Summertime in the City

Baltimore is mostly delightful in the summer, but there have been a few days when I’ve felt like the humidity has done nothing but repeatedly punch me in the face. Nothing quite like showing up to class glistening with sweat, but at least the AC on campus is more or less unreasonable chilling and I cool down pretty quickly.  I’ve spent the last few library study sessions shivering slightly, but the cold helps fight off the comfy chair sleepies. (Seriously, some of the chairs are too comfortable for studying.)

Campus has been crowded with tour groups of seventeen-year-old, wide-eyed hopefuls and their parents, and I don’t expect this to change anytime soon. I don’t mind too much, but it would be nice if they learned not to spread across the entire walkway. It feels like ages since I was doing the campus tour circuit, and it’s nice that I don’t have to go through that again. That being said, the admission season for PhD programs is getting ready to begin, and I already have some virtual informational sessions scheduled. I’m fairly certain that my stress will do nothing but rise until March, but intensive exercise has been helping to keep it at bay for now.

School continues to be going well, and I am enjoying all of the work. Which is good, because there is a lot of it. I’ve missed this kind of mental challenge, but I also miss my students every day. I was cleaning out my bookshelf and found all of the letters and pictures they had made for me. Definitely was A Moment.

The only bad news is that Titan and Bun will not be friends. Bun is back home with me for now, and we will try her with another Bun in a few weeks. For now, it is time for her to get some rest and enjoy being queen while we watch Game of Thrones. She enjoys sleeping on the ottoman, jumping on my face to be my alarm clock, and chewing on any bits of paper she can find.

Moving with a Bunny (domestic)

I am a bunny parent. Bun may be under five pounds, but she is full of more sass and snark than people expect. I find her perpetual grumpiness endearing, and she has been my companion for about a year and a half. She came with me to the U.S. from Korea, and then she crossed the country with me. She is an important fixture in my life, and it is imperative that she be able to accompany my everywhere. I discovered during the moving preparations that there is surprisingly little information about moving a lagomorph friend. I hope that this post can be helpful to others with bunny family members, because the limited amount of available information did nothing to reduce my pre-move anxiety levels. I will post another one about moving a bun internationally.

The requirements vary by state, so I suggest starting off preparations by calling the Department of Agriculture in both the current home state and future home state. This is important because rabbits typically are classified as livestock instead of pets. My home state did not have any export requirements, but Maryland requires all incoming rabbits to have a medical examination within ten days of travel and APHIS Form 7001. Most veterinary clinics do not prepare this form for buns, so be sure to call ahead and find one which does. It’s possible that your regular clinic does not.

Right now, United is the only airline which allows rabbits in the cabin and has a sufficient coverage map. I will not send Bun with checked baggage, but that can be an option with Westjet and Frontier (this could have changed). Most airlines, unfortunately, have a no-bun policy. I’m hoping this will change, but in the meantime United is my only option.  I had to book my ticket with an agent over the phone, which meant that I couldn’t benefit from any Orbitz or Kayak pricing.

On flight day, make sure to have an empty water bottle (or dish to place in the cage later, if your bun does not like water bottles), some foods, and something soft and comforting to place in the carrier. Bun will not use a water bottle, so I made sure to pack some cucumber, carrots, and other foods with high water content compared to kibble. I also like to pack some lettuce leaves and mist them with water before giving them to her. She doesn’t like to eat while flying, but I feel better knowing that she has the option. I also put a puppy pee pad in her carrier just in case she needed to go.

It took Bun a few days to get comfortable in the new place, but she settled in and started chinning everything in sight. She is with a foster at the moment because I am trying to bond her to a companion bun, but all-in-all it was a positive experience.

Public Speaking is Rude

Yesterday, I had to present a research proposal. It had been a hot minute (or several) since I gave a presentation, and even more since I gave one in English. As interested as I was in the topic, as I was happy to pitch the idea, well…

It did not. Go. Well.

Public speaking is a skill which I used to have, but it seems that I have become quite rusty. I couldn’t hide that painfully obvious intonation and speed of anxiety. My heart started pounding faster than Bun’s when she is getting her nails trimmed.  As soon as the presentation had finished, I was ready to melt into the floor and disappear on the spot. Teaching in a classroom, while a kind of public speaking, is a different kind of skill. My abilities and comfort levels definitely have shifted to reflect that difference.

Now, this was an important learning experience. I fully recognize that. PhD applications will be opened/released in a few weeks, and then it will be crunch time to get everything ready. Interviews are a part of the process, but interviews don’t begin until January. So, I expect to have approximately six months to re-develop this ability. Speaking well in front of a committee is a skill which I will need, and I am fortunate that I discovered this weakness now instead of later. (I am painfully aware about the grade which I might receive, but still. You know. Learning experiences.)

I had a conversation about this experience when I was working with my personal trainer. In an effort not to get a doughy, spent-too-many-hours-sitting grad student body, I work with a personal trainer once a week in addition to gymming it daily on my own. I should have some down time in August, so I might up my training sessions for the month, but I digress. We sometimes talk about non-fitness things during the sessions. It helps to keep my mind off the muscular misery, and I appreciate being able to bounce ideas off another person.

My personal trainer also dislikes giving presentations. It might not mean much to others, but I felt relief that I am not the only twenty-something struggling with this point. I feel confident that I will be able to re-learn this skill, but in the meantime I am considering joining Toastmasters or a similar organization.

Why can’t my brain just keep all the knowledge and information forever instead of letting some of it disappear into nothingness? How rude.