Monday, August 30, 2004

one week down, many more to go

so, I survived my first week of grad school last week. then I basically took the weekend off and did nothing for three days (I don't have class or anything on fridays so I have a 3-day weekend every weekend. don't worry, you wouldn't be jealous if you saw my homework assignments). today (monday) I taught the first of the five recitation sections that I am in charge of. I think it went pretty well. no major problems. it's also the first week of it, so it probably doesn't count. but, anyway, I am glad it went alright. I have four more on wednesday, and those will hopefully be just as easy. I'm really glad that I'm teaching recitation and not lab, because I've already taught lots of labs (at ucsd as an undergrad) and I want to do something different, to challenge myself. it might also help out if I decide to use these students as guinea pigs for my term project for my education research class. we'll see.

on another note, the reality of the summer (i.e. europe trip) being over is starting to set in. I am really sad that it is over. I know that I am also excited about grad school and all that stuff, but it is just hard to leave the best three weeks of my life behind. and to leave behind all of the amazing people I met while I was over there. I wish I lived closer to them or they lived closer to me or at least that it didn't cost $900 to fly to australia. that would help. so I honestly don't know what is going to happen. email is nice, but it's not the same as being with people. that much I know for sure. *sigh*

damnit. I hate being a hopeless romantic. it makes everything more difficult.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

first day of school

well, today I had my first day of grad school classes. in the morning I had advanced electricity and magnetism and in the afternoon, classical mechanics. the e&m teacher is new and russian, but luckily his accent isn't too bad. his handwriting, however, is another story. and because it's his first time teaching, he goes a bit too fast and doesn't explain everything very thoroughly. but today was just review of vector calculus, so it wasn't too hard to follow. the mechanics guy seems alright; a little boring, but that's probably just because it was all review today. although I did appreciate how he set up a framework to work in at the beginning; it was quite interesting. tomorrow I have my other class, on conceptual change in science students (through the education department) and another TA meeting. I start teaching next week, which should be exciting.

the best part however, is my schedule. mondays, i just teach one class at 2:40pm. tuesdays and thursdays I have a class at 9am and 1:30pm (and a colloquim at 4pm on thursday). wednesdays I teach from 7:30am to 1:30pm and then have a class from 4:30 to 7:30pm. so that's a long day. but, (drumroll please), I don't have anything at all on fridays, so that more than makes up for it I think. :)

I also had a pretty good weekend. friday night I went out to mill avenue (downtown tempe is just one street - but it is fairly cool) with a couple other grad students in my class. saturday night some of the second year grads had a party at their house because they had just finished their comprehensive tests and needed to unwind. it was fun and I got to meet a lot of other grad students, some who had lots of good advice about teachers and advisors and classes and stuff. it was good. sunday night we went out because it was someone's (one of the guys in our class)birthday. all in all, not a bad weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

an ultra-compact story of my europe trip in pictures

so, I was sort of bored, and getting sad about my trip being over (and missing people), so I thought I would post up some pictures here since it is taking me a while to do the full travelogue on my other site (don't worry, it will be finished in a couple weeks, I promise). So, here is a brief view of my trip through some of the pictures that I took (I have over 700 to choose from, so this is a really condensed view of everything).

the Eiffel Tower at sunset. aahhh.

a view of it the next morning, right before we took the stairs up to the second stage (we took an elevator to the very top from there). my advice: wait in line - don't walk up. it sucked.

the Notre Dame cathedral was really cool. especially since it started to rain as we got there. luckily it stopped when we came out. good timing, huh?

the view from my room where we stayed in the French countryside (no, i'm not kidding. this is what i saw when i woke up).

overlooking Monte Carlo (I only lost about $5 at the casino the night before - at least I didn't pay $6 for a coke like some other people did)

in front of the Colloseum. it was sooo hot that day. almost as hot as it is here in Arizona.

at the Trevi Fountain in Rome. yes, i threw all three coins in (one for good luck, one to ensure your return to rome, and one so that you'll fall in love).

on the Rialto Bridge, overlooking the grand canal of Venice (my new favorite city - tied with Paris).

having a good time in Venice. the guy on the right side sitting on the top of the bench is our tour manager, Jase.

where we went mountain bike riding in Austria. soo beautiful.

having some beer in Munich, Germany. the guy on the far left is James (miss you!).

most of our group up in the Swiss Alps. a snowball fight started soon after this picture was taken. :)

the amazing view from the "top of europe" - 11,300 ft - Jungfrau mountain

some random canal in Amsterdam

James and me. last night of the tour.

some of the boys (and Quinn) on the canal cruise.

Monday, August 16, 2004

grad school orientation

so today I started graduate school orientation and TA training. we started early in the morning and did stuff all day, so I'm pretty tired right now. but it's all good. I had a pretty good day. it started off with me biking to campus. it took only about 10 minutes which was really nice. I found the building I needed to go to fairly easily and checked in with lots of time to spare. the morning was spent in a general sort of orientation for all of the new TAs at Arizona State University. it wasn't too boring and I was hyped up on caffeine, so it was tolerable. then we had a small break and then some diversity training (which was pretty boring for me because it was just like all of the stuff I had to go through when I was training to be a resident advisor at ucsd). then I had time for some lunch and afterwards headed over to the physics building for my department orientation. I finally was able to meet the other 14 people that were also starting out as grad students. everyone I met was really friendly and I'm excited about everything coming up. there are a bunch of international students; a bunch of people from china and a couple other countries (someone is from puerto rico - of course he was boasting about the puerto rico basketball win yesterday in the olympics - and there is at least one other country represented as well, although I'm not sure which one). of the 15 of us, there are four women (including myself) which is statistically about average (it should be around 30% at this point) so that was encouraging as well. also, my initial advisor is a woman so that is good as well. I have my first meeting with her tomorrow to set up my class schedule and stuff like that. should be good. I also found out what class I will be TAing for this semester which is good. I will be teaching 5 recitation sections (like discussion sections, where we will do sample problems, review homework, and things like that) for an introductory physics class so that is cool (especially since the professor in charge of the class is in the physics education field - which is my area of emphasis - and it seems like the class already has some of the education reforms in place that I have been studying the last year and a half). I also saw where my office will be and am excited about that as well. it looks like it's going to be a good year.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

a disjointed post

ah, what a nice day. I slept in, then crazily finished unpacking and tidying up my apartment, because my aunt Cathy and my twin four year cousins were coming over. We all went to Target (I needed to go so badly since I have no car here). it was a fun little trip, and I got lots of things I needed, including a microwave! yay! now I can eat again. haha. (ok, no, I'm not really that bad I promise.) I also got some new notebooks and pencils for school (there's almost nothing better than new school supplies, hehe) and some other stuff for the apartment.

after that, we came back and went swimming in one of the pools at my apartment complex which was perfect. my cousins are just too cute for words. we all had lots of fun.

later on in the evening, I turned on the olympics (again) and talked to tom for about an hour on the phone (I miss you tom!). I talked to cogan for about an hour last night too, that was nice as well (ok, I sort of miss you too cogan!). it has definitely been a phone weekend.

and now I'm working on my website again. I finally got the pictures the right size so that they'll work on the website. so, now there are pictures (yay!) and three days worth of journaling.

we are having an awesome thunderstorm right now. that's one of the good things about Arizona in the summer: monsoon season!

tomorrow I start orientation. very exciting. I will update tomorrow evening probably with how that went.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

slowly updating

okay okay, so I know that I said I would have my travelogue up this week, but it is taking much longer than I thought to get all of it together. But, I have put up the first two days (although the first day is pretty boring). However, the pictures are being a little annoying and don't want to be seen for some reason. hmph. I will figure it out, don't worry, it just might take a little while.

in other news, my apartment looks like a real apartment now and not just a pile of boxes. yay for that! I survived my first arizona thunderstorm and dust storm yesterday so that is exciting as well. I have been exploring a little bit, mostly to the grocery store down the street. I have even used the bus system, but prefer biking around. hopefully tomorrow morning, weather permitting, I will venture over to campus to see how long it takes to bike over there. then I will probably spend the afternoon with my aunt Cathy and her twin four year old girls, Hannah and Chloe, who are just too cute for words.

Grad school orientation starts on Monday. I can't wait!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

welcome to the grand canyon state

hey everyone! i have successfully made it into my new apartment in arizona! this weekend was ridiculous, with the move and everything and i'd rather not go into how much it sucked. let's just say that i was supposed to move into my place on saturday but because my step-dad got sort-of lost on the way here, i couldn't move in until sunday. anyway, the good news is that i was able to hang out with my aunt, uncle and cousins on saturday night, but it would've been nice to be in my new place right away. oh well. i finally got internet and tv today, so that has been nice. yesterday was a little bit boring. i'm purposely making it take all week to unpack so that i don't end up on saturday with absolutely nothing to do. so it's slowly all getting done. i am definitely making progress each day.
it's really really hot here (i think it was like 109 yesterday) so that means that i don't go outside during the day and even when i went out to the grocery store at like 7pm the other day, it is still over 90. ew. i think tomorrow i will venture out on my bike (i don't have a car - sooo sad) and see how long it takes to get to campus, since i have my first meeting at 7:30am on monday and really shouldn't be late to orientation.
so, in other news, i also have a new cell phone. if you don't already have the number (from my email or something) let me know and i will give it to you.
it's weird to think that a week ago i was in europe. *sigh* i miss it (and certain people too).

Friday, August 06, 2004

back in the good 'ole US of A

well, today was probably the longest day of my life, both figuratively and literally. i woke up this morning at 9:30 and got ready to leave my hotel about an hour later, only then realizing that i forgot to change my alarm clock back to london time - meaning that i had gotten up an hour earlier than i wanted to. no wonder i was tired. so, with my extra hour, i went looking for james (but he had already left - sadness), watched some tv, drank some tea and ate some kind of breakfast. i had only 25 pence for the whole day (like about 50 cents) because i ran out of money and i needed the four pounds i had to get to the airport. so, i ate a smushed breakfast bar left over from the beginning of my trip and pretended that it tasted good. my flight was at 3pm, so i figured i would make it until then. i got to the airport around noon, in plenty of time for my flight, so i just chilled and worked on my journal (i was about two weeks behind). an hour before my flight was supposed to leave, i started to get nervous because they hadn't assigned us a gate yet and we were supposed to start boarding in like 15 minutes. at ten minutes to 3, i really started freaking out and began walking around the terminal looking confused. i finally asked someone official-looking what the deal was, and he said that my flight had been delayed (thanks for telling us!) and that i needed to talk to the virgin atlantic people. ok, fine, so i found their desk. they said that there was some kind of technical difficulties and that it was delayed until 6:30. ugh! but, at least, we got food vouchers (worth like almost $20) so i was able to get some food to eat since i was actually starving at that point. now, this was definitely crappy, but i wasn't upset because i am a very patient person and i understand that things like this happen. and i definitely didn't want to be on a plane that had some kind of technical problem. however, there was also a thunderstorm at the airport while i was waiting, so my feeling is that that had something to do with it as well. my suspicions were confirmed when at 6 we still didn't have our gate yet. so, someone sitting next to me in the terminal who was also on the same flight went to go check on the status and they told her that it was now delayed until 7pm. now, at no time did they make any announcements or anything. the flight board still said "flight vs08 1505 los angeles please wait". i had been staring at that same sign for 6 hours and it hadn't told me anything! argh! sooo, finally around 6:35 they assigned our gate and we all ran over to it, only to wait some more there. i think we finally boarded at like 7:15 and we were all anxious to go, but of course, we couldn't leave yet. we taxied a bit and stuff like that and didn't actually get into the air until 8:15pm!!! so, basically, i spent about 8 hours at heathrow airport today, only to be followed by a 10 and a half hour flight to los angeles. and then, the baggage claim took forever, they moved us to a different terminal, and then finally drove back to my house. it is now 2:20am and i think it's 10:20am (still on europe time - didn't get to sleep much on the plane). oh my, what a long day.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

back in london

hey guys! i'm back in london. :-( my tour is over, sadly. we got back a couple hours ago and started saying goodbye to people (actually we said goodbye to a couple people in amsterdam who weren't coming back here with us). then i took a long shower and searched for an internet cafe. finding none, i came back to the hotel and am using the one there (there's is kind of expensive so i was looking for something more reasonable). anyway, after this i am heading over to the london pub for one last night with the people from tour. most of us are leaving london tomorrow, so we are going to have one last party before we all say goodbye. it's going to be sad, since i will probably never see most of these people again (since almost all of them live in australia and the chances of me getting enough money and time off to visit sometime soon is not good - but we'll see - who knows?)
the end of the tour was really great. switzerland was beautiful, as i mentioned in my last post. after that, we headed up to the rhine valley in germany which was also very beautiful. we did some wine tasting (riesling grapes and ice wine) and then headed over to the netherlands. we saw how they make gouda cheese and wooden clogs and took a scenic bike ride through a small fishing village (saw a windmill!). after that we headed into amsterdam. amsterdam is a pretty cool city - they have lots of museums and everyone bikes everywhere. there are actually more bikes in the city than there are people. we took a cruise through the canals and visited anne frank's house and drank lots of heineken. all in all, it was fun. now, we are back to london and on to our real lives again (well, for some of us. other people are continuing traveling other places. lucky!). ok, so i'm signing off. this will be my last post from europe. i will talk to you all again when i'm back in the states thursday night!