Wednesday, June 29, 2005

yet another placeholder post

well, my darlings, i am safely home and all in one piece, too! despite having schlepped an extremely heavy, filled-to-the-brim duffle bag and a stuffed laptop bag all over God's Green Earth (read: onto a plane in chicago, off a plane in tokyo, and then back on another plane in tokyo, and off again in singapore), and -i am proud proud proud of this- lifting my 68 lb big black samonite off the baggage carousel in Singapore and onto a luggage cart, unassisted. (shame on you, lazy singaporean men who stood ard and watched me struggle! but i put some muscle into it, and got it accomplished in the end.) the flight was long and miserable - i think i was allergic to the plane!- but on the tokyo-singapore leg i was seated next to a lady who went to grad sch at the U of C, and we immediately became absorbed in a conversation about hyde park and the good ol' days. she was on a fulbright-funded trip to Southeast Asia to study comparative religions, so we also got into a big discussion about religion and politics and all the sorts of things you're not supposed to discuss at polite dinner-table conversations. ah, the U of C, and its alums, she sighs.

am jetlagged out of my mind, which is my excuse for missing Ying's party this evening- my heartfelt apologies to those i shall not see for another month because of my missing it - you know who you are- and also my reason for being awake at one am yet again, despite having been totally unable to keep my eyes open three hours ago. bah, i say. plus my tummy thinks i have deprived it of lunch -i was not hungry at dinnertime- and now sits complaining as i type. am still feeling ambivalent about being back. (my room is too small for all my stuff! and there is not enough storage space, or bookshelves, or mirrors -yes i am vain- and i can't for the life of me see how i can arrange it so that there will be enough. perhaps when my brain is less fogged up.) unpacking is proceeding at a snail's pace - the duffle and the backpack have had their contents removed and redistributed but not necessarily put away- it's just too hard to find them their proper places when i am so out of it. unpacking is harder than unpacking- the disorder in my room grows by the minute.

perhaps i would never have been ready to leave, though. as i told amanda this morning - perhaps we are never ready to leave. it just has to be done and done fast, without thinking about it - like pulling off a bandaid and hoping it doesn't hurt too much, that you aren't reopening a wound, yanking off a scab. and when the pain and flurry subsides, the deed is done, and cannot be undone.

(actually, the real reason i am still up and bustling abt at this ungodly hour is not that i am jetlagged -i can be jetlagged in bed under the covers rather than at my desk- but rather i am working on putting my music on a new iPod -from mommy- which entailed somehow getting the music off the old one -which my brother has inheirited, he having killed his being caught in the rain- and loading it onto the pBook, which it is doing very slowly now. ahhh Appletalk, what would we do without you. but in any case, once that is done i shall seek my bed.)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

back in civilisation at last!

rolled into chicago this afternoon after alex battled city traffic for the first time in almost two weeks. tired now - spent the day running ard helping shum and amanda move things, and moving my stuff into the hotel (my parents and i are in a suite! i have my own bathroom!), and then going out to dinner at Fogo de Chao. and i just spent like an hour packing my crap and repacking it. fingers crossed that everything will eventually fit into bagspace that is currently available. -groan- i have so much STUFF.

more updates re: the Yellowstone adventure when i get back to Singapore and look at the bazillion pictures dad took -there are bound to be some halfway decent ones of me and my parents and alex and amos there. right? but for now --

tomorrow is my last day in chicago.

i think i'm going to spend it like my favourite days in chicago are spent -- shopping, walking up and down the MagMile, ducking into starbucks for an iced coffee on a summer day where temperatures inch toward 100F. people-watching, and carrying shopping bags, and talking to strangers and their dogs, and wondering where they come from and where they are going. seeing the chicago skyline against an impossibly blue summer sky. watching the sailboats out on Lake Michigan, their tiny white sails against a lake whose colour is never the same two days in a row. complaining about the heat, and loving every minute of it. it seems a fitting way to say goodbye -or at least, 'til we meet again'- to this wonderful city that has become my second home.

Monday, June 20, 2005

happy father's day

hello boys and girls:

coming up again to say

Happy Father's Day

to my dad. who -i'm ashamed to admit- had to remind me of this fact this morning. however, considering that for the last two weeks i haven't really known what day it was or what time, it's not surprising i failed to recall it was sunday. (in my defence, i knew sunday was father's day.)

back to internet-silence, for a while more. check out the LJ for important public service announcement, singers.

later, 'gators -

J.

Friday, June 17, 2005

yellowstone update

ok, so i was mistaken -- i have just enough time to post a filler post to let people know where i am and what i'm doing, etc etc. am in west yellowstone, MT, in a motel two blocks away from the west entrance to the Yellowstone National Park. we drove here -road trip!- we being my parents, alex, his brother amos, and i, all piled into a Ford Expedition ( we started out in a Nissan Armada, but it had brake issues - NOT GOOD.) driving the 1600 miles from chicago to here. got here two days ago. no cellphone reception, no email (we are in a bar checking email believe it or not). therefore much silence.

the yellowstone experience has been good thus far - bison, elk, babies of all kinds, osprey, bald eagles. photos will be forthcoming, along with more description. gotta go now, but i figured if i didn't update soon i would get testy emails of complaint (you know who you are...).

later, 'gators -

love,
J.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

convocation

Convocation is over and i have safely graduated from the U of C. it was a beautiful, sunny, incredibly hot day in Hyde Park, and walking from Ratner (where the Class of 2005 had assembled for the last time as a class) to Harper Quad for the ceremony, i just -stared at the buildings, drinking in the sights and sounds and smells of campus one more -one last- time, before i leave. the way the sun warms the stone of the buildings, in the summer; the way the air hangs thick and heavy, like home, and is filled with cottonwood and the scent of flowers and of heat. one last time walking through Hull Gate like we own the place, straight through the middle of the quads into Harper Quad, two by two, down a narrow aisle pressed on either side by friends and family, following the sound of bagpipes and the sight of our class banner and the school crest floating ahead of us, just like the first day when we moved in. all i could think was -this is it. one last time. i'm all done here. all done.

the ceremony went well -- i wound up sitting with someone i knew, thankfully, and we snarked our way through the three hour ceremony, it was good fun -- i didn't trip and fall, or lose a shoe, despite their being incredibly painful (why'd i wear them, you ask? they're pretty, doh.). i got the right diploma. it didn't rain. one of the student speakers was "That Guy" from hum class or soc class - you know That Guy, the one who always has something to say, who's done the EXTRA reading, or hasn't done ANY reading and is bullshitting his way through. That Guy.

and afterward, i couldn't find anyone in the crush. so -- i apologise to those of you i didn't get to see, or hug, or take a picture with, or say a proper goodbye to. it's been a pleasure and a privilege to have met you, and spent time with you, and shared four years of this incredibly insane ride with you. being here at the U of C has changed me -in profound ways- and a lot of that is because of you - how you've taken me into your lives, and made me your friend. i know that in all likelihood i shan't see most of you again -the world is small, but it's not THAT small, and i live on the other side of it- so i'd just like to say thanks. and cheers, to the good times. good luck and godspeed. =)

to those who are at home - i'll be back soon. photos forthcoming, and all that. packing proceeds apace -tonight is the last night in my apartment here on 55th Street. then it's off to Yellowstone, and then it's off to home, four years of my life packed into two suitcases, and a lifetime of memories crammed inside my head. i have no doubt that this time, as the plane leaves the tarmac at o'hare, my eyes will be filled once more with tears.

Friday, June 10, 2005

spent this morning thoroughly annoying people by mailing 130 pounds of books home to Singapore. manhandling the boxes of books down to the car, then from the car to the post office, then the whole process of writing out customs labels, weighing out the packages, then muscling them into the bins...was really painful and frustrating. not to mention it turned out my box of winter clothes was too large, and i had to buy two littler boxes and break it down right there and then in the post office. gah.

the parentals are here - got in this morning - gonna spend tomorrow downtown shopping, if my body holds up - tired already! and graduation isn't even here yet, and i'm not done packing --

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

moving is a pain

who knew i had so much CRAP?

-moan-

back to packing -- will come up for air after graduation --

Friday, June 03, 2005

done.

i'm all done.

took my last final -the words running through my head over and over, in counterpoint to frantic attempts by scurrying braincells to retrieve information about Rawski's book (safely ensconced in my bag!) and the Taiping Rebellion, 'last final last final last final'- and turned in my last paper. and so i'm all done.

all that's left is to wrap up my four years here at Convocation in a week. and of course pack up my apartment and send my things home, and prepare to leave -without looking back- no more escape route, no more bolt hole. it will be strange to not be returning in the fall; to not have a set of keys to the apartment on my keychain; to not have another chicago spring where it sprints from sunshine and eighty degrees to rain in the time it takes a final final.

but for now, i'm looking forward to cece getting here tomorrow, and my parents and amos next week. and just spending a week with no demands on my time in the city i've adopted as home.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

cooking gumbo

i came up for air earlier this evening -- it should have been a relatively unstressful senior finals week for me, seeing as i have but two finals and two final papers to write (both of which i've had all quarter to do) but as you know, i am ridiculously bad at doing things without a deadline to add time pressure. which resulted in my having to write two ten page papers (having done some research for the one, and almost none for the other) between the friday of ninth week and the thursday of tenth (senior finals week). my finals schedule wound up being one final with accompanying paper on tuesday, and the other on thursday -tomorrow, at one pm.

the first final and paper have been safely completed and turned in, and the second paper has been written -squeezing blood out of a stone!- as of last night. so today was spent pretty much entirely on avoiding studying for this final final. hanging out at shum's, i decided i would make gumbo for dinner. now i'm sure everyone who's been over to my apartment knows -- i cook as work-avoidance. hence, the more work i have to do, the more elaborate and/or new the recipe i choose to cook for dinner. seeing as i'd never cooked gumbo before -despite the fact that i LOVE the dish- this would be an exciting challenge.

it turned out rather well, i think. onions and garlic and okra (ewww but integral to the dish) and celery, cooked in butter then simmered with smoked sausage and chunks of chicken pulled off a marvelous rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. everything spiced up with lovely sharp hot cayenne, and smokey-sweet paprika, and oregano-thyme-bay-leaf, salt and black pepper, and finally file powder, mixed in with ground cumin and corriander. it smelled divine while it was cooking -just adding the chopped up smoked sausage made my entire kitchen smell of gumbo. it makes me hungry just thinking about it. (you can guess what i'm gonna be eating for lunch -leftovers anyone?)

cooking soups and stews is my favourite kind of cooking, i think. it never ceases to amaze me how much fun i have chopping up stock veggies (onions, carrots, celery) and garlic and tossing them into a pot to cook; how everything simmers and the spices cook and blend and suddenly the entire kitchen -sometimes the entire apartment- fills with the warm, comforting smell of gently cooking food, promising a steamy delicious warm meal in just a little while. and it's a one-pot meal, and it doesn't take much brain power (especially when you fail to measure out spices, like i did - a splash here a splash there, taste and add more-) but occupies the hands with slicing and dicing and stirring. and not to mention having to taste multiple times along the way to make sure the flavours are balanced!

so now i'm hungry again. but it's midnight, and it's bedtime, and i have a final in just over twelve hours...