31 August, 2007

Aaahh! Oooh! Woo hoo!

I'm all jacked up on jelly beans! Aaand, I haven't posted for (let's check) 12 days. Harghmm. So let's see:

The sugar is coursing through my veins. How come we don't use "coursing through" for anything other than veins? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong here. Try saying "coursing through" and then let your brain finish the sentence. I guarantee your first thought will finish with veins.

As to what's going on in my immediate surroundings: I'm in my new space (not a classroom, really, but it's where I'll be based out of) and it's finally been emptied of all the excess materials that the other teaches had been storing in the Shed, but the Shed had to be cleaned out, so it was all sort of dumped into this space. Got that? So today, after a week of creeping 'round the peripheries, I can walk straight across my space. Sweet! But this also means that I can see the opposite walls and stuff, and now it is apparent how much I have to do.

Essentially I am teaching the whole school, one group at a time. Early mornings, I plan stuff and prepare the space/my head. In the late mornings I lead cooperative games on the playground with the 3-6 year olds. In the lunch hour I teach music and movement (depending on the day) to 5 & 6 year olds. After that I teach music/movement/drama/crafts to the oldest kids, the 7-9 year olds. Then at 2:30 I set up for my main gig, the After School program. Whee! And at 5:30 (or shortly thereafter) I'm on my way back home.

I've been riding my sweet-ass awesome bike to school and back every day (8 1/2 miles round trip) and the gym is on the way, so I've been really getting a lot of fitness time in, which would be sweet except for that it makes me really hungry, so I've also been eating pretty much around the clock. Which, as long as I only keep healthy foods around, is a-ok. The problem comes when I buy jelly beans. Which I don't do, obviously. Not.

Soo... it's a long weekend. I will now commit more of my time to my *real* schoolwork, i.e., the school I'm paying to go to. Ok. I will read books. I will take notes. My co-worker, Aneta, is talking about Polish vodka. Gotta go!

19 August, 2007

Coming 'round the bend

The end is near. Our 1st colloquium is almost done. I am sitting beside a stack of neatly bound papers stapled to their cover sheets: the ginormous, broadly scoped "Study Plans for Graduate Study as a Whole" and the more detailed, bibliographied "Study Plan for First Semester Fall 2007."

My cohorts and I are Freshmen to the extreme: out to dinner last night but back at our desks by 10pm, our heads whipping back and forth from computer screens to the APA handbook to scattered piles of handwritten reminders... Up again at 6 this morning to squeeze out finishing touches, with the sun's first rays washing out our screens. Then off to the library to print it all out in duplicate, and the satisfying ker-CHUNK of the stapler. Ker-CHUNK. So THERE.

And now, I think, to go turn it in. Where, oh where, is my advisor?

18 August, 2007

Ah, Research Methodology

And by "ah" I mean "oh, holy crap."

So, I'm back in the library again looking up books that will turn me from a simple-minded knitter who likes to reuse the same two dozen "big" vocabulary words that I learned in my SAT prep class in 1998 into a full-fledged graduate student who not only knows the difference between qualitative, quantitative, and project-based research but someone who actually cares enough to take a class about them. Oh, also, I can make long sentances.

Why did I think I could just show up at grad school and not have any catching up to do? Sigh. Good thing this whole Research Methodology class is required; I'm going to take it first thing so that I can make the rest of my three semesters easier. APA, MLA, Chicago, oh my.

Back to the stacks,
Jessica "Could be Brighter" Kaufman

15 August, 2007

Potlucking with the PhD's

Greetings, gentle readers, and welcome to a new installation of my life. This chapter shall be called

"New town, new school, new home, new life."

And it feels almost that dramatic, but in a nice way, in a sort of "I planned this all out way in advance" kind of way. Right now I'm in Prescott, Arizona, a place I've contemplated going since halfway through college, to begin my 1st weekend colloquium for my Masters degree. It took me all day to get from one coast to the other (since for some reason I was routed through Minneapolis/St Paul) and when the shuttle from the airport finally dropped me at the Prescott bus station, I was really ready to move around. I strapped on Old Orange Faithful (the backpack that got me around SE Asia) and walked the short couple of miles to the campus, which is teeny tiny but beautiful, in a very desert-ish way. Immediately I felt like I was at Warren Wilson, because everyone I saw was beautiful in a co-op, yoga class sort of way, and all very fit and tan and dressed creatively. I was shown to the house where I'll be staying for the weekend; it's yellow.

My roommate arrived (Megan from Northampton, Mass!) and we commiserated and compared journeys from the east coast and time differences. Together, we decided to crash (in a nice way) the PhD's potluck (since it was happening in the house kitchen) and the next few hours were filled with inspiring, interesting conversation with people from all over the country who are here to do amazing, inspiring things. I'm already full of ideas and orientation doesn't even start until 7:30 tomorrow morning.

It feels like it's almost midnight, but it's only the shamefully early hour of 9pm. I'm going to bed anyway. Tomorrow we learn what it is exactly that we're doing here!

Oh yeah, also:
-Kenny and I moved into our new apartment and we LOVE it!
-I start work at the Montessori school next week
-I bought a bicycle to get me from home to work every day (weather permitting) and around town to the library and yarn store and what not. It's beautiful. Check out the glamour shot:

(It's the Amsterdam model from Electra. Want one? Check 'em out.)

02 August, 2007

Comments from the abyss...

I just got notification of a comment on a blog entry from almost a year ago, from when I first arrived in Saigon. Just for reference I checked out the entry, and I really enjoyed re-reading my experiences, because looking back at my time in the city, all I remember now seems easy and fun and never at all scary or hard. But reading that entry today really took me back to the wide-eyed amazement of my first few days. Awesome. Also ironic, because it was the first of many odes to the amazing rambutan (trai chom), which I was rhapsodizing about today over a lunch of canned fruit. Ah, Vietnam, will I ever return to you? I sure hope so.

(But who are you, TM?)

I'm on Flickr a lot.

Jessica K.. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr