Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The real work has begun!

So much has happened since I last wrote an entry. This is, in fact, why it has been so long since I last wrote an entry. Such things include, having one week to prepare a 30-minute group presentation, getting slightly sick, taking Leopold to the vet, networking events, homework, setting off the smoke alarm in my apartment for legit smoke in my kitchen, and lots of time out with people. The first thing I'd like to say is that things are getting awfully pretty around these parts. The weather has slightly warmed up, and every day as I walk to class I find myself with my dinky phone camera, snapping pictures of pretty trees and such. Note to self: buy a real camera before going abroad. It's going to be cold again soon, I'm sure, but for this week I am very happy with the weather. I've been spending a lot of time studying on campus, embarrassing as it is to admit, as a graduate student I finally understand how awesome the library really is.

When I was in undergrad, I set foot in the library a total of about...5 times. Yep, less than once a semester. This wasn't even to check out books! Usually it was because somebody wanted to meet there, or our teacher told us that we had to have at least 4 sources from books. So...I would take my laptop, skim a couple of books, find a citation, and be done with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a total bookworm. I have to stop myself from buying books for my Kindle for PC program because it's something that would distract me from my studies. My whole family is this way and I love that about us. The library just wasn't the place for me. Too many people waiting to shush each other...Then I found the business library. It all happened by chance, I had to meet with my tutor on Monday morning, and then we both happened to have class in the business building, so I walked over there with him. It didn't make too much sense for me to go home and come back between my classes, and I had some reading to get done. So...he showed me the library. I sat there and because there was no cat to play with, no other books to read, no kitchen in which to cook things...I got work done.

You have to understand, I am the Queen of Procrastination. Sure, I'll plan what I'm going to do as soon as I get an assignment, but actually doing it? The night before, if not the morning of, is usually my style. Turns out forcing myself to study is the way to get things done! Who would have guessed? So...that's reason number two that I haven't blogged lately. I've been too busy actually getting things done.

After a beautiful day of sun, I walked outside to see sailboats on a stormy lake
The presentation was really the biggest thing though. We had one week to put together a professional presentation about Doctors Without Borders that we were going to present to real live native French speakers. Our teacher called in some of his connections, so strangers that we hadn't met before, to come in and hear what we had to say. I'm really glad we did this project, as stressful as it was at times, it's so different presenting for people who are interested in your presentation than presenting to people who are sitting nervously waiting for their own presentations to begin. Plus, a week is a pretty decent chunk of time to pull together a presentation in most fields. I know my dad does proposals in one or two nights. Overall, it went really well. One of the audience members typed up comments on our individual sections that we presented, and he said that I had a really great style of speaking. It's definitely nice to know that all of those years on the speech team translated over to French. I was worried that my style would get lost in my struggle to say everything correctly. This makes me feel way more ready for my individual 15-minute presentation in a few weeks! Plus, I enjoyed working together with my classmates to compile everything, I really feel like I got to know some of them way better than I had before, and now I can say I definitely have pretty good buddies in the program.

Other things that I enjoyed in the past week or so: the Farmer's Market on Saturday! It was so nice to take some time to walk around downtown, I haven't done much of that since I moved here. Everything for me has really been on the West side, VERY East side, or on Campus. It was cool to just walk around the Capitol and enjoy Madison. I really like this city and I could see myself living here for awhile. (Which is good..since I'm going to be living here for awhile...) In other news, the Poldmeister (that's Leopold, for those of you who don't make ridiculous nicknames for my cat) has to get a tooth pulled. Don't worry everyone, as far as we know, Weird Tooth is safe for right now. (I know you were all very concerned.) It's actually the tooth right above WT that's giving him the trouble, so I took him to his new vet and she said it's probably got to go. He did well, except for when the vet's cat hissed at him (He didn't hiss back. Yay! I can get a dog in the next 15 years!)  and he doesn't seem too traumatized by the situation. Special thanks to Riss, who wrangled him into his carrier, took out my trash, and picked me up from school so that we could make it to the vet in time!

I set off my smoke alarm the other day. Remember that apple pie I baked, about one blog entry ago? Yeah, turns out some of that gooey deliciousness had dripped down to the bottom of the oven, unbeknownst to me as I wasn't the one who put the pie in. (*cough* Sean *cough*) I was pre-heating (PRE-HEATING!) the oven one day last week, went into the living room to do some reading, and heard the smoke detector go off. That's a pretty standard occurrence around these parts. I'd be lying if I said this was the first time it had gone off when pre-heating the oven to anything 400+. So I ran into the kitchen to turn it off and saw...actual smoke. Yep. That leftover pie dripping was now a big, black, charred mess on the bottom of the oven. So I opened the windows, turned off the oven, etc...even though it was still freezing outside and the next morning I scraped the oven floor with a butter knife trying to get everything off of there....I still haven't used it. Mostly because I haven't been home for meals in awhile or they've been stovetop things, but also because I'm not excited for Smoke Fest 2011 part II.

Forgot to mention that last night I went to a forum on the United Nations Millennium Goals. There were two speakers who interested me, one discussed their initiative toward eradicating world hunger, and the other talked about how gender equality can aid in achieving all of these goals. Both presentations were very good, though they each only had about 20 minutes to talk, and you could tell there was a lot more to say about everything. Afterward, I went and introduced myself to the woman who spoke about gender equality. She also specializes in human trafficking (something that I like to research), and she often takes her students to Tanzania to study. She said I could contact her in the future if I was interested in doing research with that's cool. Though Tanzania isn't really in my concentration region, she said she does study West Africa a bit too.

So, that's what's been up around here! I'm looking forward to returning to the land of Not Cheese, Just Smelly Dog Farts this weekend. It will be nice to relax after such a busy week!


Anonymous said...

I found you (via Tina's blog)!!! :) You crack me up... I love how you write... so real! And no worries about the pie. I totally did that with the apple pie I baked not too long ago. :)

EP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny P said...

so I just left a comment but you were signed in on my I am trying again. this is like the 10th time I am trying to tell you that I am so happy you are settling into your Madison life. I love the shot of the boats on the water and maybe some day you and Sean will have a house that looks out on the lake. love Mom

EP said...

Hi Sarah! I'm trying to figure out how to "follow" you, not sure how that works yet, but I'll definitely keep checking in on your posts!

Mom, thanks for driving me home today. Lake Mendota is very relaxing to look at, and I've heard it completely freezes over in the winter. It should be interesting to see.

Sisifri said...

I don't know how to "follow" me either. So don't worry. lol. Like I said on Saturday... Wordpress blogs are confusing to me. I should've just stayed with blogspot. ;)