Our stint as house-sitters has been so totally hedonistic. The town is gorgeous and ancient- complete with an old clog factory and a canal walk to Hebden Bridge. Having visited Hebden Bridge, I now know where all of Leeds's coffee shops and tiny grocers have migrated to. (And poets for that matter.) We've had espresso, wine, and two course dinners every night. We've had lounge chairs. We've had a wide screen television. And we've had a full size bathtub. With all these and a two month old kitten punctuating our jeans, it is no wonder we've done no work whatsoever.
Friday, December 26, 2008
That's it. We're getting cats. Not this year, (imagine them in our bleak little apartment!) probably not next year, but by 2010 Zach and I will have rambunctious little bundles of fur of our very own. Cats are one step up to the ladder to settling down, so we just may get there one day!
Monday, December 22, 2008
We're back! Spain and Morocco treated us royally but we're happy to return to our old dreary flat on Archery road. Leeds is remarkably quiet today. The undergrads and most of the graduate students have all gone home. Christmas music jingles eerily in the empty student union hall. The computer lab is que-less and all the books I need and want are sitting obediently on their shelves in the Brotherton library. It's kind of nice really... though I maintain that the city center doesn't feel right without the usual throng of raucous costumed teenagers.
My very favorite souvenir from our journey is a book of Cristina Peri Rossi's that I bought in a dusty bookshop off the main drag in Malaga. I read Peri Rossi for the first time in English in Dr. Weathers' class nearly three years ago and loved her. I wish I could jump right into this one, but have to finish papers before my sister visits. So, until then, Por fin Solos sits on my own bookshelf reminding me of my vow of eventual Iberian fluency.
Happily Zach and I will spend Christmas week housesitting for one of his professors in a tiny village called Mytholmroyd, near the quaint and quirky Hebden Bridge. We're looking forward to central heating, double-paned windows, and feline housemates... luxuries of the academic life? The little sojourn, I hope, will make us feel better about missing our first Christmas with family. But as the day looms, I wish for one more year abroad so that I can fully participate in the festivities and literary culture of England/Europe outside the limitations of being a student. Maybe next year?...
Monday, December 8, 2008
Today is the final Monday of the semester. I've had my last Reading African Cultures class and turned in both preliminary essays. I came home this afternoon and fell asleep watching Pride and Prejudice, the six hour version of course. I've a few large things to do before vacation, come up with some kind of outline for the dissertation and read theory for Thursday's class, but other than that I am all but finished with classes.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
The world appears pleasantly discordant today. Tensions, misfits, and paradoxical whims whistle through my thoughts like a good emo song as I walk down the street to Uni. I've one paper left today and quite a lot of reading before Thursday, and I'm coming to terms with a few disappointments rooted in the academy. First, classes aren't all-inclusive or transcendental. Second, if I could express the wonder of a work or the greatness of a text, in a paper or in class, would it be so great? So I'm thinking, the thing I want to engage with, the experience of a film or a book, is not to be learned in graduate school. I've a feeling that everyone who has been to graduate school would read this and say, 'Of course! What did you expect?'
Yesterday I was walking out of the English library when a man of middle-height, a bald head wearing a sweater (jumper) passed out of his office in front of me. He was singing softly and he carried with him a great deal of preoccupied peacefulness. I instantly longed to be that type of professor, that type of English major. And I knew that man couldn't be a postcolonialist!
I meet with my advisor for the first official time this Thursday. I haven't a clue what kind of outline I will bring to him. I haven't a clue what I want to write about the films of Barry Barclay and Zacharias Kunuk. Right now, I only know I want to watch them with a bowl of buttered popcorn and an electric blanket, with friends and my sisters.
The men to my left right now keep repeating the word 'hobbit' in their heavy Yorkshire accents. Some LOTR is in my future this Christmas.