When last we spoke, I was flailing about the fellowship I'd earned for my graduate studies. I am now, holy shit, halfway through my first semester, and things are WONDERFUL~! The work is keeping me very busy, and I spend a lot of time reading papers that remind me that WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE, but the work is interesting and I get to spend a lot of time with like-minded people, which is fab. There's thirteen of us in my cohort, and this semester is devoted to the core classes, so we spend a LOT of time together, which is great, because everyone is super cool, as are other students in the program whom I'm starting to get to know better. More on cool grad students later.
I'm keeping pretty busy outside of school. I'm now a regular instructor with the Hilo Hep Cats, teaching beginning and beginning-plus level classes in six- and eight-count Lindy. I'm also occasionally teaching privates. The work pays; it pays very little, but I can totally call myself a professional swing dance instructor. So that's cool. I'm sort of tangentially involved in environmental management consultation for a friend's agricultural property that my dad is a partner in, and to a somewhat larger extent in natural resource management and restoration on the maternal family's property on O‘ahu, and I've managed to get myself named Vice-President of the university's Swing Club and Treasurer for my graduate program's student club. Yeah. I'm all mad responsible and shit, check me out. Aside from all that I've got all my usual dance workshops/entertaining visiting instructors/having illicit lava adventures/seeing movies and plays/going to concerts etc., along with the recent additions of training for the 10k Run For the Dry Forest later this month and constructing my freaking excellent 1940s gender-bent Captain America costume to be worn at Halloween/the Cap 2 premiere/San Diego Comic Con 2014.
There have been marked improvements to my social life recently. None of my really good friends live on this island anymore, so, you know, THANK ZOLAC FOR TWITTER, but it makes it hard to find someone to go to the beach/go camping/go drinking/marathon movies with you. I was doing okay with just my eternal bro Eric,, but he went and got himself employed in Thailand for the next three years, leaving me ALONE AND FRIENDLESS AND FULL OF WOE. I was able to fill his vacancy with Sonia, a totally awesome member of the USGS Hakalau bird banding crew, but I knew the appointment was temporary, as her work visa was set to expire at the end of the summer, sending her back to Australia. My clever plan for Acquiring New Friends depended very heavily on people I had yet to meet in my cohort/graduate program... so far it's working out BRILLIANTLY.
My new bff is a guy named Forrest, who is possibly the coolest person in the world. He was born and raised on a small sailing boat, and he's spent his whole life sailing around the tropics with his brother and parents, spending most of his formative years on uninhabited atolls and places like the Marshall Islands. He's got a very adventurous/hunter-gatherer/general handy-man attitude; last weekend we hiked to a beach and he pulled out a bowie knife he made himself from a leaf spring he scavenged from a derelict vehicle, climbed a 50 foot coconut tree in about 20 seconds with no ropes, cut down a bunch of green coconuts, and expertly lopped them open so we could drink coconut milk. This is about as succinct a summary of who Forrest is as I can come up with. From Day 1, at orientation, I had him picked out, like, THIS IS THE GUY, THIS IS THE FRIEND I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR. He seems to feel the same way. That first lab trip where we got bored and both ended up at the top of a tree chatting about forest foods pretty much clinched it; we have tons in common and we're increasingly attached at the hip. I HAVE SUCH A FANGIRL CRUSH ON THIS GUY IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY.
Bff Candidate #2 is Christy, who I sort of vaguely already knew from dance things. Earlier this week I walked into the grad lounge and she was wearing a "Rogers-Stark 2012" campaign t-shirt; this rapidly devolved into an hour of us yelling, "COMIC BOOKS! SUPERHEROES! COSTUMING! CULT FILMS! WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE! OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU LET'S BE FRIENDS FOREVER!!" at each other and exchanging numbers.
So that's what's going on in my life. I'll leave it at that; I've got to meet the head of my graduate program to deposit a shit-ton of last spring's fundraiser money and then meet up with other students for our group lab project and then buy more costuming stuff and then teach a private dance lesson and maybe do homework in there somewhere.
STAY CLASSY, INTERNET.