Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The profound party

I had the most bizarre night last Friday! I was at a party, and, out of nowhere, another girl from NZ walked in. This is the first New Zealander I have come across in all my time in Cincinnati!

Pretty quickly we got talking, and lo and behold, it turns out that she got three-quarters of the way through her Law degree back in NZ, before coming over to the University of Cincinnati to study Music. Well, of course, I got three-quarters of the way through my Music degree in NZ before switching to Law and studying it over here!

But wait ... there's more. :-D It turns out that we had exactly the same music teacher back home, for years and years, even though she lived hours away in Dunedin and would travel up to Christchurch each week to be taught!! This discovery led to hours of laughing and joking about all the weird and wonderful things that particular teacher put us BOTH through, as well as reminiscing about a time in our lives that we both unwittingly shared.

Then ... things turned from the sublime to the ridiculous ...

Another random person walked into the party. This time it was a cellist from Argentina. :-) He overheard part of our conversation, and interrupted with: "Do you know ........?"

Of course, he just said the name of another violinist who I hung out with for over four years - playing in umpteen-dozen different orchestras and chamber music groups - atleast 10 years ago!!!

He said: "Well, I was just talking to him on the phone as he is staying at my brother's place in Philedelphia right now!" (What the.....?!?!)

Of course, he telephoned him right back, and so here I was ... at like, 1 o'clock in the morning, standing outside in the dark (it was too loud to try and talk inside!) of this house I have never been to before, on some random stranger's cell phone, chatting away and catching up with this friend from NZ who I haven't spoken to or seen in over a decade!

What a truly bizarre night!!!! :-D

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

End of exams, and summer festivities

Woohoo! I have finally crawled out of the end-of-semester exam abyss, and into the sunny summer daylight once more. :-)

Of course, now I get to make the daily ritualistic check onto the Law School website! Like everything else here, grades also appear to be issued differently. Apparently, the lecturers post your grade on the site as they mark them!

This is both cool and strange.

It is kind of like another form of 'instant reality'!! The minute they are done, the grade goes up. Nice to know, I guess, but the problem is that each of your grades sort of trickle in, in a rather random, unorganised fashion. There is no definitive moment when you KNOW you are going to get all your results back, in a neat little envelope, on a pre-determined date. :-)

What's worse is that every day I've checked it so far, nothing has been posted! But I figure that if I suddenly decide not to check it, that's when the results will appear. Hmmmm. Oh, the dilemmas of it all!

Anyway, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend. I am really looking forward to it because apparently Cincinnati holds a rip-roaring 3 day festival called the "Taste of Cincinnati". (I will be sure to take photos! :-D)

You would never believe that the purpose of Memorial Day is to remember all the fallen soldiers?! From what I can tell, there appears to be nothing like the sombre dawn services we hold to commemorate ANZAC day in NZ. Hell no!! Let's string up loads of colourful banners and throw a great big party-extraordinaire instead!!

Well, I'm certainly not complaining, that's for sure. In fact, I can hardly wait. It beats a sad old dawn service any day. It is just the difference in mentality between the countries that amuses me...

Friday, May 13, 2005

End of spring classes

Last week marked the end of lectures for the whole of the spring semester. OMG, how quickly did that go by??!!

To celebrate, we all enjoyed a yummy BBQ ... and, errrr, several kegs of free beer. :-)

Here are some photos.

Our end-of-semester BBQ, with the Law School building in the background!

A general group shot...

another general group shot

Katie and her dog, both enjoying some of the same hamburger!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Collecting more creatures...

I seem to be gathering the wildlife of Cincinnati on my balcony.

Last weekend it was the squirrels ... this weekend it is the turn of the pidgeon, hahahaha! Maybe they sense the fact that I don't have a pet...?

All I can say is at least this weekend's visitors were able to get themselves off my balcony again, without any assistance. :-D

Oh, and as you can see, the weather's not too bad either! It was 28 degrees today, and it'll be an even hotter 29 tomorrow. Not too shabby for spring, eh!

Now the pidgeons are checking out my view!

and just generally wandering around...

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dumbfounded with shock and awe...

Well, I'll be darned. Woohoo. Miracles are possible in this country!! :-)

It may have taken roughly 121 days longer than it was supposed to, hmph, but ... FINALLY ... I have that little piece of paper I have been waiting for.

As of three hours ago, I now possess a genuine bona fide United States Social Security Number! Oh my god. All that head-banging and pointless thrashing down at the Social Security Office must have been worth it afterall!!! :-D

I would take a photo of it and show you all - except for the fact that this would probably result in my identity being stolen by, well, probably first thing tomorrow morning. Not such a good idea when I have only just finally GOT myself an identity here, hahahaha!

So, you will just have to imagine it.... :-D

Monday, May 02, 2005

Adventurous squirrels come visiting!

Something very bizarre has started happening. In case you don't remember, I live waaaay up high, 9 floors off the ground. NO trees around here grow anywhere near that high, yet, all of a sudden, squirrels are finding themselves marooned on my balcony!!

I really cannot figure out how on earth they are doing it?!! Squirrels do live in trees, yes, but it's not as if they are accidently falling out of some tree hanging over my balcony, 9 floors up in the sky??!!!

Squirrels are constantly frolicking through the grass around here, and occasionally I spot the odd brave one dragging a stolen roll of toilet paper up a tree, hahahaha! I'm sure they do get a few extra deluxe nights' sleep under their cosy nest of toilet tissue - until, that is, it dissolves in the next rainfall! :-)

Last weekend, one got itself stuck up here in the middle of the night. I didn't know squirrels had it in them to CRY!! No kidding, this thing cried and thrashed itself all over my balcony for 6 hours straight!!!

The problem is, everyone here says: "Never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, touch a squirrel." Why? Well, as cute as they are, apparently they carry rabies. So, I couldn't just catch the thing and take it downstairs!

By about 4am, I couldn't stand the noise anymore so I telephoned the campus after hours non-emergency security number. You should have heard the silence on the other end of the phone when I said I had a squirrel stuck on my balcony, hahahaha! They put me on hold for several minutes while they figured out what the hell they were going to do about it. Eventually, they said that if it was still there in the morning, they would call the SPCA in to catch it for me.

Great ... well, that didn't help me much. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep that night.

Then, this afternoon, my balcony door was open - as it is now hot enough to need the doors open! - and I started hearing this strange noise again! Atleast this time I was able to get a few daylight photos of the little critter - but I am still totally stumped as to how it is getting there...?!

Another squirrel checking out the view from my 9th floor balcony!

... and looking cute with its little paws together