a few minutes and couldn't say a word about it. It's about an hour later now and I am still feeling it (though it's mostly transmuted itself into a headache, as all my anxieties always do). 

I started this entry feeling like I had something important to say, but right now all I think I can say is that I'm disgusted and terrified and I just want to go cry somewhere for a bit, but NONE of that is going to get my state and my country and my former university back in working order. And I don't know what will.
readingredhead: (Adventure)
Since there's only a very small chance that I'll be living in the Bay Area in September (or even California, for that matter!), I've made up a list of the things--big and small--I want to do here before I'm gone. I'll bold and date things as I accomplish them, and if I write an entry about it, I'll link the date to that post. The list is sort of loosely organized by topic, but this is subject to change.

--Gregoire (completed 1/13)
--Chez Panisse
--Beckett's Pub (unfortunately, this place has closed now and I didn't get there in time)
--CA Academy of Sciences NightLife
--wine tasting
--Jupiter (completed 3/12)

--climb Mt. Tamalpais
--hike the Fire Trail
--hike to the Big C
--hike to Indian Rock/air raid siren

--spend a warm day at Strawberry Canyon rec center
--see a play at a theater in Berkeley
--visit the Rose Garden (completed 4/30)
--visit Tilden Regional Park (will be picnicking there 5/17 with the thesis class)

--visit Golden Gate Park

--visit Davis (completed 2/19)
--attend WonderCon (completed 4/3)
readingredhead: (Adventure)
Today is a beautiful day. I was going to stay mostly inside and mostly get work done but my bucket list is not getting any shorter and I only have a little less than a month left in this city, so I figured I would go adventuring. About 3 miles of walking later, I have had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, found a place that makes delicious gelato, finally seen the Berkeley Rose Garden, and started reading Invisible Things, a young adult alternate history novel set in 1930s Europe and written by one of my future Columbia professors -- the same one who fed me cookies when I visited over spring break.

I still have things to do, like write a paper and revise a short story and study for French, but it's a beautiful day, and that makes everything better.
readingredhead: (Reading)
God, on days like these, Wheeler is my safe place. When I'm on the fourth floor, flitting from office to office and having deep and meaningful conversations with professors and fellow students about the nature of life as seen through literature, all of the rest of it just seems to go away, and I just stop worrying and start belonging. I'm tense and nervous and worried a lot more than I should be right now, what with so many things proverbially up in the air, but when I'm talking to people about English (or when I'm in Professor Puckett's lectures) I feel like the world makes sense for once. I feel like this, at least, is something I understand, and perhaps more importantly, something of which I am a (possibly even integral) part.
readingredhead: (Reading)
Well, I'm back for my final semester at Berkeley (and still freaking out a little about that fact). Within a little more than three months, I'll have written my 40-60 pg. honors thesis, completed my last classes as an undergraduate, and possibly put an end to my career as a student at Berkeley (there's a small chance I could come back for grad school, but that's rather doubtful). Or, you know, I could have a mental breakdown and fail out of everything. But frankly, if that was going to happen to me, it would have happened last semester, and it didn't, so I think I'm doing fairly well so far. The plan is to do awesome things this semester, and hopefully check some things off of my Bay Area Bucket List, which I have now posted as a separate entry on this journal so I can keep track of what I've done.

I haven't been doing much since coming back, aside from re-reading Emma (which does not actually improve very much after seven-and-a-half years' absence, unfortunately), hanging out with friends, and finally updating my personal blog and the book blog I share with some friends. I seem to have aliens on the mind at the moment; in the past few days I've written one post about the book containing my favorite alien narrator (and possibly favorite alien character) of all time and another about why the 456 from Torchwood: Children of Earth are so damn terrifying. Now I just need to read some new science fiction and I'll be set.

My plans for the evening involve reading some of Castle Waiting (which [ profile] cosmic_llin recommended and which my local public library happens to own), eating dinner and watching more of the Sarah Jane Adventures, and then settling down to spend a few hours attempting to read The Rules of Art by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu before returning to SJA before bedtime. Frankly, this sounds like a good evening.

EDIT: So, I haven't had any SJA or Bourdieu fun yet, but I did just finish Castle Waiting and am sad there is not more of it!
readingredhead: (Earth)
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I'm just gonna interpret this question as planing for when I accompany the Doctor on his zany adventures through time and space. (This will, of course, obviously happen. I am female, almost ginger, and may possibly at some point in my life return to live in London. The odds are in my favor already.)

In no particular order, and with various degrees of specificity:

1. The 1790s in England. Yes, I know this is about as far from specific as I can get, but this is probably the historical decade I find the most intriguing. This is when Jane Austen became a writer (though not a published novelist), when Blake did some of his most intense engravings, when the French Revolution took a turn towards insanity and when the world was on the brink of so many major cultural changes. I would just want to live as a part of this for a while, to get a real feel for the things that fascinate me about this decade.

2. The World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention of 1968, which was held in Berkeley. Yes, this means there was once a conflation of Berkeley, the sixties, and SFF geeks. 1968 is the year that Anne McCaffrey's short story "Weyr Search" won the Hugo Award for best short story -- and this story is the one that was later extended into Dragonflight, the first of her Dragonriders of Pern books, and the first book that really got me into science fiction.

3. The first man on the moon, 1969. I just wonder what it must have felt like for those people who had lived in a time when no images of earth from space were readily available to see those first pictures from the Apollo mission, and to have a sudden jarring understanding of themselves as such a small part of such a small corner of the universe, but a corner that undeniably mattered.

4. Anything in which I got to meet Elizabeth I. Because she's just bound to be utterly badass. Maybe I would want to go see a Shakespeare play with her.

5. The fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. I was technically alive at the time, but had only been so for six months.

Undoubtedly as soon as I post this I will realize some incredibly significant historical event that I'm missing, but for the moment I think this is a pretty good list. I'm obviously most invested in the first three items; the others might rotate out with my mood.
readingredhead: (Cuppa)
I don't think I have words to explain the kind of "busy" that I've been feeling for the last few weeks. I think part of it stems from the fact that school requires so much more structured, scheduled time out of me here than it did in London and I'm readjusting to that fact. I had 8 hours of class per week in London, and only spent maybe 30 mins per week in office hours. Here, I have 14 hours of class per week and spend at least an hour, usually more like an hour and a half, in office hours every week because it's the best way for me to really engage with the material (and because my professors are kickass).

Also, I'm taking three upper division Berkeley English classes at once -- which is apparently lots harder than taking four second-and-third-year Queen Mary English classes at once. And that's not even mentioning the fact that I'm also taking French here, which is just a constant time drain (though by the end of this all I know it'll be worth it).

I think the hardest part is that some people (not pointing fingers!) don't understand what I mean when I say I don't have free time. They expect me to be there to hang out with them, and honestly, I can't always. In addition to 14 hours of class time per week, I spend 8 hours tutoring or attending tutor-related meetings and 6 hours interning at the Office of Letters and Light (which, if you add in transportation time, probably is actually more like 7-8 hours). And this isn't even including my homework or my sleep! Or, god forbid, time for me to do reading independent of my schoolwork!

I always knew that this semester was going to be hard. I just didn't think that the hard part would be explaining to friends and family why I don't have the time to be with them. But although this semester is hard, it's also utterly necessary to my eventual goals -- and that isn't going to change. So I guess ultimately I just have to get better at saying, "Actually, sorry, I really am up to my ears in work between now and December 31, can we reschedule for next year?"

I suppose the last thing to mention is that, despite how hectic this all sounds, I really do enjoy what I'm doing! My classes are amazing and challenging and nonsensical (that's what happens when you study too much literary theory) and brilliant and I love every minute of (some of) them. Likewise, I'm really excited about the work I do as a tutor and as an OLL intern, and I'm looking forward to once again being an East Bay Municipal Liaison. And I'm also looking forward to reinstating/renovating what was once the Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Story Workshop class and is now a club that will still workshop sci-fi and fantasy stories but can be far more flexible than a class since I don't have to determine a syllabus in advance.

How mean am I being if I tell people that I'm only really going to have time for them if I see them through school/work/interning already? (Probably pretty mean. But I'm an English major. I won't say it in those least, not until mid-November when I'm starting to get really fed up.)

In the meantime, tea will solve all my problems. That is all.
readingredhead: (Adventure)
My life has improved greatly since my last post, and mostly for completely superficial reasons, such as:

--it has been sunny for the past two days
--I have sat and written in multiple cafes
--school begins on Thursday! and I get to see people again!
--Berkeley is beginning to feel alive again and reminding me why I'm in love

There are some non-superficial reasons for my life being better, such as the fact that Peggy Reynolds, who is officially the most awesome woman in the world (as if I didn't know this already) took time out of her vacation in Australia with her family to effectively re-write the salient portions of the letter of recommendation that wasn't submitted properly to the Marshall Scholarship application. As a result of this, I now basically have all my letters of rec and am feeling a lot better about this application. It's beginning to feel like a good thing that it's out of my hands, rather than a terrifying thing (though of course it's still terrifying).

Also, I had a realization the other day that, even if I don't make it back to London in the way I want to, I'm fundamentally not worried at all about making it back to Berkeley. I'm sure it's a dangerous belief to indulge in, because it's no more or less certain than my return to London, but nonetheless I've somehow stumbled upon a belief that if I want to spend a significant portion of my life as a Berkeley professor, well, that's probably what I'll do!

I'm also feeling lots better about my SURF presentation, which is tomorrow. As a culmination of my summer research I have to give a 15-minute presentation about what I've learned so far, and somehow I've managed to come up with a viable presentation that doesn't go too far over time and seems to elaborate the main argument I realized this summer. About a week ago, I didn't think that either of those things was even possible.

I'm typing this as I sit sipping iced coffee from Cafe Milano, looking out down Bancroft toward Telegraph and the heart of the Berkeley campus community, remembering why I love this school and the life I live here, and totally ready for my next year as a Berkeley student to begin -- because I'm also pretty sure that it won't be my last.
readingredhead: (Rain)
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I have a French final in an hour, so of course I'm answering this question instead of studying.

At first I looked at it and thought it would be impossible to answer -- there are so many places I love -- but then I realized that if I have to narrow it down to a single specific place, one that sticks in my memory and one that I want to return to no matter where I am in the world or how awesome my life might be at any given moment, it's probably the table by the edge of the second floor seating area at Berkeley's Cafe Milano. Between write-ins and study sessions and essay writing I probably visited at least one day a week for all of last school year, and when I think about what I miss most about Berkeley after having been in London for so long, apart from the people and the intellectual energy, this cafe is what first comes to mind. I love that it has a second story, so I can sit and sip whatever I'm drinking and look down on the people entering, distracting myself with people-watching. I love that it has a skylight, so that I can feel like I'm right in the midst of the (wonderful) Berkeley weather, be it rain or sunshine. I love that, on sunny days, they open the roof and there is nothing between me and the sky. It's so close to campus but emphatically part of a community larger than just the campus. And it makes sandwiches on some of the world's best focaccia bread. All in all, life is complete.

There are other places in the world that are more immense, more fantastical, more awe-inspiring -- Santorini's black sand beaches, the British Museum, Doe Library -- but they're not really mine the way Cafe Milano is. When I get back to Berkeley, after a full year spent away, things will be hectic at first, but eventually I'll find time to make it back to that cafe and sit with my research on the second story and bask in the warmth of the California summer sun.
readingredhead: (Library)
I don't have the time to do this justice, but better something short than nothing at all.

When I got back from Paris, I heard from a friend that one of my old Berkeley professors had passed away. Her name was Janet Adelman, and she was amazing. I took 45A with her, and spent a semester finding new literary love in strange places, from Chaucer to Spenser to -- wait for it -- Milton. Yes, this is the woman who first introduced me to Paradise Lost and started me off on something so much larger than her, or me, or probably even Milton himself.

She was fiery. She was old, and it wasn't like she was trying to hide it: she wore her white hair long, and dressed with an eclectic fashion only allowed to those who are conscious of their own age and milking it for all its worth (when I picture her now, she's wearing crazy-awesome robelike garments that no one in the universe should be allowed to pull off, and yet she does).

She was old but she showed you that didn't really mean much. She wasn't that quivering Victorian grandmother who blushed at the slightest sign of indecency. She was a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and considering dates and ages she was probably a part of the second-wave feminism of the 60s and 70s, and also part of the resurgence of psychoanalytic theory in English departments/studies at the time. She gave a powerful reading of Satan's sense of indebtedness to God that shifted into anger and the desire to destroy, all based on (vaguely feminist) psychoanalysis. And she made a powerful argument for Milton as a feminist (though I'm not entirely sure how much modern critics would agree). In fact, rather than being angry with these old works by men who wrote in a time when pretty much only men wrote, she took them and combed them through for signs of understanding of women and an attempt to fairly portray them. She might have been a feminist but she never got righteously angry about it, at least not in the classroom.

But it wasn't just in the classroom where she mattered. I still remember the first time I went to visit her in office hours. I wasn't really liking Chaucer and not quite sure what to say, but I walked in, sat down, and said something lame like, "So. Chaucer." To which she responded, "Oh, not him yet, I still don't know you!" When I came back from spring break after Rick broke up with me and went to her office hours again she asked me how break had gone and I mumbled something before starting in on Spenser, which was greatly preferable to a discussion of my own emotional unrest. And yet a month or so later it came up in our office hours discussion and she told me she'd thought that something was wrong back then, but that she knew I was dealing with it and that I could always come to her with problems.

She wrote me one of the letters of recommendation that got me here, studying abroad in London. The last time I saw her -- at least, the last time I really remember -- was when I walked by her office and picked up that letter. She hadn't sealed it yet when I arrived -- she wanted me to read it over first -- and though I don't remember exactly what it said now, I just remember that it reinforced my feeling that she really somehow understood. She was such a gift.

Janet Adelman is not a woman that I, or anyone, will easily forget. But me especially. She continues to make it into my fiction, lending sometimes her name and sometimes her appearance to a series of benevolent grandmotherly figures who nonetheless know when to shove their children out into the world and help them face it. She is the kind witch of my Printer's Tale who gives Noelle shelter and asks no questions until the time is right -- with her robes and her long white hair and her kind and deep brown eyes. She is a figure of power. And though I'm sad to know that she's gone, I'm full of a certainty that "gone" isn't really too final, and that somewhere out there she's arguing feminism with Milton (and winning).
readingredhead: (Rain)

I spent three nights and two full days of this weekend in Rome. I was there for a week or so during July, and this was my fourth trip there in total (the first being six years ago, when I was just fourteen), but every time I visit, the city has something new to give me. This time, I met up with my friend Andy, who’s studying at Trinity College in Dublin for this school year and who had always wanted to go to Rome but had never even been to Europe until his trip to Dublin. With my more-than-average knowledge of the history, myth, legend, geography, and even language of Rome, I led us on a two-day whirlwind tour of all of the major sights and experiences, including:

the Vatican Museum + Sistine Chapel;

St. Peter’s Basilica + climb to the ‘cupola’ (the pinnacle atop the dome);

Piazza Navona;

the Pantheon;

Piazza di Spagna/Spanish Steps;

Trevi Fountain;

Piazza del Popolo and Via del Corso;

Borghese gardens;

Victor Emmanuel Monument;

Roman Forum;

Colosseum (properly known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, in case you were curious).

In fact, the best question is probably what we didn’t see. We didn’t cross the river and hang out in Trastevere, we didn’t go into the museum at the Villa Borghese, we didn’t rent Vespas…and really that’s about all that we didn’t manage that I have at some point done or wanted to do.

My favorite part was being in the Forum at sunset; I took more pictures in that one hour than I did at any other site we visited, I’m almost sure of it. There’s something beautiful about Rome at sunset, but the Forum at sunset in mid-October was totally breathtaking; I’ve never seen anything like it, in Italy or elsewhere (though Florence, near the Arno River, during a summer sunset comes to mind). I also really liked climbing to the top of the ‘Vittoriano,’ as the Victor Emmanuel Monument is called in Italian, and seeing the city from there, something my family and I had never done. The days were long, and there was a lot of walking, but I had a fantastic time — mostly because I’m slowly becoming more and more familiar with the city and its culture. I’m even getting confident enough in basic Italian to ask for directions, order a meal, and always say my pleases and thank-yous (not to mention read street signs and purchase train and metro tickets). Actually, it wasn’t until after I’d gone through the whole process in Italian that I realized the self-service metro ticket machines could be made to display their instructions in English.

This upcoming weekend will be spent reading Nicholas Nickleby and writing the first essay of the semester (a close textual analysis of a passage from Jane Eyre) because the weekend after that, I will be making my first ever trip to Paris! Then I have one more week of instruction before I get a whole week off for ‘Reading Week,’ in which technically you’re supposed to study and catch up with reading, but when I and my friends will be spending two and a half days in Barcelona followed by three and a half days in Marrakesh. I’m really excited to be doing so much traveling and experiencing so many different places while I’m here, but I’m equally excited to be able to call London ‘home.’

I had a few hours of crazy stress yesterday because the way that you turn in assignments here is so different, and teachers in general seem less concerned about reminding you when your assignments are due. In this case, I was pretty sure that an assignment for my Dickens class was due today by 4:30pm, but when I logged onto the VLE (think blackboard or bspace) it said that it was due yesterday (today at the time) by 4:30pm. It was 1pm when I read this and I had class starting at 3 that I couldn't miss. I ran around finishing up my assignment (thank god it was mostly done already) and then filling out the requisite coversheets (both in print and online) and submitting both a virtual copy via the VLE and a hard copy in person to the English Department office. This makes me miss Berkeley.

Also, my Representing London: the Eighteenth Century class was talking about coffeehouses today and the different kinds of sociability one finds there, and it made me miss my favorite cafe in Berkeley. Oh, Milano, how I pine for thee. There's good coffee here but the pub is the social locale du jour, so I'm stuck with convenient but uninspiring cafes. Still, I can't complain, because they're in London. Every so often I'll be doing something — whether it be reading Jane Eyre, or listening to a Beatles song, or just walking outside and breathing in the beautiful grass-and-wet-cement smell of early mornings post-rain — and then I'll realize that I'm not just reading this novel, or listening to this music, or capturing this moment. I'm doing it in a place that made it, in a sense. London is the genesis of so many things that are important to me. Maybe that's why coming here feels in its own way less like going away and more like coming home.
readingredhead: (Talk)
It was great to be back in Berkeley, and terrible at the same time, because after five days I had to leave. I love the city, and I find out new things about it every time I visit (for example, this time I made my first visit to gourmet ice cream parlor Ici). It'll be good to leave it for a year -- but I have a feeling it'll be just as good to return.


The seventeenth gets closer and closer each day. It's almost officially September. That's crazy...but also good. I'm starting to prepare for London in earnest. It's so weird because it's like being a freshman all over again, but with the benefit of hindsight upon the whole college freshman experience. I think I'm going to like 'freshman' year 2.0 even better than I liked the first iteration.


Dinner tonight was definitely cinnamon pecan waffles with peanut butter and syrup and milk and bacon. Yum. Life rocks.


I'm teaching myself Italian (conversationally, using CDs borrowed from a neighbor) and finding it pretty easy. I've always wanted to learn more languages; the whole grad school language requirement thing is just the incentive I need to start picking them up! Frankly, the real list starts with refreshing my Spanish and then learning French, followed by Italian (and then Latin if I'm not dead yet), but I figure there's no harm in learning some conversational Italian even if I can't actually spell most of the words. Apparently I remember more Spanish than I thought -- sometimes when asked how to say a basic phrase in Italian, I can only remember it in Spanish! In my defense, the languages are remarkably similar. If Italian is spoken slowly enough, I can understand two out of three words.


While I'm studying abroad, I will be keeping up with this journal, though it's quite possible I'm (finally) going to make it friends-only. I'm also going to be keeping a public blog that will consist pretty much of condensed and edited LJ posts. I'll still post randomness and rants and hopes and fears on here...but the study abroad blog will be kept free of anything I wouldn't want to share with my distant relatives, parents, and former schoolteachers. Still, if you're itching for someone else to follow on tumblr, my journal is When In London.


I got my first check in the mail from DemiDec today! Yes, guys, they're legit, and I'm $700 richer -- and that's only the first of four checks that I'm due. Some of them may be for even larger installments (I confess I don't know exactly). Also, aside from making requested revisions on the three projects that haven't been completed yet (which takes little to no time compared to actually producing the content to begin with), I'm no longer working. This gives me ample and abundant free time. I hadn't realized how much I missed that. I'm looking forward to getting in some beach time, some reading time, some writing time, and some general time to relax.


Aug. 20th, 2009 09:57 pm
readingredhead: (Milo)
I'll be back up in my second hometown from tomorrow through Tuesday, hanging out with friends and getting my last glimpse of the Bay Area for just under a year. Wow, that's a depressing thought. But you know what's not depressing? I definitely just got my visa in the mail today...for LONDON! It's pretty awesome, they put this special stamp thingy in your passport, and it takes up an entire page.

My awesome Katherine friend from Indiana/St. Louis (depending on the season) just left today, and was not here long enough, but we still managed to cause some serious fictional damage. I don't know about you, but I fight monsters in the wastes.

Anywho...the real point of this was supposed to be that I'm not taking my laptop with me to Berkeley (mostly because it will keep me from reading George R. R. Martin's A Clash of Kings -- yes, so sue me, I'm hooked!) and won't be online until I get back Tuesday night. From there, everything starts happening too too fast -- the packing, the unpacking, the re-packing, the emotional moments, the arguments over why I can't possibly fit two pairs of rainboots into my suitcase...and then before I know it, I'll be gone.

*shakes head*

BUT ANYWAY. Now, to sleep. I have an early morning tomorrow...
readingredhead: (Default)
I feel like I am simultaneously under- and over-prepared for basically every one of my finals. I am in a classroom in Wheeler and for no apparent reason decided to hook up my laptop to the AV system. Well. Mostly so I could use the speakers to listen to Pride and Prejudice music. I turned in my kickass Milton paper that makes my life complete, I have my hardest final tomorrow followed by my family coming up for my birthday on Sunday and then two much less difficult finals on Tuesday. I have been reading literary criticism of Milton for fun (and it is fun). I really want to go to Cheese Board on Saturday (oh shit that's tomorrow) because I will miss it dreadfully when I am gone and the pizza looks great.

Really, I want to run outside and cartwheel through the grass in the sun and not worry about anything -- and quote Milton at people for shits and giggles, and maybe some Romantic poets too, since they're all stuck in my head at the moment. And beyond that, I just want to sit for a full day and do nothing but read Turn Coat (the new Jim Butcher book, which my mother bought me for my b-day) and Good Omens (because I have yet to read it, and this is unacceptable) and this Irish play that one of my friends gave me and that I need to get back to him by Tuesday.

Summer will be easily as crazy as school, but in different ways -- and although I'll miss Berkeley like no other, it won't be terrible to be home. At least, for the first two weeks.

Right now I might just need to do something crazy.
readingredhead: (Light)
I want to go to Berkeley for grad school. Not just because in the new US News & World Report rankings they are the best English grad school in the country. Not just because, according to the same rankings, they are the 2nd best in the nation for 17th-20th century British literature, my general area of concentration. But because I love Berkeley. I love walking down Bancroft in the morning and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge arise out of a misty bay, the sunlight hitting it just right. I love the silence of Doe Library right before finals. I love the faux-Greco-Roman facade of Wheeler Hall, all columns and flourishes and pristine whiteness. I love the scattered coffee shops, the late winter rains, the late summer sunshine, the way that on a good day just walking onto campus makes me feel like part of something bigger, better, and more beautiful than any one person could be.

But I'm afraid. Because the last time I wanted something this much, I didn't get it. And although I'm glad I didn't, I can't bring myself to imagine that I'd be glad not getting this. This is not like Stanford. This is something that I've lived long enough to know that I want. And people think I'm silly for thinking about this so early but I'm just trying to do everything I can to get from where I am to where I want to be.
readingredhead: (Default)
This is a short and mildly procrastinatory post. But I almost wish I were staying in the Bay Area over the summer, because there are so many friends here, or staying near here, that I want to see before I leave for London! (I have officially bought plane tickets -- I leave the country September 17th, meaning I have a loooong summer -- not complaining!) Specifically, Richard will be in Davis for (most of) the summer, Katie will be spending most of June and July in Uganda (!) before coming back to Berkeley for RA training in mid-August, and the idea of not seeing all of my beautiful Berkeley friends has already started me pining for their presence.

Thus, I propose a solution: ROAD TRIP! Not like I have a car, or much spending money, or parental permission, or anything. In fact, I may emphatically not have most of those. But wouldn't it be great to spend a couple of days in a car with friends driving to NorCal and back again?

Maybe I just love road trips.
readingredhead: (Default)
I am waiting and ready for it to really be spring, instead of just lulling me into skirts and tank tops and sandals with the sunny day and blossoming cherry-trees outside my window before reminding me with a gust of cold air that I can't say goodbye to sweaters quite yet. I want the feeling of liveliness that comes with the spring--the sunburns I'll undoubtedly fend off, the late nights where it doesn't get dark and the early mornings where the sun on the dew in the grass makes it sparkle. The clear skies and the ocean back home, the sticky heat of Italian cobblestoned streets and the mischievousness of a London summer shower, the feel of rocks stuck between my feet and my sandals--this is what I miss, what I want. To stop wearing jeans and start wearing board shorts, to pack away all the sweaters and umbrellas for next year, to study outside in the sunshine.

(I don't know why I am so excited by the beginning of each new season in its turn, but I'm glad to feel this way, and so I won't complain, except to say that it should go ahead and get warm already!)
readingredhead: (Default)
So I moved in yesterday and my parents left this morning. Rebecca is moving in tomorrow sometime. Our suite is HUGE. Between the two of us, we have a bedroom, bathroom, common room, kitchen (sans stove and dishwasher but with a good sink), and walk-in hall closet. There will be pictures later.

Because the residence halls are paranoid, you have to get your computer certified before you can connect to the res hall network, so I don't have internet in my room yet and might not for a while. I'm writing this from a cafe right across the street from Sproul Plaza.

Longer post later with actual life details, pictures, and mailing address!


readingredhead: (Default)

March 2013

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