june, 2003

Sun Jun 1 08:55:32 EDT 2003

Graduation in an hour. I'm in orange and yellow, as is only fitting. Hopefully it will stay that way if the rented black gowns don't bleed all over us in the forecasted rain!

Moving, this afternoon and tomorrow, via unknown floors on which to crash and some yet-unrealized ghost of a U-Haul, down to DC, to find an apartment, buy a futon, and begin my post-undergraduate life. I'm quite excited about the prospect ... in the meantime, though, it's a little daunting.

But we're all landing with our feet on the ground. It's been good to have people (family; Martin) in; to chill on the beach for the one afternoon that was sunny this week and get my hair cut, to just enjoy one final round of being at Swarthmore. I've done well by this place.

Wed Jun 4 13:19:14 EDT 2003

It doesn't feel like June, or particularly like I've graduated. But I'm sitting on Gabe and Joanne's couch, reading Wired, eating quiche Jo & I made day before yesterday out of the Vegetarian Epicure (time to start cooking again!), and am about to head down to DC with the 2 o'clock R3 and the 3 o'clock Greyhound. Cell-phoned, laundered, and packed, I've officially turned down Amsterdam (not that it was even an offer yet -- but it was damn enticing, and it was a hard choice) and accepted StreamSage. While I'm really happy about it, I wish (as I often have) that I could have my cake and eat it, too, being both in Amsterdam and DC, working both towards a PhD and on the crazy shit that's going on two and a half hours south.

But it appears that, even with a Swarthmore B.A. in hand, I'm still only one person, and therefor must choose. Ted (ling & thesis advisor) met my parents after commencement on Sunday, remarking that he never really expected me to do all I announced I would in his office the first day of freshman advising, but that I mostly had. I have my official degree -- with my name on it! and my two majors: Computer Science and Linguistics, official now.

Commencement was rainy, as predicted. I felt kind of cheated -- the entire senior week (with the exception of Friday, when Rebecca cut my hair on the Beach and Martin joined frisbee games) had been nasty and wet, unlike the senior week of two years ago, which was sunny, beer- and beach-filled, and generally gorgeous. Mine was wet and cold, and my stomach upset for a week straight -- I couldn't put anything into my body without it revolting against me. Nerves and stress, I hypothesized, and lo and behold, the evening of June 1st, like clockwork, it went away. Strange how my body has been manifesting these signs of stress this semester that I've otherwise taken so little conscious notice of.

It was good to have Martin here (as if that was a question). I see him all too infrequently. Good that I will have money, if not time off per se, soon ...

Put him on a bus Sunday afternoon, and packed for about 24 hours straight (not including sleeping). I'm now half in storage, and half on my back, turtle-like, to crash around friends' places in DC while beginning work tomorrow. Tomorrow! I'm excited, and half terrified ... more of the wholly new situation than of any one component thereof. But apparently I'm pretty chill about it, or else my stomach would have told me.

Mon Jun 9 17:56:38 EDT 2003

Working off a windoze box. Windows! I'll have them converted soon enough ...

Tweaking my surroundings. I'm sitting on two telephone books, with an old ergo keyboard plugged into a laptop, and an external mouse. My wrists just don't do the laptop-on-your-lap thing, and which is unfortunate, because that's what the Delafield House is about. I made cookies this afternoon, taking a break while the test bed was indexing, and partaking of the luxury of a kitchen in your office. I should say, "office" ... it's a house. I like this place a lot. Still getting my feet wet, but I like it.

Looking for an apartment in the meantime. Two-bedroom places that are both affordable and in a good area (by which I mean I want Georgetown or Dupont Circle / Adams Morgan), especially when my soon-to-be-roommate doesn't know her income (or if she has one), and can't until late August. But I'll find something, even if it's small. I want a gas stove! I want hardwood floors! The rest is kind of details.

Moved in with Alana into the studio she's subletting, and will be sharing with Cadelba and Emilie come July. All three unpaid internships! Its' good to see her again, and realize that while we now speak different languages (I computers; she politics; and we've both forgotten our French for German and Spanish respectively), we haven't changed enough to matter.

DC is not my ideal city, I'm finding. But I can't have a vibe on it yet -- only been here under a week. Five days. I was walking around the Museum of Natural History the other day, loathing all its visitors and their loud, obnoxious, American (and perhaps most offensive, often dead wrong) explanations to their children of dinosaur bones et cetera, and longing for Amsterdam (where my Mom just got lost in canal boats on the way to Cairo!) or Paris ... wishing to any higher power that I could get an espresso served in a ceramic demitasse! -- but then again, I came here for the job, not the city. I will have leisure down the road to follow my whims on location, perhaps ... just not yet.

But I have time again to read! I've ploughed my way guilt-free through Zodiac (Stephenson as usual can't do an ending to save his ass), and am on to The Russian Debutante's Handbook, which is fabulous already in the first 2 pages ("the fatty undertow of the avocado"). Time to read, even if I'm exhausted from getting up at 7 in the morning.

Sat Jun 14 17:19:45 EDT 2003

Tea appears to be a priority wherever I go. Not only am I still carrying the little tin of organic black Assam and my empty Altoids case of Lady Grey and stolen Sharples mint, but I ordered 120 bags of assorted teas -- a stash of Stash. Peach black, darjeeling, English breakfast et cetera to help caffeinate my exhausting 50-hour work week; chamomile, wild blackcurrant, mango et cetera for the herbal Alana, in whose subletted studio I'm crashing while ratcheting up the apartment hunt a notch or two. (Leads; frustrating without a clear idea of my roommate-to-be's means.)

And now I've sought out the tea haven of Georgetown -- Ching Ching CHA, at M & Wisconsin, a lofty skylit Chinese room serving me pu-erh with chrysanthemum and making me covet square plates, small infusers and teacups, and teakettles ŕ la fondue, with their own bases and butane (?) perpetual tealights. Weaning myself on almost exclusively black teas this past academic year, the pu-erh is strikingly flavorful, reminding me of what I knew of Japan in the fourteen days I spent there 4 or 5 years ago. It will be hard to leave here without 100g of these leaves, and a kitchen cabinet-ful of square ceramics ...

I'm playing House already, ogling flatware, measuring cups, teacups ... not that I haven't been for four years or so, but the looming prospect of My Own Place is feeding the urge. Self-sufficiency! I opened a bank account with my first check from StreamSage today. Turns out I've done the Real World before, just not an as extended a basis -- and from that, I know I need friends and something to do. And DC is rife with both. And, happily, rife with tea.

Fri Jun 27 15:57:48 EDT 2003

Except for my brief stints in Europe, Japan, Brazil, and in other places where various youth orchestras and choral groups have toured, and where I have ventured for the sheer pleasure of hearing foreign languages I pretend to understand and the superiour quality of their dairy and coffee, never have I had so much to write with so little time / means to write it in.

Which is not to say that anything momentous is taking place. Really, I'm flopping from house to house, suitcase to suitcase, and the days move on at a normal rate -- discreet and square, like the desktops on my fvwm config (just increased desktop size by two more -- enough to do at once that it needs to be all visually there, and that in a six-box-square totality).

Turns out life after college continues, in this very reassuring and normal way. I hadn't expected to be plunged into any kind of void, but I wasn't sure how much continuity I was going to get in the meantime -- especially given the uncertainty leading up to it, the number of situations I pictured myself it ... and then following the city decision, the number of apartments I looked at ... (for the futon deal -- because I need somewhere to sleep in my new place -- I wanted no more of that. I left work early on Tuesday, walked into the Z Furniture shop on P St., and left a few hundred lighter with an order for an 8-or-so-inch-thick, queen-sized, foam-cored, 10-year-warrantied futon, which is now in my lovely yellow sheets.)

It's nice to know, in short, that the Gregorian calendar continues beyond June 1st, 2003 -- the date to which I have been looking for the past four years. Literally no dates existed on my radar beyond that, though there were many before (sophomore paper; Martin's graduation; semester abroad; changing majors; thesis) and the most important one on it. My calendar is still pretty empty, but I'm filling its days. I have an apartment, and a new subletter (Taeny, a Korean grad student interning at Georgetown for the summer), and a new just about everything -- dining room table which I'm staining red; red wooden chairs and red cushions; a couch inherited from Joanne due to Gabe's new pool table; new bookshelf; new futon ... new co-workers and friends; new city. The list is kind of staggering -- but so's the continuity. Nice to know it can be there if you want it to be.

all this Šnori heikkinen, June 2003

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