Today marks exactly one month since I arrived on campus. So far so good, but this week has definitely been the best. Here are 5 signs that I am finding my groove.
1. I am official.
My social security number arrived, so it feels like America-the-nation has acknowledged that I do actually exist. When I reply to the ‘What is your SSN?’ question, with ‘I don’t have one’ it is a sure-fire conversation stopper. They don’t know what to do with you, they have to call a supervisor, and I move from being a person to a nuisance.
2. I made some non-compulsory friends. And we went out.
Anyone who you don’t live with, who wants to spend time with you, is classified as a non-compulsory friend. This week I had my first social outing with new friends from my course, and another outing is planned for this weekend with some other people.
3. I passed my statistics assignment.
In a perfect role-reversal from teacher to student, I sat with growing anxiety at my desk while the lecturer walked around the room returning assignments. As a teacher who normally tries to tell my students not to gain affirmation solely from the marks, I broke my own rule. The mark on the front in red pen felt great. Maybe I only half-suck at maths.
4. I joined things. And met people.
I had my first meetings of the Ski and Snowboard club, and the Graduate Student Activities group. I tacked the big questions: Should I go on the ski trip to Aspen, Colorado in January, even if the majority of attendees will be undergraduates? What would be a good theme for the Grad School Prom in March? I had my second rehearsal for Festival Chorus. The big question there was: How long can I hide the fact that I can’t really sing, and definitely can’t pronounce the lyrics in Latin and German? At each of these, and in my classes, people have now asked for my contact details or given me their cards. I hope this is not another version of the ‘let’s have lunch’ line.
5. I was introduced to FroYo.
Remember the dessert buffet at Sizzler restaurants in the 1990s? You know, self-serve ice-cream, with trays of chocolate flakes, freckles, hundreds-and-thousands, and dispensers of chocolate, caramel and raspberry sauces? In America the self-serve-dessert buffet concept still exists, but the ice-cream is disguised as the ‘healthier’ alternative of frozen yoghurt. And you don’t have to go through the charade of having dinner first. The selection of flavours, toppings and sauces is extensive. Luckily it is not walking distance from my house.
So I have learned that it takes a month for the seeds of a life to sprout. And it is happening just as the leaves are beginning to change.