Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Best. Spring break. Ever.

It's Tuesday morning, and here I am, reminiscing about my wonderful spring break rather than doing the mountain of work I have due in the next few days. Along with napping, this seems to be my activity of choice lately- I always have such a hard time readjusting to life after Texas! As one friend put it on Facebook, "Work? Pffft... where are my chips and salsa?"
Of course, it hasn't all been chips and salsa since I last wrote. For one thing, I accepted a summer internship! It seems best not to tell you which one, since confidentiality eventually comes into almost anything legal, and I don't want to be kept mum all summer by something I disclosed now. I'll just say that I'm very relieved to have chosen and very excited about my prospects for summer- the work seems both interesting and important.

I also spent a chunk of spring break poring over my application to the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB), our big student-run clinic for people who can't afford needed legal services. Alumni of the group include such rock stars as Michelle Obama, Supreme Court Justice Brennan, and Governor Deval Patrick, so I think it would be very exciting to join. But I'll also apply for the Law Review in May (you can't do both) and see where I come out.

Finally, our moot court competition is really heating up: my opponents' briefs were due this morning and (to mimic the way real court documents are filed) our side's response is due next Monday. My partner and I spent a lot of time tweaking our draft over break, trying to slim the page number down to the limit, but we're still about a quarter-page over and really hope our opponents leave out some argument so we can do the same! I'll find out when I pick up a copy in just a few hours- wish us luck.

All this activity is such a change from spring break, which I mostly spent hanging out with mom, catching up with friends and enjoying my wonderful baby sister. Don't worry- I remembered to take plenty of video and wouldn't dare hold out on you!

Perfect, I know! I already can't wait to be back there. But for now, it's back to the daily grind. At least I have my dreams of summer, my birthday this Friday night, and the ice cream at this afternoon's Law Review info session to get me through.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A shot in the arm

Well, I've been intending to follow that last, very sad post with a happier one almost since the moment I wrote it. I apologize for taking so long to get around to it! Even now, I only have about 15 minutes before class. But I wanted to let you all know that I'm feeling much better.
One reason is that my lovely friend Anush, whom I mentioned a few posts back when she had just been admitted to HLS, was in town the past few days for Admitted Students Weekend. She was a delightful houseguest, and Russell and I had a grand time convincing her to come here (mostly by showing her our favorite places to eat and shop- Harvard itself took care of the rest!) 

Better yet, seeing HLS through Anush's eyes for a few days put me through a kind of law school renaissance. Her enjoyment of my Leadership in the Public Sector class, which she visited Monday, made me feel newly lucky to be in such a fun, engaging course. And her nervous questions about the Socratic method reminded me what a rush it was to speak up in class or get an answer right for the first time. Remembering that has made these past few days almost as fun as my first week here.

This feeling couldn't have come at a better time, because classes have gone on just a little too long without a break, and everyone here is beginning to burn out. I remember thinking early last week, "I am never going to make it to spring break if I'm this checked-out already!" Yet here I am, just three days away from a nonstop flight to Austin, and El Paso after that. 

I'll have plenty of work to bring with me, of course. (Would this be Harvard if I didn't?) But the freedom to schedule it around plenty of sleep, warm weather, Alamo Drafthouse trips, tex-mex, and quality time with my mom, dad, and baby sister sounds downright miraculous right about now. 

Until then, the afterglow of a wonderful visit from a friend ought to carry me through. The tulips blooming in my neighbor's flower bed aren't bad either- perhaps spring is finally coming to Boston, and by the time I return from break, I'll be able to put the winter coats away! 

There's a cheery thought.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good dog

I've been so reluctant to make this post, because the news I have to share is very sad. It also isn't Harvard-related in the slightest, but I thought you might want to know anyway.
Monday morning, our amazing dog Tucker passed away when my mom made the brave and compassionate choice to put an end to her losing battle with lung cancer. For the twelve years Tucker was with us, she was probably the funniest, most caring, most courageous member of our family and the best dog any of us ever knew. But her difficulty breathing had become too dangerous and uncomfortable, and it was time to say goodbye.

I feel like it's the end of an era, like life won't be quite the same without this great animal. Those of you who have lost pets probably understand. But so far it's been easier than I expected to focus on the gratitude I feel for ever having her in the first place- I know not everyone is so lucky. If you are, give your good dog an extra big hug for me today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snowed under

Good god, has there been a lot of snow in my life lately!
First off, if you've seen any national weather forecasts lately, you might have noticed something very un-March-like going on all over the East Coast. I just thought I'd reassure you that Russell and I have stayed perfectly safe and warm so far, and we aren't snowed in or anything- he did go into work yesterday, and I went to school. But we did get over a foot of snowfall between Sunday and Monday night- more than I've ever seen come down at once.

I wish I had taken some pictures yesterday, when it was still coming down so fast there was no point in plowing the roads or sidewalks. It's hard to convey how striking that looks. Today the roads are all cleared, and things seem much more normal (or what would have been normal in December or January.) Only once, on the way home from school today, did I look around in amazement thinking this all fell in one day. Whoever said "in like a lion, out like a lamb" wasn't kidding. But maybe "in like a Siberian tiger" would have been more accurate.

Besides going to school these past two days, I've also had two job interviews. After the weather advisories started going out Sunday night, I'd been uncertain the first one would happen. I wasn't looking forward to the trek into downtown Boston, and I thought my interviewer might feel the same way and call to cancel. She did call, but actually to say that we live in the same neighborhood in Cambridge, and would I like to meet in a café about three blocks down my street? I said of course, and the interview turned out fun and low-pressure. I really liked her, and I think I gave some good answers to her questions, so I may have a good shot at the job.

I had even more success this morning, when I did finally head downtown for a second interview at Mass Law Reform. I liked the attorney I met, and the project she's undertaking sounds like a fascinating way to spend my summer. Best of all, I left the office with a JOB OFFER! I took a deep breath and said I would probably be able to let her know by the end of the week.

Lovely readers, I could not be more grateful for this good news in the middle of such a crazy time. It's hard not to think of the impossible decision ahead if I get more than one job offer. But I'm trying to focus on the relief factor: summer is taken care of! I can worry about other things! And boy, do I have a lot of other things to worry about.

For one thing, I'm designing the t-shirt for the Public Interest Auction, an annual bash HLS puts together to celebrate and fund students' unpaid summer service work. The theme is "Bright Lights, Bid City," so I'm trying to make an "I [heart] PIA" or "I [heart] Public Interest" shirt that looks like the New York ones. Meanwhile, a draft of our Legal Research & Writing brief is due Saturday, and I'm fighting to get my share done by tomorrow night so my partner and I can piece the thing together in time. I've also got trainings, meetings and phone calls for TAP sprinkled all throughout this week, and I'm dangerously close to falling behind in my regular course readings.

Of course, a lot of this is because I spent Saturday in New Hampshire on an AMAZING SKI TRIP with Russell! And you thought I'd forget to tell you about it. Well, it was wonderful, mostly because Russell was a real champ about all the spills and chills of learning to ski. His learning curve was so impressive: we were off the bunny slopes and on the ski lift within an hour, and he'd quit falling almost entirely by day's end. Luckily, this particular resort had 4 different green (beginner) runs coming off a single chair lift, creating lots of variety even for first-timers.

Basically, I can't wait to take him out again. And I can think of a few of you readers who probably feel the same way now! Until then, I hope a few pictures will suffice:

Russell came back pretty bruised, and I still have my fair share of muscle aches to remind me of how hard we played. Not to mention that, probably due to all the exertion, my poor immune system finally lost its battle with Russell's cold and I was down for the count most of Sunday. Not convenient when the trip already put me so far behind in schoolwork! But I think it was well worth it- if only to remind us that snow isn't always such a bad thing. (: