First quarter at OSU; wherein I write for far too long on things about which no one but myself cares.

26 Dec

I’ve finished my first term at Ohio State and overall it’s been a great experience. I’m continuing Arabic, re-struggling through German, and I’ve started Hebrew. Next quarter I’ll be continuing with those and adding Syriac to the smorgasbord of language smatterings I can bungle my way through. My own particular interests are somewhat narrow and there are only a small handful of people studying things along the same lines. As it turns out, there’s another student at OSU now who’s interested in Muslim-Christian polemical interactions from the same period I’m interested in and it’s been/will be great to have someone to bounce ideas off and talk with. He, another girl in the department and I have decided to make our own way through a Syriac Primer since it’s not being offered next quarter and it will be useful in our research. Christians in the area and during this time were writing a great deal in Syriac and it can’t really be avoided. It’s going to make my life quite difficult taking Arabic, Hebrew, German and Syriac at the same time, but I actually do enjoy it. And even though I think German is a horrible language, one of the articles I had to translate for class was fascinating (but I won’t talk about it here).

Unfortunately, I think Hebrew is going to have to be my official second Near Eastern Language for the Phd so I’ll have to put quite a bit more time into it, despite the fact that it won’t be all that useful to my dissertation research. Oh well. Still, I’ve enjoyed Hebrew and it’s been somewhat easy thus far, already having Arabic (which is quite similar) under my belt. I’m sure it will get harder, but I’m hoping more interesting as well.

 

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Where I live.

15 Dec

The new place.


 

My Church.

Generic Update

14 Dec

Apparently some people still read this blog, but it seems to be mostly people searching for shamwows. But, if you do occasionally check in on me for an update, you might have noticed I’ve failed you. Be that as it is, I’m making a decision to post more regularly. It won’t be everyday, and it won’t always be interesting. It’s more an exercise for me to get in the habit of writing because it was something I enjoyed doing and was also a way for me to think and write creatively and differently from most of my thinking and writing.

So, I am an Ohioan now and loving it. Having just come through the amazing colors of Autumn and endured my very first minor snow storm (with delayed flights and all), I can say as of now that I really enjoy the weather. I’ve always been one for gray skies and colder weather than California offers, so I think this should be a good fit weather-wise.

I began a Ph.D. in the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department at The Ohio State University and have enjoyed it thus far. This program is strongly focused on languages so I ended up taking German, Arabic and Hebrew courses this quarter and will be adding Syriac to that mix the next quarter and probably Latin in the Summer.

I’ve moved in to a three-bedroom house that through providential circumstances is remarkably cheap and amazing. Thrift stores here in Ohio are incredible and they have enabled me to furnish it quite cheaply. There are still two empty rooms, for which I’m hoping to get roommates, but even if I don’t, it’s still a great deal.

I’ve found a Church, an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, in Columbus that I have been attending. Like a typical Reformed Church it appears to be cursed with a dearth of single females my age, but there is a sizable group of college age people who I have enjoyed getting to know. The church body itself is extremely hospitable and have made me feel very welcome. It’s not as liturgical as I would like (and I plan on posting something about my love of liturgy at some point in the near future), but it is a good church overall and I plan on staying there for my time in Columbus.

Now that we’re all caught up with the last 6 months of my life, I’ll see you around.

California

17 Jul

After dropping a book off at the UCLA library so I don’t get fined up the wazoo, Ed and I took a the long way home to fulfill two of his California dreams. This included-

– Rolling through Inglewood and Compton, hoping to see some of the “ghetto”. Unfortunately there was much less ghetto than we hoped.

– Going to where Arrested Development was set (Balboa Island/Newport Beach) and having a ‘Bluth’ Frozen Banana.

Ed is going to be staying with us for about a month. He’s enjoying the heat a little too much, although he understood my dislike for it when he almost died of heat exhaustion/dehydration while playing Ultimate Frisbee. That’ll teach him.

Pimp Master Flex

10 Jul

Ed has a grandiose notion of what a downtown should be. I’m not sure what he actually expects one to actually be, but he’s generally disappointed with how small they all are. Lake Charles, Louisiana was no exception.

We left New Orleans around 11am and stopped for lunch at Lake Charles, mostly because it seemed like it might be nice. We were wrong about that. We did, however, find a great place for lunch called Luna.

And that’s where it got interesting. Given that I’m travelling with Ed, my former housemate from Oxford who is British, there’s always a bit of questioning that comes when people hear his accent.

“What are you doing here, in the South?”

It’s not that they don’t like the British, more just that there really is no good reason for a Brit to visit the middle of nowhere. Our reason is somewhat strange anyway and takes too long to explain, because we don’t live where our trip started (DC), or where our trip is ending (Houston).

So, we attempt to explain it and it just causes more confusion.

Lunch today was particularly fun though. Our waitress was, shall we say, smitten, with Ed and his accent. When we explained why we stopped at this particular place (the lake), she mentioned suggestively that she was going to lay out later at the lake and maybe drink a beer, afterwhich she interrupts herself to see if we drink and how long we’ll be in the area.

After some more small talk, she interrupts Ed to let him know that she could listen to him talk all day long and, yes, that she wants him to read her a bedtime story.

Had I known I could have used Ed to get us free lodging all through the south just by having him talk to young cute waitresses, I would have pimped that fool out the entire time. Instead, I spent money on crap motels. Lame.

N’awlins.

10 Jul

After barreling through the rest of Georgia, the width of Alabama and then half of of the length of Mississippi, we finally made it to Louisiana. Thankfully we didn’t run across any road trouble and our repair job seems to be holding up fine.

As we drove through the South I was surprised at how beautiful the place actually is. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but the intense amount of green is impressive. It really is a gorgeous area of the world, although I do appreciate it much more when viewed from inside an air-conditioned car.

We made it to our hostel about 7pm last night and took a quick walk down to Wal-mart to grab some stuff. If someone ever tells you “It’s three blocks that way” and waves their hand in a general direction, ask for specifics. We managed to eventually find the place, although the “street/gang party” we walked through on our way to wal-mart was being broken up by the police on our way home.

The French Quarter is mostly crap. I think I was expecting a Disney version of the place, given that my only exposure to “New Orleans” is at Disneyland. Rather than old architecture and jazz bands , there were strip clubs and drunk people. We did end up finding some jazz though at Preservation Hall and had a great time. I don’t think that alone would ever make it worth it to come to New Orleans, but it was good.

Unfortunately, I left my film camera at the hostel, so I was only able to take pictures with my phone. Here’s preservation hall.

Bumps.

9 Jul

We finally ran into some road trouble yesterday. In fact, we ran into someone else’s road trouble as well–the remains of a blowout were in the center of the lane and rather than swerve/roll the car, we took the tire right under the center of the car. Some slight cosmetic damage that we mostly took care of. The plastic pads that are under the car were mostly ripped off, so we jerry-rigged what we could using hardware from wal-mart and I think it actually turned out all right.

As this is not our car, the worst that can happen is that we don’t get our $350 deposit back, which would suck, but at least it wouldn’t be fatal.

We’re in Georgia right now, hoping to get to New Orleans by tonight. We’ll see how that goes.