(photo stolen as usual)

This is a scene from last weekend. Scenic, huh? It's interesting how the most stressful of events can appear so calm in photographs.

Last Saturday my crew coach decided it would be a good idea to journey down the mountain (away from our sadly frozen Lake Dimmick) in order to have an all day rowing session. The lake pictured is "Tim's Ford", a rather picturesque lake in the town of Winchester, TN. The location seemed ideal at first: close, large, not frozen. However, it soon became obvious that few crew teams have ever rowed here before. Take a closer look at the dock. Now look at the boat. Can you see the problem yet?

How about now?

Once we (amazingly) maneuvered the 90 degree angle of the dock, we discovered a 2nd problem. Do you see those absolutely pointless spikes on the dock?? In order to avoid them you must lean perilously over the edge of the dock with your hands outstretched, and then lower the boat carefully to the water (the dock was about 2 times higher than usual as well). Honestly, I thought we were going to impale the boat...or just outright drop it. If I haven't mentioned it before, that boat is !@#$ing heavy. In reality each person probably has about 25-30 lbs of weight to carry, but it's a very large, very unwieldy, very expensive 25-30 pounds. And it's over your head most of the time.

I don't even row in that boat. I just helped carry it out of the goodness of my heart...and a general mistrust of freshmen.

Oh, there was also a small crowd of boaters standing on the bank watching our little misadventure.

I'm also starting to become germophobic. Every time someone sitting next to me starts coughing or sniffling I want to push them away (but without touching them), and then go take a shower. Usually I just settle for trying not to breathe in their general direction and scooting as far away as possible. I've had a very tenacious cold for the last 1.5-2 weeks that I was FINALLY starting to get over. However, it seems that I, being the trend setter that I am, was one of the first to get sick, and now the rest of the school is starting to catch up. I'm terrified that I'm going to get over my cold, and immediately catch a new one. These fears are in no way unwarranted either! The day before yesterday I had finally gotten to the point where I only needed to blow my nose once in the morning, and once at night (at first I could go about 20 minutes), and I overall felt perfectly alert. Then, starting sometime yesterday afternoon, my throat became incredibly sore and I started getting a headache. It was bad enough that I vowed if I didn't wake up feeling absolutely perfect, then I was just going to roll over and go back to bed.

This is a lame note to end this on, but people have come home now and I've lost the will to write.

Watch this:

As most of you know, my 22nd birthday was last Friday. As fun as a trip to waffle house would have been, my suitemates and I decided that an escape from the mountain was in order. It turns out that 3 of the 4 of us have January birthdays....and the 4th's conception date was in January (which I'm sure is more information than any of us ever wanted to know). To celebrate this most hallowed of months we got tickets to a mystery theater(I mistakenly called it a musical theater in my last entry) in Chattanooga that included dinner and certain birthday embarrassment..most likely in the form of singing. Everything was great -- the timing worked, the show was supposed to be good, and we were all excited.

Then, on the morning of January 29th (my birthday), it began to snow. And snow. And rain. And sleet. And rain some more. And snow a little. And then rain some more..............and then freeze. The end result looked something like this:

I can't take any credit for these photos. I stole them all from facebook because I am a loser and didn't take any pictures. It's a good thing that I have artistic friends!

Anyway, needless to say, we didn't make it to Chattanooga on Friday. The last 22 years have been great, and I really didn't fancy dying on my birthday. Especially not for a mystery theater.

In reality the roads were probably fine, but you never know about these southern drivers (dear all who are from the south who read this: Don't hate me. I've just lived around snow a lot and I don't trust y'all). The police dispatcher would also send us e-mails like this every few hours:


That is a direct quote. The university is so small that the police have nothing to do and therefore mostly issue parking tickets and alert us to weather conditions. They also really really like capital letters.

In lieu of watching the mystery theater, we watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in the room and ate my massive birthday cupcake/cake (my suitemate recently acquired a cake mold that is the shape of a large cupcake). Since the movie is a million hours long, that took up the better part of the evening.

Then I decided to check my e-mail. In the middle of my frenzied quest to purge my inbox of police weather updates and facebook notifications I spotted something intriguing: an e-mail simply entitled "U.S. Fulbright Program". I was a little hesitant to open it, since I was pretty sure it was an e-mail letting me know if I had made it to the semi-finals of the Fulbright ETA selection process. I would have really hated to get bad news on my birthday. Luckily, it was all good news! Whether it was birthday magic, a good resume, or a combination of both...I MADE IT!! The way it works is that 30-40 people make it to the semi-finals, and 20 receive the assistantship. Now all I have to do is wait anywhere from February to May to find out if I will get an assistanship (I really hope that I do. I am not in the mood to think up an alternative life plan for this upcoming year).

Monday (yesterday) I had my Russian interview. I mentioned last time that is was supposed to be on Saturday...however, it seems that they had some scheduling conflicts, so they moved it to Monday. Overall it went pretty well; I understood all of the questions and answered most of them. I also found out that the interviewer's son plays the French horn. I'm hoping that this gets me some brownie points, since the French horn world is a small and close-knit one. There was really only one problem: the call was from Moscow, and it seems that they got the time zone mixed up. I was expecting a call at 8:20 am, and as such I dutifully set my alarm for 7:45 so that I could make sure that I was up and coherent by the time that I had to have my interview. However, promptly at 7:20 am my phone rang. I jolted awake, caught the phone on the 2nd ring, and let the adrenaline rush carry me through the next 15 minutes. I was actually quite impressed with myself -- I went from deep sleep to speaking Russian in about 5 seconds, and I don't think that the interviewer noticed.

In true senior-year fashion, I've decided to extend my slackerly ways and make 1 of my 3.5 classes pass/fail. I do have some sound logic behind this though! Right now my GPA is hovering at about a 3.7. I'm pretty confident in my other 2.5 classes, but the 3rd is a new subject for me -- "The Art of Diplomacy". Usually in subjects outside of my major I work really hard, but still end up with a B or an A-. I did some math, and I determined that the risks of dragging my GPA down with a B far outweigh the benefits of getting an A. Grades are a competitive business you know....you've got to play the game right. Additionally, this means less stress for me, and I do so hate stress.

Well, it's quite late and I have class semi-early tomorrow, so I should go to bed. I think I've covered everything of recent importance.

On a final note, here's a quote from the blog "Sleep Talkin' Man" (if you can't guess from the title, it's a blog that the wife of a chronic sleep-talker keeps)...I feel like this all the time:
"So many little people. Pet them on the head. pet pet pet pet pet...."

as well as:
"No, not the cats. Don't trust them. Their eyes. Their eyes. They know too much."

About this blog

Good news: no more required disclaimer!
Bad news: I'm really lazy about posting when I'm not in Russia