Dispatches from the Subtropics

Hello again, everyone. I have found  a very rare moment of free time and decided to use it here.

It’s November now. How insane is that? I suppose it is true that keeping busy helps time fly quickly. I am rapidly approaching the completion of my first semester of graduate school, a fact that brings a mixture of elation and terror. That is beside the point, though. Here are the bullet points to bring you up to speed, so my parents can take a break from delivering second hand reports to everyone back home.

In other news, I am currently working on drafting a proposal for my first exhibition, which is slated to be an international one (more news on this will be forthcoming). Ambitious? Yes, naturally. I revel in a good challenge, so this is not an off base undertaking for me at all. I have a very supportive and talented cohort working in conjunction with me on this, so it really isn’t as big and scary as at first it seems.

I am also trying to keep my hand in as much as possible with my photography. It is VERY difficult when my equipment and I are separated by roughly 600 miles. Luckily, my darling parents are hauling my kit down when they come for Thanksgiving in a few weeks. I am slated to shoot the works of a fellow CFA student (a brilliant sculptor) for a collaborative project over that weekend. I think we’ll be shooting on campus that Friday of Thanksgiving week, so if anyone wants to check out alternative processes come find us. I also have an engagement shoot scheduled that weekend with two ridiculously gorgeous people (inside and out) who I cannot wait to put on glass and steel. I have to take the opportunities when I can because they don’t come up too often at the moment (see comment about distance and equipment above). Digital photographers have no idea how easily they have it.

I am slowly acclimatizing to Gainesville- slowly. It is not awful, and with the help of some lovely new partners-in-crime, I have discovered some amusing places around town to blow off steam and relax, something I am finding is a necessity in grad school no matter how busy one may be. I am lucky that I live very close to the downtown area, which is charming in its own way. It is also blessedly relatively free of undergraduates during the weekend nights. Nothing against them, but it is much nicer to share the atmosphere with grown ups, so to speak, especially when that atmosphere includes a bar with cheap prices and sometimes lax id checks.

I am finally getting used to my new home among the fine arts too. It’s actually wonderful, but after being a member of the social sciences family and after hours being surrounded by engineers and natural sciences folks for the most part for the past four years, it involves a certain amount of readjustment. I love being surrounded by right-brainers for a change, though.

Irving is doing fairly well. I still feel so guilty for leaving him alone most days for the better part of them due to my crazy schedule. He seems to manage well, though. Granted, he maybe chews a bit more plastic than he should, and he may stay glued to my side whenever I am home, and he may be delivering a few more love bites than usual, but he’s none the worse for wear otherwise. I am very pleased with my decision to adopt him before coming here. I don’t mind living alone at all, in fact I quite enjoy it, but it is delightful to have something warm and fuzzy and alive to come home to in the evenings.

For those of you who are curious: no, I have not been converted to the “Gator Nation.” I still find football a ridiculous and pointless sport played by pansies and cannot understand the obsession with it around these parts. I also bristle (and this is probably a tell-tale marker of my academic snobbish neurosis) at being called a “gator” as well. Something about being identified by the name of a sport mascot turns me off. It is actually Homecoming weekend, and they make a big to do about it here. It transports me far too closely to high school again, when I cared for is just as little and was just as snarky about those who did. I am spending my time doing school work instead (err, after I finish this at least). I do however hear that the school has a decent rugby team, and I wouldn’t mind catching a few matches if I can ever figure out when and where they play. There is hockey too, apparently, which could be fun. I like watching the occasional real sport, after all.

My time thus far in Gainesville has produced a particularly compelling craving in me. I have a renewed and constant need to keep up with the news. In undergrad, I never really paid too much attention to current events. I read the occasional free copy of the New York Times when I found myself out and about campus early enough to snag one, which was rare. The televised news did and still does make me ill, and I preferred my iPod to NPR when I found myself in a motor vehicle or my room. Things are much different now. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I feel I am in a little bubble down here, rather removed from the greater world. This too is reminiscent of my high school days, actually, and it was then that I first reached out to the larger world. Now I listen to NPR streaming every day at work, I have a subscription to the NY  Times, and I get up at 6:30 every morning to catch the BBC on PBS. It’s funny how environment shapes and changes habit.

The weather is finally turning a little less atrocious here. I greatly appreciate this. I am much better suited to the cold and would gladly take a substantial snowfall over intense humidity and an unforgiving sun any day. Although temperatures may be edging ever so slightly from the summer to the fall end, I am finding a profound emptiness due to the lack of fall color. I will never cease to be surprised at flowers blooming voraciously here when they have long since ceased blooming in more northern climes. Florida is a strange place.

Well, friends, this has been my update, albeit truncated and belated, regarding my life of late. In general, in the ways that matter most, I suppose I am fine. All complaints right now are either too trivial, not pressing, or I am just too tired to make. I have done a sufficient amount of railing for this semester, anyway, with significant and satisfying returns, I am pleased to say. I feel that I can rest on my laurels at least until the spring.

Happy fall (or autumn for those who aren’t American or spring for those in the southern hemisphere).

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2 Comments

Filed under Irving, Just Me

2 responses to “Dispatches from the Subtropics

  1. Ben Seitelman

    I don’t know about Florida, but at most big public schools it seems that graduates and undergraduates rarely interact. That’s good for me, as I can consider schools that I would have scoffed at as an undergraduate such as Indiana (which has one of the best programs in the country for what I’m looking to do) without having to worry about things such as SEC football culture (btw, I’m a sports fan and despise it, especially given the corruption involved in it).

    Glad to hear that you and Irving are enjoying grad school life!

    • thebetsybeast

      Eh, I’m actually having to take a undergraduate history class for graduate credit because there was no room left in the graduate classes for me by the time we got to register. There are also a few undergraduates in my museum studies classes. I definitely am exposed to them on campus. It’s nice not to have to see them off especially when I’m out having a good time.

      I’m told that the main focus of Florida is their graduate students, and my program is one of the best and only in the country so I understand why you are looking at state schools you wouldn’t have considered for undergrad.

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