I'm just about to complete my second week back at school, and things are off to a pretty good start. This is largely because I just got internet access back in my room after several days of network problems that were annoyingly reminiscent of last semester.
But seriously, I have a good job (night supervisor at the International Student Center = lots of time to do homework), and am settling into my two-person room (although I'm hardly ever there. I seem to live in the library...) And Yosakoi is back in full swing, evidenced by the excruciating pain every time I move my shoulders after Tuesday's practice. We have a lot of new members who ask me how to do certain steps of the dance every time we need a break, which is good, but leaves me exhausted. On second thought, it's good for me too - I have to know my stuff.
Otherwise classes have been pretty good so far. A brief overview:
Japanese is my favourite by far. I was a little intimidated the first day when our teacher walked in the door and started speaking rapid-fire Japanese without any explanation until the end of class. But I'm learning lots of useful phrases and just completed the hiragana alphabet today. Interesting quote thus far (from a handout): "When you are speaking Japanese, you should avoid English speech fillers such as uh, and make an effort to use the Japanese ones."
Archaeology is interesting; it's been a little dry, but we have learned about the Three Age dating system, and that all archaeologists do not run around with a pith helmet and whip like Indiana Jones. Interesting quote thus far: Professor - "You've all used grids since elementary school. Can anyone tell me briefly what a grid is?" Student - "It's a bunch of triangles put next to each other."
Information Gathering is basically a semester-long research tutorial leading up to what will be a ginormous paper on a media policy issue. My topic of choice, though still in the brainstorming stage, is the implications of using English-only or bilingual newspapers. Apparently we will learn to use the library and other databases, and how to track down and interview experts. Oh, and we will learn how to use Google in ways we have never used Google before. If there has been an interesting quote yet, I've missed it.
American Ethnic Studies is just what it sounds like - studies of different ethnic groups in America. Racism. Cultural pluralism. That sort of thing. Interesting quote thus far (during roll call on the first day, when calling my last name in front of 80 students): Professor - "There is no way you can get (insert last name) from that spelling. See, look -" Yeah, my name was on the chalk board for the entire class period.
Population Dynamics has only met twice, but I think I'm going to like it. Kind of like Am. Ethnic studies, but it tells what the groups do, and why. My professor is from Hungary and likes to slip in comparisons of his country into class, which makes it interesting. There are only about 10 of us in the class, too - not a bad ratio. Interesting quote thus far: "Now, let's get down to the black soup, as they say in Hungary."
And that's the story so far.