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I’m not sure we’re in the US anymore, Toto….

Posted Oct 13 2009 10:06pm

Hello everyone (I can’t say girls anymore! Guys – keep on letting me know you are out there!)

Thank you to everyone who sent me congratulations about my photo, and the well wishes for my first day of school at UCC! I really appreciated it! For those of you who haven’t tried Heart Thrives, I highly recommend these all natural energy bars -  they are great tasting and great for you! (Or, if you like making your own, check out Emily ’s blog for what looks like a delicious recipe!)

So I’m sure you are all dying to know how my first day went, am I right? Well, here goes nothing…

I woke up at around 8 on Monday (I don’t know how on Earth I managed to sleep in so late – that is the latest I’ve slept in a long time!), ate some breakfast…

Dried strawberries? Edgy, right?

Dried strawberries? Edgy, right?

took a shower, and walked on over to Campus aroud 9:15. My first class began at 10:05, but I wanted to to give myself a little of time to find the classroom, as I’m still new on campus.

I found my building, found the room, pushed open the door, and was greeted by a roar of sound. In a rather small room, over 70 students were crammed into a lecture style seating deck. I found the very last seat at the end of a row, sat down, and got out my stuff. After about 5 minutes, an older woman walked in the door carrying books and papers – I correctly assumed she was the professor, so I sat up straight, and prepared for class to begin.

She began addressing the class, but to my dismay, very few students were paying any attention. It took her several minutes to get control of the class, and through out the hour, she had to repeatedly ask the kids to settle down. When I said kids, I mean it – the class was an Intro to Geology class (I know everything in it, but I’m taking it to fulfill a requirement), and it was jam packed with kids right out of the European equivalent of high school. It was insane. They were insane.

I did like the professor, from what I heard from her. There were a few questions I had for her that I wanted to ask her after class. However, as soon as class was up, I had to run to my next one. It took a few minutes to find the next classroom, as it wasn’t clearly marked, but I finally got my hang of the Kane building (UCC’s equivalent of Mac’s science building, Olin-Rice). I walked in to an second classroom full of hooligans. Sigh. This was supposed to be a second-year class, but again I was surrounded by what seemed to me were sixteen year olds.

To my surprise, the same professor from the first class walked into the room. This time, it took her even longer to get control of the class – hooligans, I tell you, hooligans. When she finally did, she gave us two short assignments – putting labels on a classic Andean-style convergent margin and short physics problem. Easy peasy. I was a little worried, as all of the other students have studied physics and I haven’t, but it seems my calculus experience will be enough. After she let us go, she came over to me and immediately asked where I was from – UCC students are on a very strict program, and are not allowed to take 1000 levels and 2000 levels at the same time. Since I was in both of hers, she knew I was out of place. She is very nice and enthusiastic that a visiting student is taking geology classes! I’m excited to see how her classes are.

I went over to the library after that class for two hours to edit my first paper, and possibly start my second (never happened). At about ten to 2, I headed over to the classroom for my third and final class of the day – another second year course: Optics, Mineralogy, and Crystallography.

The professor of this course is the head of the Geology Department at UCC, and he seems pretty cool. However, I’m a little worried about the course, as he read every word of each of the handouts he gave us. We are all adults, supposedly. We can read. I might be a little bored in this one. Although… as in the first class, most of the kids seemed like hooligans. Maybe they needed that.

The plus side of that course? I met a really nice girl and boy (who happen to be an item) that braved sitting next the the American. It turns out she grew up in California, and he grew up all over the world, due to the fact that his father worked for the government. They were very nice, and it turns out that they were in the second class as well, but I just didn’t see them! Friends? I hope so!

After class, I bought a textbook for my first class, bought a huge squash on the way home …



and returned to my apartment. I stopped I sat down for a while and just thought about my day. Everything I experienced was so unlike everything that I am used to.

My professors know my name, know me. They will get coffee with me, and invite me to concerts with them. My classes – even the ‘big ones’ – have a sort of intimate feel, where discussion is encouraged, and the professors treat us as competent, intelligent adults. If we are given papers or handouts, we are expected to read them ourselves, and if we don’t, its our fault.

Here, I am a number (no really – my student email address is a number). I may make an impression due to my status as the lone American in the department, but other than that, I am a no-one. The lecture classes are true lecture classes – no room for questions that push the topic into higher intellectual grounds. For three months, I will work without the benefit of a mentor.

After all of that thinking, I was a starvin’ marvin! In light of Healthy Yum’s weekly challenge (Pasta), I decided to go a little further East than Italy, somewhere into Asia!

Emma’s Slightly Asian Soba Noodle Stir-Fry

1. Heat a small pot of water on high heat, while simultaneously heating a skillet on med-high.

2. Chop up some garlic, ginger, onion, peppers, squash, mushrooms, carrots, and asparagus. Throw them in the skillet, and cover with a lid.

3. When the water begins to boil, throw in 1 serving of soba noodles.

Double Timing

Double Timing

4. After about 3-4 minutes uncover the vegetables, and add a mixture of 2 tsp soy sauce, 2 tbs sweet and sour sauce, and 1 tsp lemon juice. Oh. And hot sauce (gotta love it!)


5. After 5-7 minutes, your noodles will be done. Take them out, drain them, and stir them in with your noodles.

6. Plate, and enjoy!

Ready to Eat!

Ready to Eat!

Mmkay. That’s all for now. I have class tomorrow morning – I need my beauty sleep!

Don’t forget to enter Nikes and Ponytail’s giveaway! (or not – I want to win!)

Much love to everyone!


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