This is my second Winter Term on The College of Idaho campus, so I naively figured going into this January that I'd learned all the most important lessons about this accelerated 4-week period. Then I got back the first day and reminded myself of one very important thing: at C of I, if you're not learning something new or experencing new things every day, then you're doing something very wrong. Just because Winter Term is short doesn't mean there's nothing to be gained from it.
Well, tonight is the last in Paris before we catch the Eurostar back to London tomorrow. My friend Jenette and I celebrated by going out to dinner at an actual restaurant. We've been subsisting largley on the nearby grocery shop, boulangerie, and "big panini place" for the last week, so tonight was a nice break. And since we'd had more than our fair share of baguettes, croissants, and crepes, we went in a different direction and tried out escargot.
So I have always had mixed feelings about winter term here at The College of Idaho. On one end, we concentrate on one class, which is really, really nice, but on the other, we blaze through the term in four weeks. This gets a bit hectic.
Two years ago, I had no idea what an academic conference was. I assumed that professors and researchers just kind of hid in their labs and wrote things that only their obscure peers would read. Two years ago, I didn’t know anything about the active research process across any science, and I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be willing to buy a plane-ticket and drop a massive fee to hang out in a convention center with a bunch of psychologists.
I love Winter Term. Having three-hour classes sounded a little daunting to me, and knocking out credits in just four weeks sounded stressful, but it turns out that it's been everything but stressful. I’m taking two classes: Engineering Analysis and Intro to CAD. They are both on the computer, but that means that I don’t have too much homework outside of class. My first class doesn’t start until the afternoon. But wait, it gets even better: I don’t have any classes at all on Fridays!
It's day four of my Paris trip, and so far I've been alternating between eating pastries and looking at great art. There's an abundance of both in the city of lights. I'm going to have a hard time going back to eating croissants from Albertson's after this trip.
Today I visited the Tuileries, a park in the heart of Paris. While I assume it's at its most grand in the springtime, it was impressive in the snow. Thanks to the snow, the ground in the park was just as white as the surrounding buildings, all of which are ornate and noteworthy.
It’s day seven for the London group, and today is our last in London for a bit. We’re all headed separate ways for side trips—there are some people Paris-bound, others heading for Bath, and a few for Scotland. I’m in the Paris group, and tomorrow, my three Paris-bound companions and I will be getting up around 5 am to catch the Tube up to St. Pancras station, where we will get on a Eurostar train to France. Two hours later, and we’ll be in the heart of Paris. But even with an early start tomorrow, we’re making the most of our London time.
When everyone came home from Christmas break, we adopted a few communal pets on our floor. We have one beta fish, one sucker fish, two goldfish, one "yard fish" which was found last summer in someone's irrigation sprinkler, and two shrimp.
The beta has its own tank, but all of the other fish live in a tank on a table in our fishbowl. We're working on a system to organize who will take care of them.
I've never been a big fan of fish as pets. They are cool to watch, and to write dialog for, but for the most part, they are pretty boring, and gross to clean up after.
Only three days into the London trip, and I’m exhausted. London is jam-packed with things to do, places to go, sights to see. At the end of the day, London leaves me visually overwhelmed and with one tired pair of feet. It’s a very good type of tired though, a type that comes with having not wasted a minute of the day.