15.12.11

I DID IT!

Woo! Chicago, Berkeley, and NYU-ISAW are all in! That brings my completed app count up to 4/5! Johns Hopkins, I think you'll be completed over the break, even though you're not due until January 15th! Here's to hoping...

What an awful week. I'm so glad it's over. I couldn't even think of studying for my Hebrew final today. I think I did alright, but I could have done better if I had had the time to study. I don't think I did nearly as poorly as last semester, though. Oy.

Tonight I've decided to treat my roommate to a healthy homemade meal. We haven't been able to get to the grocery store and get good food for a few weeks now. Since I have nothing urgent on the agenda for tomorrow, I'm going to make some eggplant parm (minus the cheese) for Katy to help relieve her of some of her stress. Not only were her first three apps due today, she also had two Hebrew finals, and a paper due tomorrow by noon. After dinner, I'm going to take my time with my own papers until it's time for a well-deserved drink at the bar with a couple friends, but then back early to look over Katy's paper before bed.

Tomorrow will be spent at the library furiously trying to accomplish one of my papers to give me time for the other before going home!

14.12.11

Feeling Lost

I am not particularly pumped about grad school apps right now. They are due tomorrow. I will submit them but my work will most likely reflect my burnt-out feelings on applications right now. Once the last of my papers is turned in for the semester, I will begin working on Plan B, which I am feeling is more likely to happen than a PhD program right now. Anything involving Cultural Heritage (perhaps the Peace Corps or something of the like) is what I'd like to do. And actually...I'm pretty into that right now. Perhaps I need a break from academia?

On another note, my Columbia prof approved my final paper idea, which I am super excited about: "female-friendly" sex toys. Yep. I'll have to read some feminist theory, thing theory, and performativity. How do "female-friendly" sex toys relate differently to the female body than perhaps "anatomically correct" sex toys? What I have seen so far from just looking at various objects is that they are more smooth, curvy, come in a variety of "feminine" colors, like rose, lilac, and turquoise, or have "extras" that involve "pretty" animals, like butterflies and bunnies. Many models are even made so aesthetically pleasing as to be intended for "display" in the home (one model even came with a display stand!). The more "anatomically correct" models, however, come in colors like red, dark blue, black, or "flesh-colored", with very few "extra features". I find this absolutely fascinating. I think I may argue how these "female friendly" models reflect a new wave in the sex industry to "take the grime" out of sex and promote equality in the bedroom. I still have some research to do on this, though.

9.12.11

Too Amazing

My Akkadian professor sent us all an email to order our new Akkadian grammars for next semester from SBL because they were on sale, 30% off (originally $24, now $17!). When we all went to order this book, this is the screen we got:



At first this was an amazing realization, but we soon realized it just meant that the books are on back order. Sad day. Hopefully we will still get our grammars in time for next semester.

In other news, for those of you who haven't seen me yet, I got my nose pierced! Sometime before I went to San Fransisco.


Yep, it's sexy. haha. Hey, uploading photos since blogger changed their format is super easy now! Watch out blog-o-sphere! I just might add photos to my blog again!

7.12.11

Mid-Week Slump

Ugh, I'm having a hard time motivating myself today! Perhaps this is because our Graduate School Conference Committee was so successful today, so I feel accomplished while having done nothing that actually needs to get done with my own work. I'm sure watching Paula Dean's Christmas special isn't helping, though it is quite entertaining.

Wait a minute...I believe this time last week I also hit a slump. Must be Tuesdays or Wednesdays...

In other news, I learned today that my brother has nearly completed turning in his own college applications. That does it, if he can do it, then I certainly can! My little brother has inspired me!

1.12.11

One Application Down!

I'm glad I decided to write a Diversity Statement for my first application because it really helped me figure out how to end my statement of purpose.

One application done, 4 more to go! Woo! I feel much better about it all now...

30.11.11

Coping with Stress

In order to cope with my currently extreme amount of stress, I am going to waste yet more time by writing a quick blog entry, inspired by my lovely fellow blog-writer, whom I cannot tag in this entry because I'm not skilled enough at blogging. I recently spent the past 15 minutes praying a million had left me interesting Facebook messages and taking note of recent updates to waste some time. I did just come out of a class, come on, gimme a break!

I have had quite a few failures this week which have dampened my mood, but there are times when one must say, "'Tis enough," and move forward. It began with my horrendous Hebrew oral recording first thing Monday morning. I was completely unprepared, as I immediately and horrifyingly discovered. --- I have just had the realization that I love using adverbs...I wonder if this is a bad thing? --- We had two readings to record and for some reason, perfectionism reared its ugly head. I did not finish both my readings in our designated time slot. I was mortified. It was all I could do not to lose it and run sobbing into the bathroom. This has never happened to me before with Hebrew. Somehow I managed to keep my cool - afterall, I had not thought over my options nor discussed them with my professor. If either of those near-future incidents turned sour, then I would allow myself the emotional punishment. I could not, however, keep myself from becoming detached from the lesson for the remainder of class. That stupid little sobbing bug kept biting me. But I made it through and told my professor that I hadn't finished the second recording. She was just as shocked as I was, "Alli, what happened?" I wanted to shout, "THAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT READING YOU COULD HAVE CHOSEN FOR OUR LEVEL AND I DIDN'T HAVE THE TIME TO PRACTICE YOUR STUPID READINGS! I'M APPLYING TO PHD PROGRAMS AN WANTED TO SPEND THANKSGIVING IN HAPPINESS!" But I more tactfully replied, "I was just being a perfectionist and lost track of time...hehe." She said that that was it and there was nothing I could do. That stupid sobbing bug came running back again, but I composed myself a second time and asked, "But what about the make-up date?" "Of course, that's what you have to do!" Oh, jeeze, thanks for making me panic, Prof; there was simple explanation the whole time. Luckily, I passed my first recording and the make-up is very soon. I was worried it would be held closer to the end of finals, like December 23rd or something evil like that.

Now I'm holding back panic attacks about my applications (the first one is due TOMORROW) and fear my writing sample isn't quite up to snuff. The last thing I want is for my writing sample to be the cause of my failure to become a PhD! So here I sit, in the fine arts library, pushing off the anxiety and limited time frame in which to fix up my writing sample while simultaneously completing my statement of purpose, Hebrew homework, and Akkadian translation. What I really want to do is scrap everything but Akkadian because Akkadian is my new love child and what I want to study for future research! Stupids...

16.11.11

San Francisco!

Wow, right now I'm really glad I asked the front desk to give my roommates and me the highest floor available - something is happening out on the street and I do not want to be down there to witness it!

Anyway, I've been having a really great time bonding with my little cousin Mateo and seeing Maddy and Bob! Mateo attached to me pretty quickly, actually, which made me really happy! He's so damned cute!!! I'll put pictures up if ever I get the 30 minutes to do it. Maddy has shown me some fun times in San Fran and was even kind enough to drop me off at Berkeley for my meeting.

I think the meeting went really well, despite what could have been interpreted as a very discouraging moment. Luckily, I've had to deal with a lot of very intelligent and blunt professors who don't take fluffiness or excuses, so I didn't get discouraged when this Berkeley professor responded to my interests as "very boring". He stated what he thought would be more interesting and I responded with, "Well yes, of course, I guess I didn't state my interests very well," and added a few more things and he was much more receptive to them. Now I know how NOT to word things for my statement of purpose for Berkeley! He also told me, quite truthfully, his pros and cons of the various programs and what he thinks might be more appropriate for my interests, based on what I had told him. The prof then introduced me to another professor I would most likely work with and found some students for me to talk to. Everyone invited me to find them at the conference to chat with them some more, which I took as a very good sign! I'm very excited! I was very grateful for everything he told me.

All in all, I love this city and I love the school and I love the program! I love everything about this place and I really really really want to get in here!!! My visit has only reaffirmed Berkeley as my top choice!

I will post on my explorations with Maddy, Bob, and Mateo when I finally upload my photos! I don't want to give away the fun without the pictures. ;)

7.11.11

Academic Conferences!

Not only am I attending the ASOR annual conference for the 4th time (and visiting with my big cousin!), I am also part of a committee that is organizing an academic conference for the spring for the graduate school. Suddenly I am super pumped about being a part of this, even if I don't feel I have any material that fits our topic ("Lost Texts"!). I have been put in charge of asking one of my Bible profs to be the keynote speaker! I'm psyched! Sadly, I've never worked with this professor, but if he agrees to be our keynote, it might mean that I get to work a little bit with him? Who knows. I just wanted to share my sudden excitement about organizing an academic conference!

31.10.11

The Downside of PhD Apps...

Thanks to filling out PhD applications, I now know exactly how much debt I'm in from student loans! I still have five to nine more years to watch the interest accumulate and possibly accrue more student loans! I AM NEVER GOING TO PAY ALL THIS OFF! *SOB*

TELL ME IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT!

26.10.11

Got Marx?

My theory class is constantly reminding me of how utterly lacking I am in so many things. Maybe I should blog about it each week. What else has Alli discovered she needs to read about?

This week I realized how little I can contribute to class discussions because I have never read any Karl Marx. What is the matter with me? Am I so entrenched in capitalist ways that I fear reading The Communist Manifesto? But it's not just his government theories, it's everything! He was such a brilliant and influential philosopher on all levels of society that his theories are still massively influential in anthropology, and therefore also in archaeology. I must read his works!

And anything on gender or queer theory. I need more of that...

On another note, I've recently decided that I want to know more about steampunk. We read about the Scientific Revolution this week and it made me remember a detective drama show I saw a few weeks ago - it wasn't NCIS...it may have been one of the more elaborate ones, like Psych or something...but it wasn't a comedy. I don't remember! What I do remember is that the murder was connected somehow to this underground movement (which does NOT condone murderous or violent behavior!) There is also an apartment in Chelsea that is decorated on this theme; you can see photos here. I want to understand more about this movement because it's so fanciful. Anyone have some good anime to recommend for steampunk? I know they're out there!!!

24.10.11

Christmas

Writing this paper about my family actually has me really excited for Christmas. And I hate talking about Christmas before the start of Advent, or even before Thanksgiving - let alone I'm thinking about it before Halloween!

This is probably enhanced by the rich evergreen smell coming from the closet in the library because the sukkah has been taken down and it was decorated with evergreens this year.

Alright, I have 10 pages written and I would like to have at least 15. This needs to go out by midnight!

22.10.11

Migraines?

I realized the other day that I think I might actually get migraines. I was complaining of a excessively lengthy headache and took off my glasses. Sometimes when I have a headache, my glasses feel oppressively heavy, particularly because my headaches tend to focus around my eyes and sinuses - even my eyeballs. As I took them off I remember exclaiming, "I'm even seeing those stupid little spots! I hate when I see the spots too!"

Then it hit me: I get migraines, damn it! I had never put all of that together before.

Well, right now I apparently am having another one. I've spent too much time in front of my computer today (as I sit here and type, heh) but I have a paper due! I think it's also from my repression of the PhD app stress in order to be more productive for my paper.

Also, I think I've added NYU to my list...still thinking about it, but it couldn't hurt to apply.

Now back to this amazing paper!

20.10.11

PhD Stress

As any student applying to a PhD program will tell you, applications are STRESSFUL. I've been very nervous and immensely excited by all of it. I have pretty much limited my top schools to two: UCLA and Berkeley. Yep, Cali. They would provide me with the rigorous and theory-based archaeology I hope to master, along with study in the ancient near eastern languages and cultures. They are very strong and competitive programs, but I have been in contact with a few faculty members I intend to work with while I'm there. That should give me a leg-up while I'm there.

University of Chicago is still on my list, but I'm very wary of their program. It is so intense that it takes an average of 9 years to complete the degree. NINE YEARS, and students are only provided funding for the first five! I thought that maybe applying to the Anthro department rather than the Near Eastern Studies department would cut short my 4 years of coursework, but no such luck. Since I will not have a Master's in something related to anthropology, I will need to get a master's through their program before moving on to the PhD. I would therefore need to study for the same number of years regardless. That is far too long, but I think I'm going to apply anyway.

I've also started to realize how much I absolutely love NYC and I don't feel ready to leave it. So I am also looking at NYU right now. Their Institute for the Study of the Ancient World sounds intriguing! I would only take one seminar course per "semester" (they don't really have semesters...) for 3 years. The rest is independently-based study. This could give me the flexibility to explore more theory and take advantage of all that the east coast can provide me (Boston to DC - think of all the universities I could still take advantage of!), all while still living in this fantastic city.

I also need to reach out again to Johns Hopkins, I think. I don't want to cut out options. Baltimore wouldn't be bad; I'd still be on the east coast! Notice how the programs I'm seriously considering go up and down the north east, across the northern mid-west, and settle on the west coast. Yep.

Alright, back to reading for my 20 page paper due Monday. I also plan to do my statement of purpose this weekend...

17.10.11

Are you going to San Fransisco?

You can be sure there will be flowersh in my hair...

I've just purchased my tickets out to San Fransisco and booked the hotel for ASOR. Oh man, too much money spent in one night, but it had to be done! For the sake of my future professional career and the enjoyment of seeing my cousin, whom I haven't seen in too long! Why do I still have a sick feeling from spending so much? Ha, my brother would say, "You're such a cheap sob!" Still, I managed to spend less than $700, which I would say is kind of impressive. Hopefully my fellow grad school board members will accept my application for reimbursement from the graduate school. Seriously though, if I find a flight to SFO for less than $300 before I leave, I think I'll puke.

This is not to say that I cannot afford it - yay for student loans! I just don't like spending money...

How does a grad student live off less than $7k a school year (after housing and tuition)? I have no idea either, but I do it!

Other necessities to cross off my purchasing list:
new phone
new cable for my camera so I can FINALLY put pictures up here again!

Actually, I think that's it! Sweet!

******

I finally visited with Denise and Melissa this weekend! It was a great time! Even though it was Penn State's homecoming, we managed to successfully avoid rambunctious frat crowds (though the buses were pretty epic). Denise and I gorged ourselves with the infamous Berkey Creamery ice cream and made the best damned chicken parm ever to enter Melissa's mouth. Seriously, she begged us to make it again for breakfast - we said no. We even made some super delicious sweet and spicy baked delicatta and butternut squash!

We bought fresh produce from the local farmers market and hung around the local comic book store and investigated numerous "hippie" shops. We explored the some of the little museums on campus; there's a geology display and fine arts museum. We also attended the LGBTQA (Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Queer and Allies) group's Coming Out Week Drag Show (attended by none other than drag queen Lady GayGay). Denise and I were The last thing we did was walk around the Arboretum and see the Thespian Society's rendering of Animal Farm, which was fantastic! And of course, what weekend with Denise would be complete without TV marathons of Merlin and Doctor Who? I even managed to finish my Hebrew homework!

All-in-all it was a much needed break from school and meeting of the trinity! I miss my two-thirds. ;_____:

7.10.11

Nervous!

I don't know why I am so nervous right now. I'm about to go to an "informal lecture" with a professor who teaches at Berkeley. I am not nervous about meeting this professor - she may be who I end up working with if (I mean, WHEN) I go to Berkeley - and I have many questions for her to help me in my decision-making. My archaeology prof right now says he'd be willing to introduce me to her. What am I nervous about then? Going to an informal lecture with a group of people I don't know. What is the matter with me? Really, I have some serious butterflies right now. Why am I more nervous about being with peers and colleagues I don't know than meeting a big name academic?

25.9.11

Oktoberfest!

Unfortunately, I was stupid enough to forget my camera, so I do not have awesome pictures from Katy and my adventure to Bear Mountain Oktoberfest! However, it was a very nice time, despite waking up at the butt-crack of dawn. We boarding a "cruise boat" (read: sightseeing ferry) at Pier 83 and headed up the Hudson River at 9am. It was a very enjoyable and mostly peaceful ride with a beautiful scenery of the beginnings of fall colors in New York. After two and half hours on the ferry, we docked at the foot of Bear Mountain and "hiked" up the "trail" to "the top" of the mountain. What really happened was we walked a paved foot path part way up the mountain.

Everyone kept telling us there was this steep trail to march up 15-20 minutes to the very top of the mountain that was almost closed off from being washed away in Friday's torrential rains. In reality there was a paved trail, completely free of debris, that took us 5 minutes to walk up. I do not call this a mountain trail, especially having just really hiked the Appalachian Trail. I kept hearing people say, "What a dirty trail! Look at all this dirt!" in disgusted voices and some women were wearing high heals and designer jeans with their expensive purses! All Katy and I could do was shake our heads in shame at the city folk's  ignorance of what being in nature and enjoying a real Oktoberfest is all about. So sad.

However, the fest itself was wunderbar! A cute little lake park with an ovular roofed stone structure where the polka band played and the beer garden was set up. I had a bratwurst (I had forgotten what a knockwurst was and felt extreme shame and disappointment when I remembered how much more delicious the latter is) with sauerkraut and caramelized onions. Katy had some potato pancakes with apple sauce and sour cream and we shared a classic German potato salad. We each had two of the tremendously tasty Oktoberfest bier brewed from the famous Spaten M√ľnchen brewery. Oh how wonderful to taste the deliciousness of a true German beer!

We viewed some of the vendors set up around the site and I bought a new belt! I'm pretty sure the one I bought at the Army/Navy store for Gezer was snatched up by the Tel Aviv airport authority during my insane search when leaving Israel. So now I have a new replacement. :)

We also made a stunning discovery with some of the traditional German toys: They were selling "football noisemakers" that looked exactly like traditional Purim Graggers! During the Jewish holiday of Purim, Jews use "graggers" to drown out the name of Haman during the reading of the story of Esther. It was pretty crazy. It's always so interesting to me to see the similarities between Jewish/Ashkenazi customs and German customs. Another example is the potato pancake. We were served delicious kartaffelnpuffer (in German) with apple sauce and/or sour cream as a dipping option. Traditionally, latkes (Yiddish) are eaten during Hanukkah with either apple sauce or sour cream. IT'S THE SAME THING! I love seeing similarities between Jewish and non-Jewish customs.

Anyway, after a lovely afternoon of drinking, eating, and listening all things German, Katy and I returned to our abode exhausted and happy. It was a very nice day!

15.9.11

Best. Day. Ever!

Yesterday was the one of the best days I've ever had! It was totally ordinary but it was such a good day!

I woke up and realized I didn't have milk for my coffee, so I went to the corner store to get milk and bagels for Katy and I for breakfast. On my way out, I noticed the package list on our notice board. I saw my last name but thought, what the hell is wrong with my name??? It read: A. H.G. Davis. I knew immediately it was a package from Melissa! Who else would write "Holy Ghost" for my middle name? YAY!!!

Then on my way to class I saw the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was an older black woman, maybe in her 60s, wearing very natural clothing and the perfect most beautifully groomed and styled afro I have ever seen, made all the more beautiful by the silvery gleam of her curls. I was awed.

In my first class, Maria walked in wearing yellow jeans. I'm going to refer to the color as "maize" because it was literally the nicest yellow I have ever seen. This was made all the more spectacular by the sheer courage Maria had to wear brightly colored pants. I was overwhelmed by the color and her courage. Amazing.

On my way to my second class, I saw the second most beautiful woman in the world: again an older black woman (again probably in her 60s) wearing lose-fitting clothing. Her beautiful silver hair was cropped close and she had a cloth band wrapped around her hairline. I have now decided older black women with silver hair are the most beautiful women in the world.

My archaeology class made me realize how thoroughly lacking in anthropological/archaeological theory I am, yet I am very excited (ravenous, really) to learn more.

I returned back to the room to the glorious smell of homemade honey-wheat bread baking away in our bread-maker. Delicious. It made my tummy rumble.

Also, I've been approved for my extra loan and it looks like it will actually be made available to me next week and not in 4 weeks like I was thinking it would. I should double check on that though...

Dinner turned out to super delicious, too. I cooked up brown rice and lentils and mixed in some onion, green onion, green peppers, carrots (yes, I ate cooked carrots!), garlic, and a little bit of spicy seasonings, chili pepper, curry powder, paprika, and ground cloves. It smelled delicious AND tasted delicious! I was super proud of myself. I made it just in time for Rachel and Katy to get home from a short run!

Like I said, really a very ordinary day made extraordinary simply by being aware of myself and my surroundings.

9.9.11

End of the First Week!

Classes are going to be awesome this year!

Wednesday I had my Psalms and Archaeology classes. Psalms is going to be great, studying the various theologies therein and the hidden, edited or removed theologies of the popular religion, as opposed to the official religion, of the ordinary people (such as an extensive angelology - a hierarchy of angels and heavenly beings surrounding God). ooooo!

The archaeology class is called Social Production of Technologies, looking at what exactly is "technology"; how do our bodies relate to the technologies we create? We're covering an enormous breadth of time and space, looking at prehistoric civilizations and beginnings of animal husbandry and agriculture; moving to the Mediterranean with the Greeks and Romans; the Middle East and The Book; the Scientific Revolution and Western Industrialization; and finally ending with modern "technology", and how gender studies affects how we understand space and technology. Super awesome! I'm so excited to get back into archaeological/anthropological theory! There were so many people in the class (almost 40!) that the prof was saying he'd have to give preferential treatment to MA and PhD students in socio-cultural anthropology and archaeology. I was afraid I didn't fit those categories, as I am technically a Bible student, but I talked with him after class and he was very excited to have me in the class. Yay!

Yesterday I had my Akkadian class! We're going to cover the entire Law Code of Hammurabi! I can already recite the first three words! Shu-ma a-wi-lum a-wi-lam... "If a man [accuses] a man..." I added "accuses" even though it's not a part of the first three words because otherwise it wouldn't make sense to you all reading. However, that is the verb in the first half of the sentence. I just don't know the word for it yet. Dr. Marcus is so fun. He was saying how very soon we would all be a part of an elite group of scholars who can stand up and recite the first law code to each other; that if he called us at 3am, we'd be able to recite it in our sleep. haha. I am so pumped to be able to read the cuneiform! There is a massive list of the signs sitting right in front of me as I speak - and they're just the simple signs! The course continues with a second half next semester where we will read the annals of Sennacherib and the Descent of Ishtar! 

As of yet, I cannot tell whether Akkadian or the archaeology class will be my favorite. By mid-terms, I might be saying Akkadian, if only because it will be significantly less work. haha.

6.9.11

Class Update!

Classes went very well today! Hebrew started off a little rocky. It's been a while since I've been in an all-Hebrew environment, so I wasn't ready for the mind-set. Also, the prof has a really thick accent, nothing at all like Nadav's (former Israeli prof), so she was a little difficult to understand at first. By the end of class I was back on track!

Masorah was AMAZING. I arrive to the room to find facsimiles of the Leningrad Codex, Aleppo Codex and Cairo Codex of the Prophets. AWESOME! Oh man, I was nearly in heaven. It was a great day. Also, Dr. Marcus is just one of the greatest professors ever. I love having him as my advisor.

Tomorrow is my archaeology class at Columbia, "Social Productions of Technology"!! I'm nervous about taking a class at Columbia but I'm so excited to get into some serious archaeological study again. I also have a class on the theology of the Book of Psalms tomorrow. My biblical poetry is poor at best, so I'm hoping to beef it up with this class and the phantasmal knowledge collection that is Dr. Geller.

Still longing for my most looked-forward class: Akkadian!

I hope I'm not overloaded this semester!

5.9.11

First Day of Classes!

Yay! First day of classes tomorrow! I start off first thing in the morning with Modern Hebrew and then a lat afternoon class, "An Introduction to the Masorah". In a simple explanation, "Masorah" refers to the little symbols and cryptic notes that were written into the margins of the biblical scrolls as they were copied through the centuries. I'm going to the learn what they are!

Unfortunately I must wait until my class section on Thursday to have my first lesson for the class I am most excited about: Akkadian! I can't wait!!

31.8.11

Back in NYC

Yay! I'm back! I didn't realize how much I missed this city until I saw the skyline, well before we made it to the tunnels. I love being here, even with the bus/truck/horns/construction work out on Broadway right now that are rampaging in my apartment now and drowning out the music I'm playing on my computer.

My internet is not working in my room. Nuts. Fortunately, Katy and I were able to talk our RA into opening up the other rooms in our apartment to "air them out" *stealsomefurniture* and the internet in Katy's room is working. So I'm stealing her internet until they come fix mine. Everything was surprisingly clean! I'm not sure if that's because we scrubbed this place till it sparkled before we left or if they actually did clean it before we arrived. I was told that some people did stay here over the summer, but I don't know if it was this apartment.

Yesterday I successfully submitted my encyclopedia entry! Writing a 1500 character (including spaces) piece is insanely difficult. That's less than a page/two small paragraphs! But this means I'll be published (if they decide to include the piece)!!! I had to sign a contract and everything! I feel special, like I did something important, took one small step towards advancing my career! Now I just need to get the PhD applications rolling and all will be well!


23.8.11

Final Countdown!

It's starting to come to a close! Just a few more days until I move back to NYC! I have a lot left to do (including some major Hebrew studying). There's not much to pack but enough to make me start feeling rushed.

I spent the afternoon yesterday with Cassie shopping. It was a lot of fun and a good time (and successful, even though I didn't get what I went for).

I still have three days left of working but you gotta do what you gotta do to get some money for school!

Alright, back to packing and studying.

5.8.11

Too Pooped to Poop but Ready for the Challenge

Man, the last two weeks have left me EXHAUSTED. Six day hike on the Appalachian Trail followed immediately by a day of work and then three days at Cape Lookout, NC! I did sleep in more than usual this morning (9:45!) but I am still feeling out of it, even after two cups of coffee!

It was a really nice two week, though. I cleared my mind of a lot of things and set my emotions in check. I pushed myself to new limits and, though I didn't always meet them with grace, I know what I can do. I learned a lot about myself and further set myself on track. I was already feeling confident about the direction my future was headed after Gezer, but now I'm sure of it. I took back all my confidence and then some. I have overcome all my emotional baggage and am prepared for the extremely difficult six months ahead of me. Though I am not feeling particularly focused at the moment, my mind is set in one direction and I am ready for the challenges ahead.

There's a lot to do but I am organizing myself and I am not going to give up. I am feeling stronger than ever (emotionally and physically), my endurance is high, and my self-reliance is set. I will achieve what I want and I will find whatever way into it necessary, but I've made back-up plans because I still remember the pangs of failure.

The last two weeks have taught me to minimize necessities, be thankful for what I have, and appreciate the people in my life. These have been the most life altering and stone-setting weeks of my life and I will never forget them. I needed these experiences more than I realized.

20.7.11

Back in the USA

Well I'm back. I wasn't quite ready to leave Israel because I'd been there a whole week shorter than usual. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and really missed everyone I was so used to seeing every summer. I'm really going to miss it since it's not happening again next summer. It's such a unique experience and it's starting to feel like a return home.

Now I'm just coping with some severe exhaustion and trying to get things together for my excursion on the Appalachian trail with Denise, Hazel and Mr. Flack! Hazel has informed me that Monday night calls for thunderstorms. Awesome. Luckily that reminded me that I need to get me a couple pairs of good socks.

Tomorrow I'm spending the day at the library yet again to get hopefully what is the last of the research I need for my little research project. I'm going to bed early tonight to try to catch up on some sleep and make myself get up early!

9.7.11

A Sort of Day Off

Blah, I'm getting a soar throat from a post nasal drip! Stupid ancient dirt and air conditioning drying out my sinuses!

This weekend is much more relaxed. I'll be catching up on paperwork today (I also slept in!), maybe hitting the pool, since I haven't been there yet since I've arrive. Tomorrow we're all heading for a special tour of the recently discovered sewer system in the City of David and the newly renovated and reopened Israel museum. I'm feeling pretty groggy from sleeping in on some choppy sleep but I'm glad to have a small break.

It looks like I again am one of the supervisors who will continue digging after our official last day of digging (there's usually a couple areas chosen to keep digging for various reasons). This means that yet again I will be continuing paperwork after most everyone else is finished with paperwork! Good thing I got an early start and kept on top of things along the way this year.

I still need to make some time for a short visit with some Israeli friends and a trip back to Hebrew University or the Albright for some final research on my little publication project!

Hmm...I think I need some time at the pool...

3.7.11

Galilee

To begin, all photos can be seen on my facebook album: click here

This weekend the family took a trip to the Galilee region.

Let me backtrack. By "family" I mean the little family I'm a part of here at Gezer: mom and dad are Marcella and Trey, and then there's the 5 children, Lesley, Jared, Ryan, Kirsten, and me. This has so been named because Marcella and Trey were the only ones old enough to put their names down as drivers for our rental car and there are 7 of us total who wanted to go in on a car together for travel. A purple Kia Carens with a third row of seats. It's cramped but has been a ton of fun.

We began our weekend trek with a stop off at Caesarea Maritima to see the Roman ruins and swim in the Mediterranean. Herod the Great had built a great harbor and city here. We were hoping to get in some snorkeling, but the water was too rough and they weren't letting anyone out, not even to dive. I do not have photos of this spot, but I'm sure someone has tagged me in some awesome pics on the FB. Next we wanted to see Mount Carmel. Unfortunately we ended up getting lost in a Druze village and it was quite late by the time we found our way out. At least I got to practice my Hebrew directions three or four times. It was so late by this time that we realized we had to get to our hostel for check-in. We were too exhausted for anything else, and the parks were all closed anyway.

We stayed at the well-hidden and fairly okay Tiberias Hostel. At least it was fairly clean, offered us private rooms with private baths, AC and a TV. After a very late dinner on the boardwalk and a deep deep night of sleep, we set out Saturday for our next adventure.

Jared realized he'd left his sneakers at Caesarea the day before and wanted to find somewhere to get new shoes. Unfortunately, the only places to go on Shabbat are Arab villages, which can be few and far between when you're looking for something specific. We made a stop at Rosh Pina only to find out everything was closed. Fail. We moved on to our next destination: Tel Dan, the beautiful nature preserve. We enjoyed a lovely hike through a familiar and cool forest, finishing it off with a quick game of Pooh Stick between Lesley and me at the freezing cold spring beginning the Jordan River.

Then we were off to the fortress at Nimrod, the largest fortress in all of Israel. It was so high and so crazy! Trey got some awesome panoramics of us. I'll have to see if I can steal some of them. We then made a very quick stop at...I can't even remember the place. Wow. We had to run through the site. It was a synagogue complex made almost entirely from basalt stone... It'll come to me.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the AC, watching VH1's Best Soundtracks countdown, and eating pizza on the boardwalk.

This morning we made a quick pit-stop at Bet-She'an to climb to the top. Most of us had all seen this site before (Roman city destroyed in an earthquake) but had never climbed up to the highest point where the temple was. I'm very glad we did this because I did not know they had preserved an Egyptian governor's mansion! This is the first time I have ever seen evidence on a site of Egyptian habitation in Israel! It's always removed and placed in museums all over the world, but there were Egyptian hieroglyphs and stelae!

And that was my very busy but very enjoyable weekend! Check FB for photos!

23.6.11

So Tired but Having a Blast!

It is so refreshing to be working back at Gezer! I'm so happy to be back! I've been going non-stop but I wouldn't have it any other way. Alright, maybe an extra hour or so added to my day to spend some time at the pool.

I got an email from one of my professors who is an editor for a biblical encyclopedia and he asked me to write a teeny article for it! If I just spend a day at Hebrew University's library in Jerusalem, then I think I could do it, no problem! It would be pretty kick ass!

People are finding things all over the place on the Tel except me! I guess this year fate has given me time off from finding cool things and having mountains of paperwork to do! Still exhausted when I go to bed each night, though. I love falling asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

14.6.11

Busy Week

Last week and this week have been so busy. I only have two days where I'll have time to pack for Israel and gather together the last lose ends for my look for Kim's wedding! GAH! I also desperately need to finish the last chapter and final summary of the Hebrew book so I don't have to take two Hebrew books with me to Israel.

This weekend is going to be SO EXCITING!

8.5.11

One Year Down...

I have successfully completed my first year of graduate school! It was successful, I've made a ton of new friends and connections, and I've broadened my mind more than I have in a long long time.

This last semester was the roughest I've ever had to go through but I've made it and now I can focus on my summer and planning for PhD applications in the fall!

I'm so glad it's all done...what a relief...

28.4.11

Procrastination...it's a bitch!

I have 3 papers all due next week grossing over 50 pages and what am I doing? Updating my blog! It's okay, at least I do have one page for each of them started. ;)

I went to an art gallery opening tonight at the JTS library and I know two of the artists in residence! It was a lot of fun, especially since I know so many people there. Graduate school really is so much...different than I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, it's absolutely amazing and I imagined that it would be amazing, but not this kind of amazing.

People are so warm and friendly and welcoming. I managed to make some really great friendships and everyone really supports the heck out of each other! I mean, come on, grad school's tough! I didn't imagine there would be this much comradery! Everyone is so supportive and caring; everyone's there for the same thing, but what the hell, we need to make the most of it, too!

Today was also the last day of my lunchtime reading program. My child was pretty upset that we weren't going to see each other next week or for the rest of the summer. But I told her I'd make sure we were paired up together again next year. It's nice that the program let's us do that.

Today has been very strange, weather-wise. But right now the view is absolutely gorgeous.

I also emailed a woman in charge of group visitor volunteering at the MET (thanks to a lovely friend with whom I went to school and is currently volunteering there). I don't really need a museum internship but I figured at least being able to get in there and do something, anything, would be good. This would be for next school year. Looking forward to hearing back about that!

Alright, I only have maybe an hour left of time alone in my room, so I better make the most of it by being as productive as I can!

15.4.11

An Awkward Experience

I had the most awkward and semi-frightening experience in my life tonight. We decided to go for a late night dinner at Tom's Diner and of course I got a milkshake. mmm. Near the end of our enormous and delicious meals I noticed a very animated figure looking into the diner at me through the street window. It was the homeless guy who frequents the diner, waiting for diners with extra change in their pockets. He was laughing and pointing wildly at me and my plate of fries. I tried to hide my face in humiliation as I desperately tried to explain why my face was suddenly red without moving my mouth in case he could read lips! Katy nearly squirt her milkshake out her nose she was laughing so hard. He taunted me for a good 5 minutes before walking around the corner, cigarette dangling out his mouth, laughing and pointing, and finally disappearing from view.

WHY ME?!

11.4.11

Looking forward to the summer!

Yay! I have work for the summer! Looks like my summer will be equal parts work, play, and study!

Work = working at the home and digging!
Play = digging and Israel!
Study = Hebrew, German, and French independent language study!

This summer is going to fly by!

19.3.11

Stuart is currently back in the USA and sleeping off a 30+ hour trip home.

15.3.11

He's leaving. He just bought a ticket to LA and from there he'll get a ticket home. Thank God. Just, thank God.

Alright

Wow, it's been way too long since my last post. I didn't really have much to update on other than school. There were a few fun parties but not enough time to update because of the enormous amounts of school work. I managed to pull off a rather amateurish presentation on god-king relationships in Ancient Near Eastern cultures as a comparison to the YHWH-Moses relationship, at least a face-to-face relationship. Hm, maybe rather than focusing on horn-imagery I'll may look more in-depth to various levels of the god-king relationship... I think I like this idea. Good thing I'm meeting with the prof today.

Outside of school-work, life has been rough. Stuart and I had a long rocky time which ended with...an end. To top it all off, the earthquake and its currently horrendous aftermath have me constantly worried. He doesn't have the money to buy a plane ticket home, but I told him to go to the embassy and see what they can do for him if things get to a breaking point.

I've just been taking things one day at a time and throwing myself into doing a million things to keep myself super busy. I don't think there's been a day so far this semester where I haven't just let myself sleep until waking; I always wake up to my alarm. I wouldn't finish any homework otherwise.

Crap, speaking of homework, I forgot that I didn't finish my homework for today. Back to work...

3.2.11

Volunteering for Little Kids

As much as I decided that I am never going back into teaching on any level below collegiate, I find myself missing the little kids. Last semester I signed up to be volunteer for a program called "Everybody Wins: Power Lunch", where an adult volunteers to spend their lunch hour reading with the same child one day a week every week in public school.

Today was my first day! I'm reading with a second grader and she is just adorable! I had such a good time with her. After filling out a get-to-know-each-other form provided by the program, we decorated her journal book, and she picked out a book to read, "Rumpelstiltskin." She did a very good job reading and seems very excited by the idea of reading. We didn't get to finish the book this week, though. We got up to the part after the king marries the miller's daughter for spinning the straw into so much gold, when she has the baby and Rumpelstiltskin returns to claim the baby and gives her three days to guess his name in order for her to keep her baby. We just got to the second day, ending at a very interesting spot. We're just about to reach the climax! Oooooh maaaaan. I felt so good leaving, too.

Since leaving my little teaching job I've really missed not being around kids or doing any kind of volunteering. But now I'm back into volunteering AND being with kids, so I'm feeling really good. I was so nervous about meeting her, too! But I think it's going to be a good second half of the year with her. :) I can't wait till next week when we finish our book!

Though I did have some horror memories come back from the lunch room! I had to actually walk through the lunch room in the school to get to the reading room. I definitely did not envy the teachers who were desperately trying to get the kids' attention to form orderly and quiet lines in preparation to get back to the class rooms and resume work.

20.1.11

This is going to be a busy semester...

This semester is going to be very challenging! I have a lot of work for two of my classes and the end of the semester is going to be VERY rough. I must plan ahead. My 5 classes are:

Moses Traditions: We'll be discovering how the Bible portrays Moses as a political/military/religious leader for the Israelites and as a Divine figure (but that he is NOT God); What he Egyptian or Israelite?; How he fits into the Hero motif of the ancient Near East as a whole. This class will be a TON of reading (Garfinkel has literally 7 or 8 pages of bibliography that we will be reading. Thank GOD he's putting them up on blackboard) and a TON of preparation of various Torah passages, consisting of translating directly from the Hebrew with the help of various Bible commentaries. NO TEXT BOOK! YES!

The Book of Job: We have a visiting professor from Princeton Seminary; his name is Leong Seow ("Seow, rhymes with 'meow'") and is currently a part of Princeton's intense collaborative work on a new collective Bible commentary. He's writing one for Job, which is why he's teaching the class; it's currently at the publisher's and it's 1500 pages. We'll be dissecting the first part of the Job story: it's language, forms, poetry, meanings, etc. Seow informed us that it is the single most difficult book of the Bible to understand, the old rabbis absolutely hated talking about it and therefore wrote very little about it, and yet everyone heralded it as the most beautiful work of literature ever created, from religious scholars to famous authors. We will be reviewing large chunks of it at a time. We'll need to prepare each section by translating, considering the difficulty of the language and questioning it's forms. Then we'll use Seow's commentary (which he'll be putting up on blackboard!) and then other commentaries for whatever we're having trouble with.

Hebrew 1101: Not as awesome as when we had Nadav because our new teacher is not a native Hebrew speaker. Way too much of our first class was in English. However, Nadav is our lab teacher, so we will still see him once a week! I've already finished all my homework due for Monday. It's going to be the same thing, lots of busy work that is actually quite simple and I'll be finished quickly.

Classics of Jewish Tradition II: This is the second half of a required course on various writings throughout the history of Judaism on the religion and the Bible. Our first class was filled with a lot of emotion and personal feelings on belief and belonging in Judaism. Pretty much that meant I felt quite left out. Ha! But that was what the first class was planned to be like, apparently, and hopefully the rest of our classes will go the way the professor wants it to go, which will be the professor lecturing on the historical background of our reading for class and then a discussion of the reading. I'm hoping it will be much less emotional. Again, no text book, the readings will be posted on blackboard.

Aramaic of the Dead Sea Scrolls: This is the class I am most excited about and of course it's the only one I have not had. It starts on Monday and is only on Mondays, as all of my classes are only once a week except Hebrew. I am not sure what to expect, other than learning how Aramaic is different from Hebrew and reading lots and lots of DSS!!! *squeeeeeeeee!!!* Not sure if there will be a text book, but I am expecting at least some kind of workbook or binder explaining the grammar and idioms of Aramaic. This is also my first class with my adviser, which I am absolutely psyched about! He's such a sweet old man and I'm looking forward to the chance to forming a better relationship with him, because I am quite at a loss about how to focus my studies here and what I'm going to write my thesis on.

Well, there is how my semester is expected to go: a TON of work! But I was expecting that anyway since I'm actually taking 3 graduate level classes plus a required class plus Hebrew, whereas the normal grad student is taking 2 Hebrew classes plus 2 maybe 3 graduate level classes.

Time for me to get some breakfast and head off to the library to get a huge chunk of work out of the way before heading home this weekend!