Finally getting used to things… and smiling :)

29 Jul

So it sometimes takes me a while to get settled in a place–to really feel like it’s comfortable and familiar, so that I can be 100-percent productive. I’m nearing that point–or at least I feel like I am, now–at Cambridge.

It all begins with a chai-fueled work session, editing my travel writing pieces and writing and editing my thesis. I looked up out of the window of the cafe I was sitting in this morning, and off to my right I saw a narrow, cobble-stone street, with the vendors for the market in the square setting up their tents and lining up their products. I got so much done, and it feels damn good to be up early, drinking chai, and getting stuff done. Like a lot of stuff.

Yesterday, we went to London on the ‘coach’ (British word for bus), and I paused in the Tate (modern art museum) for a moment (nice that it’s free!) and then bounced down the street to a cafe on the Thames, and spent almost two hours editing there, before going to see Henry IV, Part I, at the Globe. You know, just a typical thesis editing session.

And then today, I got into Ulysses–I mean, really got into it–to the point where I just started laughing because I was enjoying what I was reading, absorbing maybe 20 percent of it, and not even caring. It was all just so funny to me. I noticed one of the characters from the chapter I was reading had the same name as another character I remembered from Dubliners (it was Lenehan), and I thought: cool, I am drawing connections. And then I started laughing–because how many Lenehans are there in Ireland? I mean, it could have been a connection (turns out it was), but it also could not have been. Instaed of getting confused, like I was in the beginning of the semester, I just started laughing, and ended up enjoying class today more than any other I’ve had thus far this summer. And then I thought about it: I haven’t laughed like this–at the absurdity of the difficulty of something–in more than two years. It was one of those moments that made me miss college, since the type of work I did as an undergrad. is so different from what I’ve done as a grad. student. Yes, writing is incredibly difficult and time consuming. But it’s a different kind of difficult and time-consuming–and I’d forgotten how much I love to torture myself in literature classes and laugh at the absurdity of it all. Ah, PC. Memories.

So, I still have a ton to do. But with my revived PC attitude, I am so ready to tackle this Ulysses paper on the 9-hour (ughhhh) bus ride to Edinburgh tomorrow.

And yes, the Globe was awesome. More on that later.

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