13 January, 2009

Second Day of Classes

So I didn't get a chance to update in the past few days because I've been excruciatingly busy. Sunday was orientation; I met a lot of nice people both there and at the pizza party the night before. And yesterday was my first day of class. So I guess I should start with the pizza party.

There wasn't actually much pizza. Or rather, there was, but I did not benefit from it. The slices were like a quarter the size of a regular slice, and covered in big pieces of cheese and tomato. Maybe it's the New Yorker in me but I require more artistry in my Italian cuisine. An attempt to blend the sauce and cheese so that it turns a healthy shade of orange would be appreciated. The party was in the Loft Bar in Teviot Row House, which is the student union on campus (on FB I have a picture of it that makes it look a bit like Hogwarts), and my dad apparently sat downstairs in the Library Bar (there's like four bars in the building) for an hour. Then we walked back to the hotel, and I made myself pasta.

In the morning, my dad and I took a bus to the city centre (well, no, we went a little past it and wound up down South Bridge, so like three blocks past my flat) and then, after I'd dropped my stuff off, I walked him back to the main road where he caught a cab immediately and said goodbye. Then I went to orientation at Appleton Tower, which was five hours long and included a tour of campus and being talked at for a long time. I did get a little bit of lunch, though, so it was all right. When I got back to the flat that night I was really melancholy but I amused myself by staying up and rewriting what I'm hoping is going to be the definitive prologue for 'Fortunate Son.' And yes, I know it's a terrible joke but I think it works on three levels: we're talking about Jack, who (well, until he died) always considered himself fortunate for having met someone to come home to, Gabe, who is the only Donovan son and has always, until he decides to go away, been lucky in life, and Ben, who has been clearly favored by his socioeconomic status. So I'm okay with the title.

My flatmates are all really, really nice. Sarah and Aoife (I hope I spelled that right, it's pronounced like 'Eva' but with an f sound instead of a v sound) are Scottish, and Sam and Tasha are American. I promised them I would start baking soon, although I left my krumkake iron at home so it'll probably just be cookies or hamantaschen.

Yesterday morning I had this all planned out to wake up early but wound up waking up at ten thirty, ran to the registry, got my matric card (my picture's hideous but better than my learner's permit) and then went to class. My first class, Scottish Literature, was okay--I'm not really ecstatic about it yet but as I'm in a UNESCO Literature World Heritage City I think I'll have ample opportunity to get enthusiastic. After that, I went and got a little bit of lunch (a packet of potato chips, an apple and an orange) and then went to my history tutorial, where I surprised myself in how much actual Scottish history I've gleaned from reading historical fiction like Margaret George's 'Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles' and the Outlander series my Uncle Chris got me for Christmas. Outside the seminar room on Buccleuch Place was this wooden stand selling food, and, honest to God, the side of the thing had 'Torchwood Industries' painted on it. I took two pictures to prove that I'm not mad. I'll post them later, but the kicker is that underneath it it said 'time travel alien technology'. I really almost had a heart attack.

My third class of the day proved to be the most interesting for me if only because it's an Ancient Drama class and therefore tied in to what I want to do with my life. I've always thought that writing in some form would be the best way for me to do some good in this world, if only by entertaining people, but I think it's fascinating that to the Greeks theatre was entirely non-secular. It truly was a religious occupation; they were making tribute to the gods. And while I'm not going to start forcing my actors to chant the V'ahavta onstage I feel that there's something to be said there for the importance of theatre and its influence on people. We get the opportunity to connect with an audience on a scale that person-to-person communication doesn't really cover. And I feel that's really encouraging--it reminds me of that line from Henry V: 'O, for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention! A kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene!' The world as theatre, and vice versa.

I have three hours to go before classes so I think I'm going to go get some food shopping and library-going done. It gets dark so early here, like four o'clock, so that by the time I'm out of class at 5 I don't want to be walking home laden with eight million bags of groceries. I'll post pictures and things once I get my Internet genuinely set up.

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