Tuesday, August 31, 2010

chillin in pittsburgh

i am so tired...but tired as one who's just done a bunch of yoga and eaten granola and run a couple of miles and then enjoyed a healthy apple. in short: i mean that though i am exhausted, i am exhausted with time well spent in my studies, and my brain is eating up the good, healthy challenges of prose that force it to stretch itself to build new synapses and...

well that's all a bit lofty, isn't it? i must check that or else i'll be labeled a typical graduate student. still, i can safely say i am quite happy to be just where i am, and only sigh that this program is just a year. watch–i'm sure i'll change my tune once the first huge paper is due.

on the other hand…i'm getting quite excited about choosing my research paper topic for film adaptations. here are the choices i'm debating between:
  • jane austen (duh, and i'm afraid everyone will just say this is typical)
  • star wars (it'll be like going back to a first love)
  • dr. who (tom baker years, anyone?)
  • the thursday next series by jasper fforde (all about adaptation)
  • the women (nobody can ever again be norma shearer)

so that's my internal struggle right now. not a bad life, is it? i know, i'm very lucky right now, and i know it. thank you thank you thank you Life!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

back to school

SO excited for my first day of classes tomorrow! i feel almost like i'm going into kindergarten, though, instead of a graduate program, such is my level of excitement. i even have my lunch box all ready, although i won't really be needing it until tuesday, when i have a morning class. but still, it is primed for lunch-packing.

i'm most excited about my green dinosaur-themed sandwich and soup containers (wonderfully named a "feed bowl" on the packaging, as if the contents inside are actually to be consumed in a more animalistic style than one usually meets with in civilized society). i expect i'll get quite the bit of attention from carting those around carnegie mellon!

oh, yes. i am so ready.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

please won't you be my neighbor?

well, i'm sold on pittsburgh. despite arriving here and immediately falling deathly ill to a still unnamed stomach virus, i absolutely love living here. and especially living in squirrel hill.

squirrel hill is in eastern pittsburgh, just up the hill from carnegie mellon, and is full of leafy streets and beautiful nineteenth-century brick houses and garden apartments, like the one i live in. down the street from me is an intersection with the carnegie library (where i presently sit typing on my laptop), a rite aid, an old movie theatre, grocery store, lots of shops and restaurants, and the grandest pnc bank i have quite seen (i feel like i should have a hat and gloves to go in there).

the other neighborhoods i am slowly getting to know as i get lost in the city traveling to them: east liberty, where my cousin has some friends, oakland, shady side, homestead...or homewood. something like that.

but squirrel hill is still my favorite. i'm still enjoying people-watching whenever i need to pop down the street, as the variety of people you see is somewhat greater than we had in gettysburg: tons of young people with eclectic fashion sense and heavy backpacks, who are clearly students; as part of the large jewish community here, dozens of families in (what i suppose is to be) more traditional modest clothing doing their shopping; bicyclists and people on mopeds of all sizes; and generally a wider sea of faces than i've seen in awhile. how funny to think that, for all that i've traveled, and for all of the places i've lived, this is probably the most diverse, eclectic place i've lived since living in stamford. brewster, ny and greenwich, ct certainly never came close, for opposite reasons.

i guess it's not that surprising–unless you live in a city, we are, for the most part, creatures of habit who are rarely exposed to anything outside of the narrow frame of reference which we know. and pittsburgh is not, perhaps, as diverse as many other places in the world. but i am loving it here.

did you know that mr. rogers lived in squirrel hill? i think that just about says everything you need to know.

Monday, August 2, 2010

guest books, language, and evidence of faeries

i'm back from my month of blissful stillness on the mountain. it was so good for my soul to be still. not still physically, mind you; i mean, still in my heart and in my head. i ran, swam, hiked, and played with small children and many dogs, so i exerted no small amount of energy; but for one month i was able, for the most part, to push out thoughts of the past, thoughts of the future, and to live in the day to day of mt. riga.

it's so easy to do that on the mountain, when your days consist of easy conversation and books, and when your body naturally slips into sleepiness at sunset and wants to wake with the morning light.

how do i describe what it is to be up there with my family? i love to read the guest books at various families' camps with a real tender sympathy, because everyone tries to write what they feel without sounding clichéed ("lovely time up here...a little slice of heaven...our stay far too short...") but of course it's like trying to describe the light from a star: the real thing is far more brilliant.

language is funny; we pride ourselves on possessing words that run the gamut of describing everything we know of in the universe, and yet... as soon as we begin to put into words what we experience, it's already lost something of the original luster. does that make sense? sometimes, on very rare occasion, you'll say something to someone and it just clicks, but this happens rarely, i think. when it does, i'm always struck that what was said wasn't necessarily said using the fanciest, most erudite language; rather, it was just right.

like, when you glance into someone else's eyes and you have that momentary flash of seeing right into them–most people only let you see a moment of that before they close up again and the connection's gone. but it reminds me of being a little girl and standing in the twilight in my yard, and thinking again and again that, out of the corner of my eye, i've seen faeries.

it's not just for the classroom!