Monday, October 02, 2006

Yom Kippur

Kind of an unfortunate day today. Got up at 7:30, tried to go to an 8:30 meeting. I'd miscalculated the time it would take me to walk over to the meeting, though, and I was a couple of minutes late. (About 3 or 4, I think.) By the time I got there, everyone was inside and the door was locked. (I'm not really sure why it was locked, it might have been an accident.) I went to the porters and asked them where the meeting was, and they said that nobody had requested the key to the room yet, which means there is nobody in there and to just wait outside the door. So I waited for a while, and then left and wandered around trying to figure out where the meeting was.

Then I had to go and buy formal clothes, since the BA picture (a picture of all new grad students in the college) was at noon, and I didn't have anything to wear. It took me a couple of hours to find clothes that (a) did not cost a fortune and (b) did not look horrible. (I was told to look "smart," whatever that means. It does not refer to looking intelligent, but apparently to "blending in" and being dressed formally but not too formally. I was confused.) Finally, after going to four stores and spending way too much money I was able to get clothes, just in time to rush back to my room, change, and go to the picture. Where it turned out that I'd gotten the wrong kind of clothes, and should just have worn something dark. (I stand out like a sore thumb on the picture. They were doing it in reverse alphabetical order, which meant that not only was I the first person to do everything, but everyone got to look at me in my "I stand out like a sore thumb" clothes. Oh, and I could barely understand the person who was giving directions, so I kept feeling like I was doing something wrong.)

Then I went to the bank. I decided to get an account with the bank that some of my friends had used, simply because they didn't have any problems with the application. Banks here need not only proof of ID but also proof of address, provided to us grad students in the form of an intro letter from the college. Apparently, one bank refused to look at this letter because it didn't have Trinity's official stamp on it (it was on the college stationary, though), and another bank had refused it because the letter was adressed "To the Bank Manager" and not to the specific bank. So I chose the path of least resistance, and went to the bank that I had not heard anything about other than that it takes five days to process the application. It took three tries to be able to apply, though, because the first branch of the bank that I went to had no people who specialize in international student accounts, the second branch (that the first directed me to) had a line two hours long, and the third one had only one person doing the work and she was going to lunch. But in the end I only had to sit there for 45 minutes, and I spent most of that time reading the explanations of the accounts. (They have a very limited set of accounts for international students. A couple of the banks only have one possible account; the one I went to had three. I'm not really sure why the limited options.) Quote from the brochure: "Student Solutions is a bank account which allows you to carry out your day-to-day banking with the minimum of ease." While that may be true, I'm not sure why they want to advertise the fact... I'd think that they would advertise MAXIMIZING ease, not minimizing it.

After the bank I went home and spent a few hours craving a cup of tea. By the time the sun set I had prepared the tea and a couple of sandwiches, and I ate as soon as I possibly could. And then I went to the BA dinner, which consisted of drinks, then a formal dinner (to which I also wore the stuff that I bought this morning) and more drinks. It was actually a pretty cool event; there were lots of interesting people and I (mostly) had a good time. Dinner was pretty weird, though. There were no choices of what to eat (they just served you), there was assigned seating, and something like grace was said at the beginning. (I missed the grace (or whatever) for some reason that I can't fathom. While we were all going down the stairs to dinner the line stopped for a bit, and then kept going, and I was told that this was because they were saying grace. I was confused.) Also, in the middle of dinner everyone got quiet, stood up, waited a few seconds, and then sat down. I have no clue why. Neither did anyone sitting around me... it just happened, and nobody paid attention or tried to find out why. After the second round of drinks I went home with a horrible headache. The dinner was nice and the conversation was nice, but it was AMAZINGLY loud. I'm not sure any of the Harvard dining halls ever got this loud, and I've definitely not had quite this kind of headache before. It's not really like my head hurts, more like I don't want to hear any sound. I didn't even really want to take a shower because I didn't like the noise.

Oh, and almost forgot. Last night I went to the BA intro meeting (which was boring and had food and drink which I had to avoid), but I met a nice guy who I talked to for a while, and who showed me how to climb the fence on my way home. The fence is about a shoulder-high metal thing (with spikes on top) which blocks the most direct way home from Trinity. It has a gate in it (which is about 10 feet tall, for no reason that I can see) which only opens during the day. At night we're supposed to walk around, but everyone just climbs the fence. Which I now also do. =) (I'll post pictures of all of this when I'm not so tired, hopefully tomorrow.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe next Yom Kippur you won't try to buy clothes or open a bank account. Does not sound like a Yom Kippur kind of thing to do.


4:38 PM  
Anonymous mama said...

Almost duplicated Anya's comment,
but noticed it on time :)


P.S. When you were little and did something I was telling you not to and then hurt yourself -- I was always saying that "Vot vidish', B-g tebya nakazal..."

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Elya said...

Hope you didn't get too hungry. It is a little weird the all these students (graduats or undergraduates?) climb over fences!

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Alya said...

I'm too hosed to write much of a comment right now, but I've been reading your posts. Thank you for posting them! Hope dealing with stuff in a foreign country gets easier for you...

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to Immigration 101.


10:13 PM  

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