I have resolved all three of my outstanding dilemmas. Well, there are probably still some more outstanding dilemmas, but three have been resolved.
But first: I had my first lecture today. It was in statistical mechanics (and thermo), being tought by a professor who has great difficulty pronouncing the word ‘statistical’ and admitted such at the beginning of the lecture. The lecture came with incredibly detailed, perfectly LaTeXed notes that are deliberately, conveniently missing certain key equations which will be presented in class and which you are intended to write in. After class there was a brunch for the third-years, after which I checked my e-mail to find that I’d been assigned to “post a-level” spanish, which is taught to advanced first-year spanish majors and non-advanced second-year spanish majors. I’ll find out Monday whether the level is right. So that was good: HASS requirement, concentration requirement, everything set up to let me get my CI credit senior year and be finished.
I also picked up my bicycle (U-lock not susceptible to bic-attack included), which I rode to the bank, where my fourth attempt to open an account succeeded. So paying my term bill just became much more possible, as did making it to lecture on time.
Unfortunately, this bike seems to have an order of magnitude more grease on it than any other bike I’ve ever owned. Some of my pants (trousers) are stained around the cuffs, but the very nice pair of Eddie Bauer slacks I was wearing today (not having ‘done the washing’ yet here) had oil stains up to the pockets by the time I got back to the college. I rubbed them with plain old bar soap (I don’t have any detergent, and liquid laundry soap seems essentially nonexistent here) and let them soak in my bathroom sink. If anyone has good oil-stain-removal ideas, tell me. I still haven’t figured out how to avoid soiling another pair of trousers (pants) if I ride to lecture tomorrow.
Oh well. In other news, tonight was my matriculation dinner, which meant wearing my gown and having a many-coursed meal (requiring nine pieces of silverware per setting) with professors and the rest of the new students (and making a toast to the Queen, which consists of the following:
Everyone is called to attention with a gong.
Everyone is asked to stand by the Master of the college, who then says “We will now make a toast. The Queen.”
The standing diners raise their glasses and reply in unison monotone “The Queen.”
The diners sip whatever they’re holding, mostly local port in miniscule wine-glasses.
The diners sit back down.