For the Time Being

There’s a Sylvia Plath quote I used in my graduation speech that says, “Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now.  Live it.  Feel it.  Cling to it.”  I finished reading a really good book this morning called A Tale for the Time Being that talks a lot about the way time passes and how we live through each moment.  I could write a whole blog post just on this book and things it made me think of, but for the time being (:P) I’ll just use it to talk about settling into life at UA.  With the first week behind me, things are settling into patterns.  I know when I have classes, and I know when a good time is to get coffee or tea.  I also know that I have more free time than I expected.

My roommate is an astronomy and physics major, so I have the down-low on all the astronomy events.  I may not be studying it officially, but I love the night sky.  Last Thursday, we went to an event at the Steward Observatory on campus to look through a really powerful optical telescope and see a couple stars (Vega and a binary system I don’t recall the name of), Saturn, and the moon.  This was unlike anything I’ve ever done before, and it was really cool.  What’s even better is that courtesy of the Astronomy Club we joined, we’ll receive telescope training in a few weeks and participate in stargazing events.

Last weekend was pleasantly long, and my mom flew in to visit.  There were a few delays, but once she got here, we drove up to Kitt’s Peak Observatory.  This primarily has optical telescopes with only two radio telescopes, but it is mostly known for the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope, which is the largest solar instrument in the world.  It was so cool to see all the telescopes there and even go inside to look at a few (not through them though).  On Sunday, we also drove up Mt. Lemmon.  It’s a good place to go hiking, but I didn’t want to be the one driving the first time I went up.  There are a lot of good views, and pictures can’t really capture how spectacular it is.  For anyone planning to visit though, the drive is completely worth it just for the fudge at the top of the mountain.

Since Monday was Labor Day, and we weren’t in class, we went on a trip with the school’s hiking club to Tanque Verde Falls.  It’s a 1.8 mile hike each way, and since both of us have gone hiking before we didn’t think it would be too difficult…

They didn’t tell us at at least 0.8 of that each way trip was basically rock climbing.  We also didn’t really count on the hot sun without shade, so we were a bit dehydrated by the end.  And by “a bit” I mean they made me drink a liter of electrolyte water.  It didn’t taste to bad though, and when we got back to the dorm we just kind of slept and ordered calzones for dinner.

The rest of the week was mostly just going to classes and a few events.  For example, today we’ll be meeting the Honors College Dean (there’s free food), and last night we did our English homework while eating ice cream.  The benefit of Honors English is that as long as the teachers meet a few vague objectives, they can teach how they want.  Our class’s theme is “Invasions,” and our first essay can be on either Alien or Independence Day.  So, here are a few final pictures, and I’ll get back to writing for class.

Until next time ~

Advertisements

The Secret to Getting Ahead

Hello to all my readers!  For the everyone who read this last year, you’ll notice that the penultimate post about Canada turned out to be the ultimate one, but I did (obviously) come home safely and even survived my last year of high school.  Senior year was a lot. After all the IB coursework and college applications, I’ll admit I’m glad to know where I’m going to college and to know that I don’t have to do another Extended Essay for a few more years (thanks to the Honors College, I’ll be doing a Senior Capstone Thesis).

Despite the jokes and complaining of the Senior IB students this year, it really was a good experience.  For my part at least, I can’t seem to get enough of a heavy course load, so I signed up to take eleven hours of college credit this summer, hence the partial Mark Twain quote in the title: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

~ Since I know my family and friends back home read this to keep up with my adventures, I’ll try to update with some modicum of regularity despite the coursework.  ~

According to my mom, this particular post should detail the time between graduation and finishing the first week of Arabic.  I think the following image summarizes that:

IMG_3526

In short, I’ve done a fair amount of flying lately.  A few days after graduation, I came to Tucson (suburbs shown above) for orientation where I met other U of A students and enrolled in my first semester classes.  Following that, I came home for a few days to go on one last trip with the church youth group and take a picture that scared a few people who saw it.

IMG_3602

New River Gorge; Endless Wall Trail

I will point out that there was a rock under my feet, so I wasn’t in as much danger as I could have been.  After a few days of packing most of my clothes and not nearly enough books, I took a fraction of that luggage to return to Arizona for month 1 of college.

Why Arizona?  The short answer is the Arabic Flagship program (“Why Arabic?”) and the scholarship money.  The longer answer is that I love the myriad of cultures that speak this beautiful language, and of the five schools in the country that have this program, Arizona has some very nice scholarships available.  Not only that, they offer this Jumpstart Program in the summer.

Jumpstart is mostly self-explanatory, but I’ll explain in detail anyway.  The Arabic department at Arizona is one of the best in the country, and its directors do everything they can to make Arabic available to students who want to learn the language, from students already attending the U of A to ProjectGo cadets from across the country.  Jumpstart is geared toward high school students who want to learn Arabic and potentially continue learning it as college students.  For those who start the program early in high school, it is possible to come back for multiple summers and gain several college credits along with fluency in the language.

As I am already planning to take Arabic in the school year, taking the 101 class this summer will get me ready to start 102 in the fall and also familiarize myself with the campus.  (I’ve already found some delicious restaurants.)  This first week, we have gone through the textbook Alif Baa, which is essentially phonetics of the language and basic writing conventions.  Starting Monday, we will begin the main textbook Al-Kitaab that is used in most Arabic classes.  The course is intensive, so I’ve learned a lot.  For reference, what we do in one day of class in the summer is comparable to a week of class during the school year, so regular attendance is a pretty good idea.

This won’t be quite like my blogs from past summers where I detail all the fun things I do because the majority of my day, I am either in class, tutoring, or attending office hours.  That’s not to say it isn’t fun.  I really love the class, and I’m enjoying it immensely, but I don’t think pictures of my homework would be of much interest to anyone.  I will, however, attempt to update with what’s going on as I start college and when I do exciting things, I’ll try to upload a few pictures.

Until next time ~

 

Montserrat

That’s right; Saturday’s trip was Montserrat.  Most people probably know the abbey for Our Lady of Montserrat, a statue of the Black Madonna found there in the 9th century.  We did go in the monastery, and it was cool to see the statue, but my favorite part of the trip was the 10k of hiking through the mountains.  We went up to Sant Jeroni, which may or may not be the highest point in Catalunya…I don’t know how high the Pyrenees are.  Anyway, elevation is 4055 feet, so it was pretty high up.  Going up there were a lot of stairs, which I didn’t like, but it was really worth it for the view!

After that, Sunday was a day of rest until late evening when we drove around Barcelona a bit and saw the fuentes at Plaça España.  Once arriving back at the flat, we celebrated a birthday with desert flan being brought out at 11:59 pm and the meal finishing around 1 am.  It was still a lot of fun.  Yesterday, again, I attended class at the university for the morning and came home for the afternoon where (sob) I started packing. Last night, Montse and I took a quick trip to Sitges, a cool little beach town that we turned into a photo-op.  Believe me, I’m posting very few of the pictures taken there.  Today, I plan to go back to Barcelona for the last time (on this trip anyway).

I’ll be sad when I have to leave here because I’ve enjoyed it so much.  I hope one day to come back to Spain, especially Catalunya.  I’ll still have a post on Saturday to sum up the trip, but after that the blog will return to just posting on Tuesdays.  Until then.

Montserrat  from the road

Montserrat from the road

Looking down from the mountain

Looking down from the mountain

On the trail

On the trail

The mountain from the monastery

The mountain from the monastery

The mountain again

The mountain again

At the monastery with wind

At the monastery with wind

A less windy picture at the monastery

A less windy picture at the monastery

The Monastery from the mountain

The Monastery from the mountain

A view of the mountains from the other mountains...we walked over there

A view of the mountains from the other mountains…we walked over there

Me before I walked 10k

Me before I walked 10k

A view of the landscape

A view of the landscape

R2D2 rock

R2D2 rock

On the trail

On the trail

On top looking down

On top looking down

At the overlook, Sant Jeroni

At the overlook, Sant Jeroni

Sant Jeroni, we went up there

Sant Jeroni, we went up there

Mountains

Mountains

Mountains

Mountains

More mountains

More mountains

Us with the mountains

Us with the mountains

Steep stairs...how did I not fall down these?

Steep stairs…how did I not fall down these?

Nice view of mountains and even a little of the monastery

Nice view of mountains and even a little of the monastery

A little shrine on the way down the mountain

A little shrine on the way down the mountain

Us at the top of Sant Jeroni :)

Us at the top of Sant Jeroni 🙂

Siesta time

Siesta time

Plaça España

Plaça España

Plaça España castle

Plaça España castle

Plaça España with fuentes

Plaça España with fuentes

Plaça España castle in day time...well, early  evening

Plaça España castle in day time…well, early evening

Waves at Sitges

Waves at Sitges

Sitges Cathedral

Sitges Cathedral

The Sea and Me

The Sea and Me

Me at Sitges

Me at Sitges