Friday, September 25, 2009

Brilliant or stupid

I write to you, ladies and gentlemen, from the calm before the storm.
Starting tomorrow morning, Russell and I are doing something crazy, something we're bound to regret, although hopefully just for a few days:

We're moving.

I know, right?

Well, the story is, for several weeks the two-bedroom apartment across the hall from our one-bedroom has been sitting vacant. We've been peering in, admiring the size, and picturing our stuff in it for a while, but until recently we assumed it belonged to some new tenant who just hadn't arrived yet.

But then I got the idea to look up our building on Craigslist, and what do you know? The place was still listed, and for cheap! Russell and I had always agreed to find a bigger place my third year, when I hopefully wouldn't be paying tuition because of the Public Service Initiative. But we knew we might never see a price like this again, and the landlords seemed to be having a hard time moving the place. So we agreed to make them an even lower offer and see what happened.

And they met us halfway! They said we'd have to move THIS WEEKEND, which we knew was totally crazy, but they also offered a price neither I nor any classmates I've asked have ever seen on a two-bedroom apartment in Cambridge, ever.

So we're gathering some friends, who are surprisingly easy to sway with promises of pizza and beer, and moving everything we own across the hall this weekend.

It's either incredibly stupid or incredibly brilliant... or probably both, in that order. Either way, wish me luck - and I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fleeting perfection

My second anniversary with Russell is today, but we celebrated over the weekend with possibly the most flawless 24-hour period of my life.
We had been throwing around ideas for fun ways to celebrate, but didn't settle on anything until last Thursday, when we decided to book a hotel room and escape our tiny cat-dominated apartment for a night of room service, pay-per-view, and general luxury. Short of travel or some large piece of furniture (both a joke to anyone who's seen our home or my schedule), this might be the most expensive thing we could have chosen. But it couldn't possibly have been more worthwhile.

With fall in full and gorgeous swing here in Cambridge, even the walk to our chosen hotel - the lovely Sheraton Commander across Cambridge Common from my school - was too picturesque to be true. The people in sweaters playing soccer and frisbee, the handful of trees changing color too early, even the spectacular view from what turned out to be our top-floor room all seemed to be celebrating our two years of adorable couplehood.

So we ate an extravagant meal in our pajamas, spread out on the king-sized white comforter while the sunset blazed outside. We rented "Caprica," the feature-length prequel to our beloved Battlestar Galactica, then caught the last three quarters of the Texas football game with more enthusiasm than we could never have mustered otherwise. And slept nearly 10 hours without one interruption from Omar. And took long showers in a bathroom about twice the size, with about five times the water pressure, of our own. We were as sad to leave in the morning as if we'd stayed for six weeks.

After a quick, free breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we headed home to drop off our things and check on the cat. But the weather was so gorgeous we headed straight back out for frozen yogurt and a chess lesson in Harvard Yard. I humored Russell as long as I could, but really have no patience for chess. So we moved on to window shopping in the Square until a matinee showing of the glorious new Star Trek at the Brattle Theater, which screens "recent raves" a few months after they leave other cinemas.

We had been excited about Star Trek (you'd have to be, to see something a third time) but we honestly forgot just how much we both loved it. From the moment that booming, exuberant music of the opening scene started up, we enjoyed it as much as the very first time. It was like a metaphor for the entire weekend... barf, I know.

Anyhow, after so much activity, I wrapped up Sunday as quietly as possible: a long study date with Anush, fresh corn from the farmer's market for dinner, and an extra-dramatic Mad Men episode I spent curled up with Omar. It was the perfect way to wind down from the last long break before the real bulk of my semester.

Still, I expect it's too much to ask for an easy transition from this fleeting perfection into the daily grind of school. If I don't get too swamped, I'll write again soon and let you know how it goes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

At it again

This gate on the undergraduate campus is a regular source of mushy, inspirational Harvard moments for me. With the school year finally starting and life kicking into full, brutal, can't-believe-I-forgot-how-hard-this-is gear, I find myself wishing education were always as dignified as these words!

I'd assumed my adjustment to school would be smoother the second year, but it hasn't exactly. Some things, like my speed getting through reading assignments, didn't come right back like I expected. Other things I figured would come later on the calendar, like the search for my next summer internship, have instead been pushed straight into these first few weeks.

So my 2L year so far has been insane! One appointment, meeting, errand, class, or study session after another, then another, then another. For a while I even attended two different Evidence courses because of some scheduling uncertainties that also prevented me from sharing my schedule with you until now. But those have been resolved (in a decision I might occasionally regret, an entertaining professor won out over having Fridays off) so here it finally is:

9-12 Sex Equality with Catharine MacKinnon

9-12 Sex Equality with MacKinnon
7-10 p.m. Community Action for Social and Economic Rights with Lucie White

10:20-12 Sex Equality with MacKinnon

9:50-11:20 a.m. Evidence with Alex Whiting
5-7 p.m. The Art of Social Change: Education, Child Welfare, and Juvenile Justice with Elizabeth Bartholet

9:50-11:20 a.m. Evidence with Whiting

It's downright gentle compared with last year, but with everything else added, there's nearly as much to stress and overwhelm me this time around. And if I weren't careful, there would be a lot less excitement to counterbalance all that. Luckily, there's a certain excitement in having a friend in her first year - it's part commiseration, part vicarious glee over famous professors and first cold-calls, and part gratitude I'm not in her place any longer!

So I'm sorry for all I've left out of this post, from career advising and all my incredible professors, to video chats with Mom and my incredible, TALKING baby sister, to our lovely Labor Day in the grass on campus and the gorgeous cool weather we're having. But I'm so insanely busy, and there's only more to come: new TAP cases, new duties at my journal, the public interest career fair I'm set to attend...

Maybe I'll manage to post it all during my visit to Austin next week? Because I already CANNOT WAIT for the free time. Until then, dear readers, take care. I hope all is well with you!