Sunday, June 2, 2013

Let There Be Internet

I started work on Tuesday.

First up: one of the most decisions any summer intern can make. Which desk do I pick?

This year, there are 15 summer students split into three offices: one with four chairs and nice pictures hanging on the walls, one with three chairs and a window, a third with eight chairs and no window or pictures.

So: pictures, a view outdoors, or lots of company?

Turns out that my decision was made for me, since a computer in the three-person office had a sticky note on the screen that said "Anna Ho --Ransom" (Scott Ransom is my advisor.) Um. Okay? No other computers had name tags; apparently Scott told the IT people that I need some special version of Red Hat (Linux). Still don't have a clue why, but it did make my decision much simpler.

Jared (my roommate for the week) also picked the three-person office, since he likes the window. The other two summer students who arrived this week - Adrian and Aara'L - picked the eight-person office. So, this week it was Jared and I at home, then Jared and I in the car, then Jared and I at work, then Jared and I in the car, then Jared and I at home...seriously. I spent 22 hours/day with this guy. The only reason it wasn't 24 is that he goes running or biking for like 1-1.5 hours every day, and we don't shower together (surprise!)

Fortunately, we get along well, and struck a nice combination of leaving each other alone, and talking over cooking and dinner and in the car. He introduced me to Uncle John's sorghum, which is this delicious syrup-y stuff made in Kentucky (where Jared is from). This particular brand, Uncle John's, is named for a kid who went to High School with Jared, who apparently started a sorghum business. One day, I would like to see one of your names on a jar in my pantry!

I have also learned that there are lots of thoroughbred horses in Kentucky, and a guy called Turtle Man, whose teeth are in horrible shape.

On Thursday, Adrian (one of the summer students, who goes to UVA) invited us to play volleyball with his local friends. We played for something like two hours, and my legs felt it the next day. More than once, I found myself in the position right in front of the net (which means it's your job to jump up and block) -- directly opposite 6'2'' Jared, which just didn't seem fair at all.

After work on Friday, Adrian Jared and I went to Fridays After Five, which is one of my favorite things about Charlottesville -- there's a live, free, open-air concert in the pavilion downtown, and it seems like the entire town comes out to walk along the pedestrian mall, sit (and play, if you're a little kid) in the grass, eat at the restaurants. There are street musicians, tables and chairs outdoors, big sun umbrellas, colorful dresses and quaint shops - and SO many people. The three of us ate at an awesome burger place, then found a spot on the grass outside the pavilion and talked and relaxed for an hour and a half. I took out my camera and recorded a very short segment of it - this is something I would like to do more, because you can capture SO much of an atmosphere in a tiny clip. When I watch it, I find myself right back there on the grass. And then the moment is ruined when I hear how weird my voice sounds when I say "I am ALL ABOUT playgrounds! Swings!"

View of the pavilion -

Adrian (left) and Jared (right) -- my two new friends! :D

If the remaining summer students turn out to be half as nice as these two, my summer will be fantastic.

Yesterday was a less fun day - I moved from Jared's to my official summer home, and helped my friend (a male new UVA graduate student) and 7 other male UVA graduate students (+ Jared, who stayed to help) carry heavy things from a moving truck up the stairs into the apartment. This friend I'm living with is an ex-NRAO summer student; he and I worked together last summer. A second resident, Molly, is also a new UVA grad student, in biomedical engineering. Haven't met the third yet. I'm taking the fourth's room for the summer, since he doesn't arrive until late August.

But yeah -- unpacking. Not fun. I learned very quickly what the necessities are in a house, that I take for granted.

Trash cans.

Trash bags.


Toilet paper.

A desk. Chairs.

Shower curtains (seriously. The previous residents STRIPPED the house.)

Internet. INTERNET. There was no Internet access until about half an hour ago. I spent most of the day in the NRAO building, so that I could check my e-mail and study for the GRE, because otherwise I'd be sitting on the floor, surrounded by boxes, in an Internet-less apartment.

But now there is Internet! And slowly but surely, the boxes and floors and walls are magically transforming into a home.

And now to sleep, because it's 11:30 and I'm an old woman. Sorry if this post was a little incoherent - I am TIRED.

Love you all!

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