The only reason I remembered to do it today was this: my friend Emma, a St. Mary’s College student, got home from a 5-month study abroad stint in India. Cool, right? (Welcome back to Maryland from 839 miles away, Emma!) So naturally I was on her Facebook looking at pictures, and at some point came across a post of hers pointing to her blog about her experience. It was around this point that I remembered that I, too, have a blog. [By the way, check hers out – I’ll throw a link in the sidebar so it sticks, too.]
Needless to say, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends here, and mostly enjoying it. Let me answer the questions that have been thrown at me most recently/frequently by family and friends:
- Yes, I have gotten to practice a few times. I will actually elaborate on that in a second.
- No, I have not heard back from UW-Madison. I heard back from them last year around December 15 and submitted around the same time, so I’d speculate having a decision by Christmas. By the by, if anyone from UW Admissions is reading this, a “yes” is all I want for Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, and whatever else you can think of. Ever. Please.
No, I’m not coming home for Thanksgiving. Wait, that already happened. So, yes, I am coming home for the winter holidays! Details forthcoming there as well.
- No, I have not had more than two days off in the past two weeks.
- Yes, it is freezing.
So! They say that December is one of the last pushes before a long dead phase, at least in the Upper Midwestern restaurant industry. Today was our last home football game, but nobody really showed up – it was actually less busy today than most normal Saturdays. I didn’t realize that central Pennsylvanians had an accent, but when I heard it serving Penn State fans it actually cheered me up. And that’s saying something, because again, they were Penn State fans. (We lost, by the way.)
I actually met a guy at the bar named Tim. He plays drums. That’s funny, because I already know a drummer named Tim. Other than that they’re very different. I haven’t played with him yet but we’re finding a rhythm section and getting something together. Fun stuff. The quintet formerly known as Red Line is also gearing up for a gig at Twins when we’re all back in DC on the 26th. By the way, don’t try to buy tickets there yet – I’m not really completely sure what’s up with pricing. Might be better to just show up. Sets at 8 and 10, maybe a $5 cover, $10 grub/merch minimum (that doesn’t go to us at all). Meanwhile, yes, I’m practicing when possible and it feels so good.
It’s cold. Yes. It’s cold. I got pretty tired of people telling me that it would be cold when I was getting ready to move here, but I never said that they were wrong. Wind chill has gotten down to about -10 on the shore of Lake Mendota, where I live. Also, because of the way my building is situated tightly between two taller buildings, the lake effect winds push through the gaps at speeds upwards of 30 MPH most mornings, creating a wind tunnel effect. It is insanely loud, to the point that it wakes you up or keeps you from falling asleep. I have a coworker that lives in the apartment building next door, and we lament this together quite frequently.
Work has been tough, though. They scheduled me for two weeks with three days off, and I picked up a shift on one of those days off. One of the other days off was Thanksgiving. So basically, it went like this: Thursday the 14th off, work 9 days straight, Sunday the 24th off, work 3 days, Thanksgiving off. My next day off is Wednesday and I’m tired, but that’s the service industry. The hours are weird and the sleep is in high demand.
Of course, it doesn’t help that I found the foreign language textbook section at the public library. I checked out a Persian textbook and a German textbook. Persian is cool because it’s an Indo-European language written in the Arabic script. I’ve always wanted to be able to read and write a language in that script anyways, but I’m discovering it’s especially fun because I’m left-handed. For the first time writing things by hand feels truly natural, even if it’s an alphabet I don’t completely know. It’s also the language of Iran, which is a country that fascinates the hell out of me despite its many problems – learn the language, learn the culture. And German is something I want to learn because a good 25% of my coworkers actually speak it fluently, so I have people to practice with. But look! I can write a sentence in Farsi! Very broken Farsi!
.شام با نان اشم با شما
That means “We had dinner with bread [and] stew with you.” (There is no word for “and” in Persian.) It is an insanely hard, fun project that keeps me up a lot.
What else? Ah, finally, I’m coming back to Maryland for “winter break.” Certainly not as long as a college winter break, but I’ll take what I can get, I guess. I fly out of Milwaukee on the evening of December 22, and I’m requesting off until the 30th, so I have to be back in Wisconsin to work both New Years Eve and New Years Day. That’s part of the deal. Thinking about driving back with the usual gang of idiots, or the “Sofobros,” as Jamie sometimes insists on calling us, so that could be a lot of fun.
Yes! That is one huge outpouring of information. I think I’m done now.
In honor of Chanukah, the restaurant is running a “Hannukah Brisket Special” and a special latkes side. I miss my Jewish delicacies from the East Coast and might just order the latkes before December 5th. At least the UW Hillel cafe on Langdon sells challah, corned beef, and matzoh ball soup to anyone.
In honor of Chanukah, I am going to post a song by Jamie’s permanent bass-playing man-crush, Avishai Cohen. Israeli jazz. ‘Tis the season. Also, he’s a genius because the song is in three but every six-beat phrase starts immediately before the one, giving it an infectiously unbalanced feeling – it almost feels like asymmetric 9.