at 8.47 in the morning i am pleased to announce that i've gone to the farmers' market downtown and come back with bags of stuff before anyone in this suite has woken up. great satisfaction in being the first one up in a quiet house. this has probably something to do with how for about 6 years in school i woke up at 5.15 and had the house to myself to make breakfast and shower and pack my bags and leave home before anyone got up. i have some v beautiful pink flowers, they're called lisanthus, though i called them tuber roses misguidedly last year. a little like roses when closed, but opened, a v flat looking zinnea-like flower. very pretty! also went bought kipfli from hungarian bakery for breakfast. i thought about how i loved spending my saturday mornings this way, and also how i had taken one of my hostees to dinner the night before, after which we had walked to the downtown mall. at 8pm on friday night, lights were twinkling from the trees, a string quartet was playing, new shops already closing and old familiar restaurants bustling with business, i felt so happy to be in charlottesville. i realised, when i was walking down west main street, pointing out restaurants, buildings, buses, that i do know this place, in a small way. whenever i am showing visiting friends around, i feel little swells of love for cville, small prickings of satisfaction at living here. yes i do live here. it will never be home in the way singapore is home, but it's a place i love too.
i'm supposed to be applying to grad school sometime before october ends (i've drawn up a nice schedule!) but i still haven't solved the most basic problem of where to apply to. (i am beginning to think this grad sch business is just a huge evil money making racket. how is it possible that application fees can be something like $85 and gres nearly $300 to take.) at one time i would have been dying to go to columbia, just for the sake of living in nyc, but everyone warns me that it is now marked here be dragons. duke and u of chicago are both what bob reeder (this grad student) calls theory-head schools, and while that's quite exciting i think they're not the sort of place for me. - anyway chicago is too cold and durham is much more ulu than cville! i also sometimes think i want a more old fashioned department where film studies and women's studies and whatever else don't take up most the time, which means i should be going to england, actually. i think. i could go to york and do an m.a. in medieval lit and then come back to the us, couldn't i?
the thing is, i really do feel like staying on at virginia. the weather is good, the school is beautiful, the people here are friendly, and as i felt so strongly last night, i love cville, despite its smallness, its provincial laziness, its lack of an international airport (no i never do stop griping about that, do i?). i i know the department now, and i don't think i'll ever find anyone as right as prof nohrnberg to supervise a dissertation. you know how those grad school guides give check lists of "qualities of a good supervisor"? he's got all of them, right down to the personality match. is he knowledgable in your field? check. you couldn't get more knowledgable than him. does he give quick and helpful feedback? oh boy, email responses within 2 hours that are longer than your original email by about 3:1. is he someone you admire? (admire? i worship him! i've got this course action form stuck on my wall because i realised that i'd just got his autograph) also temperamentally suitable. i think so. old enough to be grandfatherly-indulgent but also to get patriachal and stern. disorganised enough himself to put up with my disorganisation, but very responsible about other people. he's funny, he's used to me and the way we stumble through a conversation. most other professors are very professional and organised. whenever i go see alison milbank i freak out because she expects much and i'm totally incoherent, unable to give a direction, and feeling v trapped and wanting to get away. prof nohrnberg can give me lots of time to drift around and fumble and he knows i will cobbler something together. of course, he probably won't be here that long for me to finish, so that's no good. i did tell prof nohrnberg i'd like to get in here, but here's the unexpected - he is against the idea. or rather, being him, he said it was up to me of course, but i think he does feel it isn't a good idea, and he has advised against it on more than one occasion already. his analogy is that schools are in a kind of trading market. schools should be exporting their best students and importing others from other schools. you should always trade upwards, he says. he thought brown was a really bad idea, by the way, so it's good i decided to chuck it. i thought about my reasons for avoiding certain schools and hah, guess what, they are all regards that are aloof from the entire point, namely, what's the weather like? and must i learn to drive? though i'm sure someone told me that cornell has the highest suicide rate or something because the weather is awful so the weather can't be all that unimportant? i was on the plane with this guy who graduated from toronto and he said, it snows there 5 months a year. not your kind of school. this goes for anything north of here, actually, i would hate to go anywhere colder than here. nohrnberg said that if weather was my consideration what about princeton? he also says to apply to four schools, and no more. make them safe, probable, possible, stretch. i think 6 months ago it would be, brown: safe, virginia: probable, duke/columbia/chicago: possible, harvard/stanford: stretch, only now i've chucked brown and columbia, i think virginia could be a safe, which gives me duke/chicago as possible and harvard and princeton as stretch. (i've never considered princeton actually, but because nohrnberg said so it suddenly looks like a good place to be! how frivolous i do get. i am reading up about it now) actually it makes sense for me only to apply to "stretch" schools, doesn't it? since my safe school is my first choice anyway, there wouldn't be any question of "settling" for a backup, and since i'm v keen on staying here, it would take getting into a much more prestigious school to get me to move, so why waste time applying to places like georgetown or brown where even if i got in i wouldn't budge from here for? hah. that's if i get in here though. how come i'm so sure i would? a department that's now admitting 20 a year isn't a safe school for anyone. for a long time though i really did think that i would try to get in here and stay here. i still would like to, but this sudden nohrnberg non-endorsement is changing things. i didn't think that people would think this isn't suitable for me. i really should talk more to more people about this.