Jumping over the lazy dog

or, taking the bull by the horns.

A New Haven.

At this point, if you guys aren’t saying anything about my terrible sense of humor, I’m just going to keep bothering you with my shameless punning. What’s that, you say? You haven’t heard from me in ages, and in fact, you’ve been missing my puns terribly? Why, that’s kind of you! I’ll try and be more PUNctual with my posting in the future.

For now, let’s do a quick wrap up of the last six weeks: I got back from France (after a short trip to Britain – and Brighton – with the Brit).

A rocky beach that tore up my shoes, that also provides something akin to an acupuncture massage with blunt needles when you lie down instead of paying however many quid for a quaint deck chair...

Then, I hung out with my grandmother for a few weeks before she left for India, where she’s staying with my aunt and uncle. After that, I put on some disposable apparel and proceeded to cover it with blobs of yellow, red, green and cream paint. See below.

This bright yellow was carried around the living room and in the eat-in kitchen, and makes the space feel so bright and welcoming, it convinced me of the power of color much more than any design course I took as an undergraduate.

A short trip to Kentucky for a friend’s wedding…

That's Dino and Roomie's wedding, by the by. Twas a beautiful affair with plenty of dancing. So much dancing, as it were, that it resulted in a strained left calf muscle...

…and then a longer drive up to New Haven, where I’ve finally settled down in this new haven:

Ok, so that mess got cleaned up right after I took the picture, promise!

This is technically my temporary-not-temporary home. The bedroom itself won’t be mine in the long run, but I’m staying in the same apartment, just moving upstairs. Once I’m moved into the new room, and have managed to furnish and organize it, I’ll be sure to post an updated picture. But for now, you’ll have to believe me when I say my blue-green bedding and red IKEA dresser complement each other in that thrown-together-chic kind of way. I’m going for the “I liked it so I bought it” look. We’ll see how that goes – it’s a complete turn-about from the way I designed that residential interior junior year…but hopefully there’s no one grading this space!

I actually got to New Haven on Monday night in my dad’s truck, with my mom and dad in the front seat, the seat beside me piled high and the ‘trunk’ packed two-boxes high with stuff. But it all fit in the truck, and I was very impressed with that.

On Tuesday several trips to IKEA, Target and Walmart managed to cure me of this cheery attitude, when I realized that between the truck and new furniture (bed, dresser, bedside table) and whatever else I’d wind up purchasing in the next year (desk…rug…clothes) I’d never fit everything into one truck again. Oh well. Maybe there’s more culling to be done next year.

Wednesday was organizing day, and I managed to put away all of my clothes, though my books and desk supplies are still in boxes, since I don’t have shelves or a desk on which I can put these things. We snuck my studio supplies into the architecture building, where an administrator informed me that I was the only person in the history of the program to bring my own parallel board. Well, there’s one foot forward, though whether it’s the best one is TBD.

Today was my last visit with the parents, spent buying architectural supplies ($200+ worth, and that’s with a 20% discount AND without spending the $120 on a parallel straightedge), eating too much pizza at Pepe’s, a New Haven establishment, and happening upon a potential job opportunity as a French language assistant at a language institute down the street from my apartment. After bidding my parents farewell, I vegged out on my bed, exhausted after a long week.

There’s still plenty that needs figuring out before classes start on Monday: where do I get groceries (the last major grocery store in town closed down, and the Walmart is driving distance when I don’t have a car)? how does the bus system work (again, no car, and studio is a thirty minute walk away)? how broke will I be in three years (utility bills on this place jump to $300 in the winter…that’s over and above the $2250 rent)?

I’d like to document this first year at school as best as possible, for future Yalies who’re worried about what to expect both in the classroom and out. I know when I was trying to figure out what schools to apply to / which one to accept, reading student blogs made a huge difference. So what I’m trying to say is I know I won’t have much time, but I’m going to try my darndest to keep you guys posted every week!

Until next time, your faithful-yet-often-absent blogger, Amrita.

Filed under: Close to home, , , , , , , , , ,

Sunny ol’ England, Part I

I have a theory.  God made England sunny for a September weekend so that when I visited London, I’d find it quite pleasant and want to come back, thus not disappointing the Brit and causing him to spend oodles of his own cash with mandated trips down to Paris because I’m terrified of coming up to face yet another rainstorm. As it turned out, it was the Brit’s trip down to Paris that resulted in a downpour or two, and my last trip back up (just a week ago) was pleasant with only a few drops of rain and gusty winds – yes, even in Scotland!

In case you don’t believe me, I thought I’d give you some evidence that England can, in fact, be sunny.  Consider this our first flashback.  All the way back to September, when I left the US (for quasi-good) on a jet plane headed to Gatwick Airport.

I arrived in London at dawn, and after a confusing half-hour stumbling around the airport looking for a coffee shop in the wrong terminal (that’s what happens when you arrive in a country without a cellphone and no calling card), I managed to meet up with the Brit and he shuttled me off to his country estate. Ok, not estate, but rather a nice little house in a charming town called Horsham.  After a recuperative nap and some unpacking, we took a walk around town and through the park, where we ran into the Brit’s paternal unit. A brief chat later, we snagged lunch (a real English sandwich!) and did some more wandering before heading back home to meet the maternal unit and one half of the sibling set.  The meet-the-parents routine went rather well, I think, though I felt bad for bringing a bottle of wine when his mum doesn’t drink (but I’m making amends with my next trip up).

The next three days were devoted to London and trying not to miss our trains. We did a lot of walking, I think I counted 7 miles covered in one day, and saw a lot of the mandated tourist destinations.  I’ve got a couple of images from my own camera, before I discovered the sensor had been splattered with dust, and then a couple from the Brit’s camera that will serve as guides to this exciting narrative.  And just for kicks, I thought we’d go sight by sight, rather than follow a timely chronicle, since I can’t remember what we did first, but I certainly remember what we did.  So here’s the London Top Ten, in no particular order.

#1: The London Eye. You can’t miss it if you go to London, and it’s a great way to orient yourself in the city – kind of what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Structurally I found it quite beautiful, and the view from the top was well worth the price and the wait.  The British certainly like to queue up.  Although I couldn’t help but think of that Doctor Who episode every time I saw this landmark…also, there was some random 4D movie experience, basically an excuse to get misted and have wind blown in our face, with some 3D effects that were better than Disney’s, while watching cool shots of the Eye and some little girl.

eye01
It doesn’t look so big, until you realize each one of those little pill-like cabins contains 15-20 people.
eye02
It’s like a huge, turning, bicycle wheel. But it moves incredibly slowly, so it didn’t seem to activate my fear of hights / motion sickness.
eye03
Better than seeing the Eye from the ground? Seeing sunset over London from the Eye! Who wants to guess the time?
The view from the top.
The view from the top.

#2: Big Ben. If you have to see the Eye, then you can’t help but hear Big Ben. I found its architecture interesting, though I prefer the proportions and detailing of monuments in Paris. When we were at the top of the London Eye, in true British style, a gent asked me for the time. And as a truly ditsy American, I searched my purse for a watch, Big Ben ticking away behind me, while the rest of the cabin laughed.

bigben01
The infamous Big Ben was actually one of the first things we saw. We saw it again and again the next few days, but for some reason I only recall hearing it ring once or twice…
bigben02

Big Ben at night, doesn't he look handsome?

#3: Buckingham Palace. So, we didn’t get to see the changing of the guard, and we didn’t go inside the Palace or the Gardens, but I did get to see a guard and he walked around a bit, so it was almost the same.  It was weird thinking that this essentially huge McMansion belongs to a little old lady that happens to be very rich and the (decorative) head of a small island/important country.  And that Prince Charles grew up there, funny ears and all.

Buckpal

That's the guard! And okay, so he moved a total of 10 feet...but he did change positions!

#4: Piccadilly Circus. The Brit describes this plaza as London’s version of the Big Apple’s Times Square.  I will say, it was cleaner than Times Square.  It was also smaller than Times Square, like waaaaaay smaller. I guess everything is bigger in America. But the tiny size and it’s great aspirations only made it quaintly adorable. Wait a minute, that sounds like an apt way to describe England itself…

piccad

It has a lot of moving images, which are interestingly hard to capture on still digital "film."

#5 Trafalgar Square, National Gallery. The Brit and I made it a tradition to approach relevant bits of public sculpture from the rear, and then forget to see them from the front.  We made an exception for Trafalgar Square, only because walking around the sculpture was key to our getting on our way. The National Gallery itself was beautiful, architecturally, and I was especially fond of its bathrooms – one of my professors always said, you can tell how well a space is designed by how much thought is given to the bathrooms, as they tend to be an afterthought.  The art in the gallery was your usual smattering of stuff, though I particularly enjoyed the Turners on display.

trafsq

From the rear at sunset, as we saw it. Take note of the sliver of moon on the right.

That’s it on London for now.  Look for Part II shortly!

Filed under: Around the world, , , , , , , , ,