Odds and Ends

Paper-writing, most of the California wrap-up phase, and a short stint in DC. What a busy couple weeks!

Life since returning from Detroit and New York has been hectic, to say the least. Though certainly full of plenty of small enjoyments. The chief accomplishment of the time was the completion of my academic coursework, which involved 50 pages of writing this quarter (down from the 60 of the last quarters). Not too shabby. But there were plenty of small adventures. Amy, a high school friend, for example, swung through San Francisco for a weekend visit, and I had the greatest pleasure to be treated to a wonderful brunch with her and her friend, Rebecca. We headed to the Mission Beach Café, and I will DEFINITELY vouch for their brunch.

Left: Amy and I. Then, the food! Top right: my wild mushroom eggs benedict. Bottom right: lavender infused French toast with lemon marscapone and fresh fruit. Not pictured: my half-dozen cups of coffee... (ok... maybe just three or four).

The day before that, actually, come to think of it, featured one of the clearest rainbows that I’ve seen in a long time.

It was even clearer an hour or so later, when I went on my run.

Let’s see, after that, I went into real paper-writing mode, which involved all sorts of coffee, East European music (Czech hip hop? Modovan pop? Ukrainian rock? Yes, please, all around!). There was also a heavy dose of totalitarianism, which followed me all the way to DC until I finally submitted it to a friend for printing and delivery.

Ah, Hannah Arendt! At home and at various cafés throughout DC.

The trip to DC, actually, while I am at it, was hilarious in and of itself. I took a red eye Sunday, arrived bright and early Monday, and was off to the airport by Tuesday afternoon. I did experience Virgin America, which was kind of neat. It’s a bit surreal, I will say, to get on a plane and have the colors be so non-traditional.

At any rate, my time in DC was mostly spoken for, between orientation and finishing up a paper on totalitarianism. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any time. I managed to steal in a lunch with Alex, of Nuremberg fame, and we caught up on a year’s worth of happenings.

The lunch choice for the day was the food trucks around K and 13th. Alex went for Mexican, while I hit up Ethiopian. Not bad for the price and the fact that it comes out of a truck. Delicious, in fact!

Really, I couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day to be in DC than this past Monday. The humidity was at a record low for that silly city and the sky was mostly clear and very blue. More than I could say for Tuesday.

That evening was our first orientation session, but as we were done by eight, it gave me just enough time to meet up with Erin, a co-worker from my time in DC who just so happens to live just a block or so away from where we were staying. Convenient. It was great to catch up–I last saw her a year ago when I passed through DC. We had a nice walk back to our respective sleeping locations, and I finished up the following morning with the orientation. My group mates were shipped off to Dushanbe directly from orientation, but I took their ride to the airport and returned to California to finish up my final week. Of course, this continued with more paper writing, culminating in the turning in of my 36 page masterpiece on Soviet census taking. Turning in it did, admittedly, involve a sprint to the history  office, and some last minute editing, but it was a show of group solidarity, as Orysia, Kevin, and I–course veterans from last quarter–turned in our final copies together. And then proceeded to my apartment to celebrate. And a wonderful afternoon it was.

Following that, after a brief swing to San Mateo and Trader Joe’s, there was a trip to a move-in party for friends who moved into a new apartment in anticipation of a coming baby. Having expected more of a substantial dinner, we then decided it was very much time to cross off one important item for my California check-list. Namely, a trip to In-N-Out. As a vegetarian of many months, I felt a little weird going to In-N-Out, but one cheeseburger wasn’t going to kill me. And indeed, it didn’t. I have to say, as far as fast food burgers go, I was not terribly disappointed. Here, we have Exhibit A:

Proudly displaying the wares.

As the only meat I’ve eaten in many months, naturally it had to be photo-documented. Maki rose to the occasion. Observe:

Vegetarian+In N Out=many suspicious looks.

That being Thursday, it was down to my last days, which involved lots of packing and other assorted odds and ends. Caroline was kind enough to also plan a going away dinner for me, and we had a nice turn out at a Thai restaurant in the Mission. The food was excellent, and it was wonderful to have one more chance to see the Harvard crowd.

After dinner, we walked around a bit in the direction of ice cream, a suitable parting undertaking.

Outside our ice cream place. From left to right: Maki, me, Aaron, Tom, Caroline, Caitie. Why I stand so awkwardly with my feet, I have no idea.

And then Saturday was a day of packing and moving. My trip to the Post Office set me back a good $130 (with an additional almost-$70 spent in other trips). Emptying out my room, though, was only half the task. If even that. I at least had only had a year to accumulate stuff. Unlike some other people. Teehee.

The cleaning of 9 Comstock involved cataloging many treasures. And also cinnamon rolls.

In short, it was an eventful final week, with just graduation to go. Wonderfully, I had an audience to marvel at my last-minute packing skills. Which mostly involve shoving more things than one might expect possible into my suitcases.

Hard to believe how fast the year went. But alas, reflections on a year gone too quickly are best left to be discussed separately. What a year it had been! But more on that to come.

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