Anyway. So I started classes yesterday. Phonetics, Syntax, Persian, and Mayan Languages (which, based on the homework I just finished, is so far turning out to be History of Everything that Ever Happened in the General Vicinity of Central and South America). Based on first impressions - since I've been to each class exactly once - Syntax and Persian seem like they're going to be good, while Mayan Languages and Phonetics seems like they're going to be dull.
Phonetics: No surprise I wasn't that into it; I've never really liked that discipline, mostly due (I think) to the ridiculously awful Chinese TA I had as my group leader in that class as an undergrad. To make matters worse, the first day felt more like a physics class than a linguistics one - all about sound waves and the mathematical formulas to predict the period, amplitude, et cetera. But the linguistic department head is the teacher, and he's nice, and is constantly asking questions to keep us involved - which I sometimes like in an instructor and sometimes don't, but in this case it works for him, since I do not want to get lost the way I did as a junior. Although, considering this guy seems to speak English fluently, maybe I won't have to worry.
Mayan Languages: The class is nice and small, but the professor talked like he was reading a script. From reading the syllabus, it sounds like the class should be pretty interesting, but I didn't get that impression at all from the first day. Granted, I just finished wading through (and writing up reading questions about) 44 pages of history-book PDF file about, as I said, pretty much everything that ever happened in South or Central America - so I might be a little biased at this particular moment. But that's my elective course (which I'm only in because silly old Persian doesn't count for graduate credit - every other new grad student only has three courses, but I have four), so I could change it, but the class times would be absolutely horrible if I did, so I think I'll stay where I am. According to the syllabus, we should get into the language stuff after a week or two, and I do appreciate the necessity of having a historical background before plunging into linguistic data of this type - but that mammoth first reading/assignment didn't do anything to raise my first opinion.
Persian: It's a big class, 26 students, and the teacher is a woman, Zari (my only female teacher). I think it's going to be good; she seems friendly and competent. She apparently works in the science library as her 'real' job, but UNC found out she was a native speaker and taught her how to teach Persian in 1999, and she's been doing it ever since. The only stumbling block is that quite a few of the students in the class already speak the language, and just don't know how to read or write it. That's a little intimidating - quite honestly: because I'm used to being the best at languages and in this class I certainly won't be. But she assured us multiple times that "if you have absolutely no experience, this is the right place for you!" so I think I'm OK.
Syntax: My only Tuesday-Thursday class - only about ten people - taught by a professor who looks like Rick Moranis from Honey I Shrunk the Kids. But he's my favorite teacher so far - very conversational and excited about his topic. I've always liked syntax, so that plus my prior experience (general ling, intro to syntax, English syntax, and that other class I had in the Netherlands that I've forgotten the name of) should work in my favor. Not that I actually remember a whole heck of a lot, but at least I can probably use that old thesis-that-never-was as my final paper. ;)
Did I mention that I love being able to take all my class notes on my laptop? (Well, not Persian, but everything else.) It rocks. Even if the battery has just been recalled and the website form to get a new one is acting funny so I have to call Apple tomorrow. I don't care. I love my Powerbook. (And two of my three laptop-using professors have Macs. Ha. So much for non-compatibility.)
Okay, other stuff: I babysat that nine-month-old for the first time today, and that went very well. He's a really happy baby, not like silly old Eloise (yes, that was her name!) in Gainesville. He was sleeping when I got there, so I thought he might have a mini-freakout when he woke up and realized it was me and not his mom coming to get him - but he was fine. Looked confused for a second, then within thirty seconds was smiling like he'd known me all his life. When his mom came back, after a few minutes of sitting with her, she picked him up and he actually reached back to me, wanting me to hold him instead. Isn't it weird how flattering that is, even though it's just a baby?
Oh, and I went to the gym for the first time today, too - which was good timing, since they happened to be holding their Taste of Fitness event, which involved free dinner, LOL.
And I love all my roommates, I'm fully stocked on groceries, I've got a (new) bike, and I finally got my student ID yesterday (much prettier than UF's, I must admit)... So things are, by and large, falling into place. I don't feel completely at home here yet, but I'm going through the motions pretty much flawlessly. All those college-student skills and routines - riding the bus, organizing class materials, walking around campus, making small talk and becoming instant friends with people, signing up for a slot on the gym machines, buying and preparing my own food - I can still do all that; I just have to get used to it all in this other place with these other people.
Three things that are nagging at my mind:
(1) I really need to get started with this whole applying-for-jobs-with-the-government thing, since the processing times are so long. Which means I'm going to really have to start watching what I say on this blog - maybe even delete it altogether (*sob*) - and that I have to get someone to look at my resume and make it, well, professional.
(2) The first weekend in October, there's an Olympic-distance triathlon in a town about 90 minutes from here. I can't decide if I want to do it or not. A one-mile swim is a joke, and I could probably do a six-mile run (though I'd have to walk portions of it), but a 25-mile bike is pretty darn long, especially if I don't have MY bike (my road bike) from home. This mountain bike has thicker tires and so is less likely to find me walking it home, but it's heavy and weird and hard to go up hills on, and I want my lightweight baby back.
(3) Money, money, money. Why do groceries cost so much?! I used all the babysitting money I earned today and then some... and I haven't even deposited the check yet. And I have to pay rent next Friday (plus wait for the prorated rent from this month to finally come out of my account), and buy a microphone (for phonetics) and other small things, plus pay for that triathlon if I decide to do it. Oh, well, at least my cupboards are full and my car is gassed.
I'll close with a big Hooray - today, the FDA finally approved the morning-after pill for over-the-counter use!