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Archive for September, 2006

I just got up. Out of bed I mean, and it is 11.30 already. Crap, today was supposed to be my on fire at writing day. See this thing happened last night where we didn’t get to sleep until 2am, and it wasn’t like the 2am that is acceptable when you are somewhere having wonderful fun, it was the lying in bed listening to someone clomp on your ceiling like a drum, making stuff rattle for four hours type of 2am. The kind that turns you into a freakish munster all twisted and angry. I think I mentioned ‘Old Stompy’ who lives upstairs? Usually they settle down around 11, sometimes 12, but last night they got their pace on and ‘wise walked’ back and forth around and about over our roof for four hours. The tune went something like this; clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp pause a little do something, I don’t know what maybe pick up some things… clomp clomp clomp clomp clomp and reapeat for four hours with a few longer pauses to make the returning clomping really get your heart racing. How could they walk that much! What were they doing?

So at 7.30 this morning when Stompy got out of bed for a bit more stomping and pacing I decided to go up and introduce myself. I saw them just as they were coming out of their apartment with bags and stuff. I always have this image of myself saying it like it is, but end up wimping out. So I said it really nicely and put in the 2am and “could they please maybe just walk a bit quieter late at night?”. It was a man and a woman and they were really nice, and really sorry and had been carrying heavy boxes and things around and dropping them on the ground and stuff. We had a chat and it seems they are moving out, and have been packing up late at night for a long while. They move out tomorrow. So the ending is happy! People are nice. Even stompy ones.

I am really excited about tomorrow, it is going to be so fun!! We are going out to Concord to hang out at Walden Pond, a book I have loved forever (and a real live lake), and to see the trees, and maybe see some USA wildlife. Maybe. Here is a cute little bird I saw the other day in the neigbours shrubs. I like pictures, and I have been waiting to put this little guy in. His girlfriend is there too, but over in the back a bit more and not in the picture, and is sort of a fawny colour with only a few red feathers. Sorry the quality is a bit fuzzy, I had to zoom in close and be far away so he didn’t fly away.

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And this one more photo of the beautiful rose and dahlia M whisked from the table at his reception dinner for me. They are in the teapot because the teapot doesn’t work as a real one, it cracks if you put boiling water in it…

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Come over for a cup of tea?

We just had to rush down to a store and get some pants. Mark has a special dinner tonight, a formal reception. About fifteen minutes ago he called up the people and asked what he was supposed to wear, to which they answered “well… don’t wear t-shirt and jeans… and nobody wears a suit”. That equals nothing to wear seen as he has jeans and t-shirts, and a suit. He is getting ready at the moment. I have no idea about men’s fashion, I mean dressing up formal fashion, like suit and tie fashion, or in this case non-suit and tie but formal fashion. It is too subtle, you can’t just wear black and add pretty earrings.  Accessorise.  I think he looks pretty hot anway!

I found a second hand shop on my way home from the literacy class and got this teapot which means we can drink the unbagged up tea we have.

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The literacy class went really well today. I asked a man about where he was from, and he spoke about how beautiful his home town in China was, “you must go there”. I took along some pictures of New Zealand to pass around, and next week I will take the class by myself. The woman who takes it at the moment, is really vivacious and lovely, hopefully it goes okay!

On the way home I got asked on a date. I was at the door step to our apartment and a man, I guess he was about thirty, asked me for directions to one of the college halls. I told him and then he came up to the door step and said “can I be so rude as to ask you out?”. So he wanted to go on a date with a complete stranger after talking for about thirty seconds. Must be my Hot Chilli earrings!

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knitting

It turns out knitting in a club is really fun. I was feeling a bit crappy & homesick which is how I expected to feel some days. So lucky I went out to this knitting group! My hour hanging out with the women from France and Japan, and Malaysia, and Germany got me humming ‘walking on sunshine’ on my way back home. So knitting club is now a permanent fixture for my Tuesday.

I know I keep going on about this but for the third time in my month or so in the USA someone complemented my english skills. We were sitting around doing the introductions in the knitting group, and after my spiel the women co-ordinating the group, a ‘Bostonian’ said “you speak english really well”. HUH?? Was she joking? I assumed she was at the time and said “hah, yeah I have been practicing a while”. But now I wonder if she wasn’t. Why would you say that as a joke? It is not hilarity…

This is what I have been making. It is special because it involves doing something other than knit and purl… It really involves making holes in the scarf on purpose which I was already good at. I got the pattern and instructions on how to do the stiches off the internet. I would really love to make a ‘sweater’ next, maybe some leg warmers… – I will see how this turns out… but so far so good!

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Yesterday I watched the NYC Transformers, a breakdancing group.  They were pretty awesome and funny as well, and made me think about the time I got a carpet burn on my chin trying to do flip flops in the common room in seventh form.  I am a fool.  There were two women in the group who were so flexible and with that gnarly thin kind of muscle that makes it easy to do back flips and jump around on one arm.  They were my heros,  especially doing those acrobatic moves.  Oh admiration.  It explains my renewed interest in press-ups and things.

Becoming a muscle woman will also be handy when I need to hold Mark back from beating up on the people upstairs.  They have this thing where they come home at 12am most nights and stomp around the house.  Mark calls them ‘stompy’.  I got sick of Mark getting his undies in a twist about it so I banged on the roof with the broom, in true psycho neighbor style (it was only a little really), it seemed to work, or coincided with them going to bed.  We live pretty close with people here.  Our bathroom has no blind so the neighbor in the house next door gets to watch us unless we put a towel over the window, and the woman under us sits on her fire escape and smokes her cigarettes in through our windows.  It is a real community!

The table guy never emailed us back.  I think he invited us to dinner before his girlfriend knew and the conversation went something like this:

“Oh yeah,  I invited those New Zealand people, you know the ones I helped carry the table for, I invited them over for dinner”

“you did what?  when?”

“sometime next week…”

“you don’t even know them!  What is ‘New Zealand’ anyway some spacey new religion? They could be crazies, I mean you met them carrying a half tonne table down the main street, who the hell does that!”

So.  No email and no dinner for us.

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speaking in english

This morning I had my first class at the literacy programme. I am not sure it was the best idea to volunteer to do this, but I am going to keep going, at least until I get a paid job. There were about six people in the class and we went through some basic english. The organiser of the progarmme took the class, and another older American woman also sat in.

I really loved speaking to a woman who had been in the US for four months. She was a beautician in her home country and painted those delicate henna prints on women’s hands, I think women often get it done when they get married. She speaks two other languages. It must be so freaking hard to come to the United States with your family and not have a job and not speak the language, and not know how it will all work out. The woman who tutored the class said some of the people had been coming for twenty years. It seems to be a mix of new immigrants, and people from the US who have trouble reading and/or writing. It was fun that no one knew what or where ‘New Zealand’ was so I had to point it out on a map. Everyone was amazed at how far away it was, and their amazment did make me feel far away. After the class the tutor said that I should try to use American english (?) and be a bit louder, but that my accent was quite ‘good’ today.

I can be quiet in some situations, but it is not because I am shy it is just that I am really aware of people, aware of not bustling in and making an ass of myself; especially in a new group where you are uncertain of how things work. So I am giving myself a break about the loud thing. Once I take over the class I will be fine because I will have a role. Today I was sort of in the class, and sort of helping out as well which is tricky.

I can’t wait for Saturday. I am going to go to the Peabody Museum, and the Museum of Natural History. Rose and Rob went one day last week when I did some school work and said it was really great, and that I would love it. So while Mark does his NZ Masters this weekend I’ll go and wander around. The best part is that I can go for free. I think I’ll also do some Christmas shopping which will be a challenge. I always find it hard but this year choices will be limited to small flat things mostly! I have a few ideas to ship across.

Pumpkins are starting to surface in the supermarket – an average sized orange pumpkin is $10 US!! I guess it is because they are Halloween gimicks. It seems like the tree outside our house has turned orange overnight…

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A house in Boston.  It is built over the sea and looks about to tumble in.  I bet it would be lovely to sleep in.  You could hear the water under your floor boards and wake up and go fishing out of your window.  You can’t get to it from the land really, so you’d never need to lock the door, or worry about how a lot of the windows are gone, so long as you kept a watch out for approaching boats.  Well I guess it really does need a bit of work.  A real ‘home handy girls dream’.  I think it will end up a safe home for birds, or a fun place to take a dive around…

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Diary of a Harvard Wife

I fear this site is doomed to become a catalogue of the seasons, a blog where a socially malnourished woman wanders the streets of Cambridge taking photos of what summer/fall/winter/spring looks like today. I am not really socially malnourished.  Not yet.  I just thought it sounded interesting.  

Anyway I want to be famous, actually just really good at something that I can be proud of, but I don’t want to work that hard at it. I mean I will work hard at whatever it is once I find it, but I am not going to go getting a thousand hour job or anything. That is pretty much what I realised at dinner the other night. As I attempted to get something to actually eat off those horrible little crabs I overheard conversations between ‘scholars’ about being in the library for sixteen hours on a Saturday, something about running (not jogging) on the treadmill for an hour a day, doing a PhD for eight years, waking up at five am… and I realised why I was the odd one out at the table, and maybe why I couldn’t figure out how to eat the freaky crabs.

I don’t think sewing will be one of my fame makers. But I do quite like it and have been making little bags and things. The other day I got a lovely package from one of my new Grandma’s with this inside:

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They are patterns you can trace around and modify to make things out of. Good idea huh! I am looking forward to using them soon. The beautiful tui card + magnet is from another package from the B’s in Wellington. I love mail!!  I have to send more. Starting with a package for Frenchie’s birthday which is coming up, and also my cousins who all have their birthday in October.  

I have decided to try to fill my weeks in with appointments. I had this idea I’d do volunteer work and emailed ‘Food for Free’ which is an organisation that has a farm and gets donations from farmers markets to give to people who are having a hard time. Their mission is to ensure that people don’t become malnourished in the USA, evidently this is more common since GWB took the power stand. They never emailed me back, in a similar way to the housing people I got in contact with. SO now, on Thursday, I am going to be an adult literacy tutor.

The interview I had didn’t go exactly like I had planned. I have a feeling the woman thought I was there to get literacy help. She said things like “so do all New Zealanders speak like you?” “is your accent particularly strong?”. She had wanted me to teach a Saturday conversation class but decided no one would be able to understand me. So instead I have a two hour session on Thursday tutoring grammar (it isn’t a strong point, neither is spelling…) to four women who speak English. The woman I spoke to said she couldn’t understand these women anyway so we’d be good together. Yeah. Should be interesting…

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