first day of school

Well, yesterday was my first day of school at American.   Here it is, in roughly photographic chronological order.

All in all a great time.  I'm excited, but it is strange to go to a campus where you know literally no-one.  Ok, my cousin Jacqui goes to American, but this happens to be the semester that she's abroad in Rome.    I happen to know quite a few people that have gone to American, but none that are students now.

That being said, I give three hearty cheers for departmental orientations.  I met some cool people, and managed to mention that I liked 18th c. fashion to the professor who is studying 18th c. women's fashion as an indicator of roles between society and gender.  Yes!  Too bad I can't take her class. 

The classes I do have, however, are matching up to be great.  I've had, so far, Enlightenment, which is quite a bit of primary source material, and Historian's Craft, which is basically a course on historiography (the history of studying history -- i.e. studying interpretations of events, biases, etc).  My Public History Seminar is tomorrow (today) and I actually have reading to do -- yikes -- but I must mention one more thing before I go. 

This was a footnote (!) in my syllabus for Enlightenment.  Fabulous.  Click on it to see a bigger size. 

footnote of amazing

In all seriousness, though, I'm so excited. 


one month ago

I haven't posted in a while, but I think part of it is due to the fact that I can't get our trip out of my mind.   I can't believe that a month ago, I was here: 

buttes at monument valley

climbing through the valley

dead horse point - sunset I

That's Monument Valley, Arches National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park.


adventures back in time

I realized I hadn't posted about my recent trip to Chelsea Plantation for a friend's going-away party (she is moving to Egypt!).   Chelsea -- or the house at least -- dates to 1709, with an addition a few years later.  Currently, it sits on 700 (!) acres on the Mattaponi River, though that is downsized from probably about 5000.   What's fascinating about Chelsea is that clearly it's an 18th century plantation that was lived in throughout the years, because it has additions: a boathouse, gazebo, greenhouse, pool - that all date to the 1930s and 40s.

These are all tucked away around the grounds -- the back of the house is a maze of overgrown boxwood that left about 8 inches of room to walk through.   Since it had rained, every time we walked through, drips of water from the boxwood leaves left trails across our dresses.   We explored the boxwood, which hides people quite well -- and found tiny cottages to live in, statues, and a croquet lawn.

back of the house

Further on the property, there is a gazebo by the water, and quite possibly the most Atonement-esque element, was the 1930s spring-fed swimming pool.  Beautiful.  Right above the water.  Clear.  12' deep.  Diving board.  I can barely express how delicious it was to dive in.  

Of course, we had been told about the pool previously, and I was excited, as I had a retro-ish swimsuit to wear, but, of course I forgot it.  Fortunately, I had brought a halter top polka dot dress that already feels like a swimsuit, so we pinned up the sides so it fell to the tops of my thighs, and it looked like a retro suit.  It felt fabulous and ever-so-apropos for the pool.

pool of dreams!

From there, we moved down to the river, where there was a boathouse that was looking worse for wear due to hurricane Isabel.  A dock led down almost to the doors, but the hurricane had wiped out the last 5 feet (it seemed like something out of a Myst game), so we slipped into the (surprisingly warm) water and swam into the depths of the boathouse.  We scrambled back up onto the decks, which looked haphazardly stacked at strange angles inside, and looked out the windows that no longer had their bottom panes.   Heaven.

the boathouse

After the sun set, we ran through the boxwood and towards the abandoned greenhouse, overgrown and dark and mysterious.  It was magical.  Darkened sky, quiet, and etherial.  I'd give anything to go back.

For more photos - interestingly, pre-hurricane - look here.  Beautiful.


don't panic

I must admit, I have been remiss in posting -- especially considering I have so many photos from our voyages through Utah, but time has gotten away from me.  Also, I just realized I haven't discussed Chelsea -- all in good time. 

But now is just something simple.   It's turning out to be an interesting time of year -- for the most part, because I am headed back to school, but have yet to fully realize it.  Of course, filling out loan paperwork and realizing you haven't yet bought books (but have bought new pens and notebooks!) does bring it into sharper focus, but for the most part, I remain unaware. 

Today's mail brought a difficulty -- a miscommunication, that I will resolve tomorrow, but a scary miscommunication nonetheless.  Money related (the scariest kind of miscommunication).  I won't get into it, but suffice to say that it was unsettling.   I'm alone in the house now, as all three of my housemates are in the Outer Banks (not all together), and so I walked over to the couch and sat down, and started to pray. 

I looked up, and in the middle of the coffee table, was this: 

don't panic

Wow.   I think it's rather neat when messages come in unexpected ways -- though I've never had it come via mug