I wanted to take a moment to mention my home-state of Vermont, which – as you’ve probably heard – is currently recovering from one of the most devastating floods in its history. Vermont was heavily flooded earlier this spring, to the point where a state-of-emergency was announced…and yet that turned out to be nothing compared to the destruction Irene caused recently. My family is in the northern part of the state and luckily only had a flooded basement, but friends of mine have lost their homes, property, and pets. One friend in particular had his mother’s store wash away: the life’s dream of a cancer survivor gone in minutes. Our historic bridges were destroyed and many small towns were isolated for days and had to be airlifted supplies. Please consider donating to any of our many disaster-relief organizations and keep Vermonters in your thoughts. Thank you!
We made it! It took two days driving through torrential rains to get here, but we arrived in Halifax safe and sound. Wet, safe, and sound. The giant tarp covering our trailer failed to protect our furniture and boxes from such an assault so we spent the first 24 hours scrambling to salvage our stuff. My desk – a cheap thing made from particle board – is permanently bowed in the middle, making me nervous that it will collapse under the weight of my computer any moment. All of Brad’s cloths were soaked and my dresser looks like it was chewed on by a horse.
Despite the weather and the usual challenges of relocating, I love it here already. My home town in Vermont prides itself on being green both in color and in philosophy, but Halifax is giving it a run for its money: from my 11th floor apartment I see the trees continuing to the horizon despite the fact that I’m in the middle of the Capitol. There’s also a 4-bin recycling system (complete with compost) throughout the city and many restaurants boast rooftop gardens. My only real complaint is that the single climbing gym is inaccessible to me, but it’s not the city’s fault I don’t have a car. I’ll just have to hunt down some fellow climbers with wheels and bribe them to let me hitchhike. 🙂
This past week I’ve been scrambling to tie up loose ends before the semester begins. My to-do list continues to grow even as I scratch things off. At least I feel fairly confident finding my way about the city now. I can get to all major points of interest without a map and even managed to find a store that carries Earth Balance so I can continue my vegan cupcake experiments (woot!). In a way this move is both easier and – if you can believe it – more challenging than my move to Ehime four years ago. It’s obviously a tremendous advantage to be able to speak to folks fluently here, haha, but at the same time all responsibilities fall on my shoulders whereas the JET Programme took care of all the red tape for me before. I still haven’t quite figured out what I’m to do with taxes these next few years, but I’ll tackle that one later.
For the next few weeks I will be in panic mode, I know already. The fall semester of first year grad students is a “sink or swim survival period” as my adviser put it. They cram in the maximum number of lectures they can in hopes of freeing the load in your second year, which is good foresight I suppose… except for the fact that not having been a full-time student in 5 years I’m not exactly at the top of my game. Advanced calculus isn’t something I’ve had to do on a daily basis and, I don’t know about you, but that sort of stuff doesn’t come to me easily. I’m hoping to be able to cook at least once a week, though, and share with you what I make. I promise you won’t see Ramen 101, but my budget is significantly smaller so do expect a lot of 1-pot meals and large quantities designed for leftovers (not necessarily a bad thing, right?).
Til then, I’ll leave you with a view from my living room…