Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Berkeley Diaries Cont….

Lots of wonderful things are happening! Small moments of productivity, big discoveries, down time, too much up time, but most of all this is a wonderful place to be.

Last night Kyle rocked up at CZ (literally, he broke in, I looked up and there he was in the living room) and kidnapped me into a concert at a place called Freight and Salvage. It was totally unexpected, and totally wonderful! This traditional Irish band was playing, 5 guys; an Electric Bass, a fiddle, a guitar, an Irish Piper and a flautist….. it was amazing! They were so together, and I loved the Irish accents. After only hearing my awkward Australian-ness in the midst of the American drawl, it was super refreshing!

A beautiful thing here is the afternoon sun. It catches on the buildings in campus and on the redwoods in the Berkeley hills and makes them glow in a golden sheen, as if someone has draped a gossamer blanket over the world. It kisses your face and makes you feel as if you have energy when you’re running on empty. I love the afternoons here.

So, also, I am helping vamp up the dancing scene at Berkeley. There is an amazing structure in place for introducing new dancers to the scene; they have a troupe for newer dancers, as well as the SwingCal subject that I’m helping teach! But they don’t have anywhere for students to practice, for whomever to come and just dance, because there is no equivalent here to the Unimelb student union which lets us use rooms with wooden floors…. And after 3 weeks of dancing on concrete, I have had had enough!

So I am using my copious inside connections, (thankyou, co-op with 126 roommates!) to book us a room, as well as the super sneakiness taught to me by S.C.U.M to help break us into empty rooms when we have no booked ones 🙂 it is fun!

Also, teaching is heaps of fun. It’s really nice to be able to give people dancing tips in a constructive way that doesn’t make them upset. When you’re put in a position of a teacher, people listen to you! It’s exciting to see people improve and get excited about Lindy Hop.

What else? I had to drop my Harry Potter DeCal 😦 I really needed the time in the week to do other work and catch up on sleep, especially as I have about 4 dance exchanges coming up in the coming month. There are only 3 days left until ULHS and I really can barely contain excitement….

but here are some people playing land quidditch, for all you furious Potter fans who are now out for my blood 🙂

I went to San Francisco the other day, and went on this cable-car tour ride thing for free with a friend, behold some of the photos!

Also, we went up the clear elevators in Union Square. They are magnificent and amazing…! You get this rushing view of the city as you zoom up, and suddenly pop! You’re at the top with a full moon and shining city out in front of you. Incredible. Sadly, it’s not the kind of thing you can capture on camera, which, in some ways makes it better.

Right now I am sitting in Zak’s room doing work and listening to his electronic music/ DubStep….. well, by doing work I mean procrastinating.  Zak has a fluffy dresser. It looks like a muppet with drawers. Odd.

Last night we had Human Chess in the common room, but apathy won. The pieces who didn’t get developed early enough soon got bored and left…. Boo! I was getting really into it. I’ve become somewhat of a chess addict whilst being here. People are always invariably sitting on the balcony playing chess, and so I have become sucked in…. ditto for foozball, the ‘gentleman’s sport’.

Also, I went to a frat party! My first, and hopefully my last one…. I knew a couple of people who lived at the frat, so that was fun, but the place was filled with overly drunk individuals who either have no intelligent ability left, or simply want to take advantage of the people with no intelligent ability. The average age was a little younger, and everyone was dancing all up in each other’s business in a way that I had just ever seen so blatantly before. I went to dance but soon had to leave because I was just going to have to hit too many people in order to get my own space 🙂

The Frats and Sororities here are apparently not all as bad as we see in Legally Blonde, but I haven’t seen it yet…. It’s pretty much a Jocks and their Gals kind of culture that I don’t really get, a kind of voluntary idiocy with the aim of hooking up with randoms…. *sigh*

I also went to a blues house dance party…. (Isaac and blues co, emulate this please!) It was awesome! Just a beautiful big hardwood floor, fairy lights, nibblies and good music! And a sukkah out the back, with these beautiful hanging candles. I got excited because I didn’t think I’d be in a sukkah this year, what with living at the coops etc. It was really the perfect venue, and I enjoyed myself super much-ly.

Lastly, handed in my first big Berkeley paper (assignment) today…. Eep!

Now, it is more than time to end this, it is getting egregiously long.

Xxxxx SO much love to Hannah and Amy, for their amazingly wonderfully beautiful letters which made me so ridiculously happy!

SFLX (San Francisco Lindy Exchange)

So the people in my drug den think that I’m hardcore

Though I missed the naked kitchen dance party that happened on Saturday night, the dance party that went on in San Francisco this weekend was so many kinds of excellent that I can’t even regret 🙂

It began with the wonderful Kim Nalley on Thursday night at the 9.20 Special dance. What a packed floor! She was WONDERFUL, what a voice, what an amazing stage presence. She wore this giant white flower on top of her head and just sang all of my favourites – A-tisket a-tasket, when you’re smiling, I wish I knew how it would feel to be free….. So many more! And she sang this awesome blues number “My man has a big long slidey thing” and at the end she says “I’m talking about a trombone, y’all, get your minds out of the gutter!” it was hilarious. I loved it.

So I arrived home after the perfect night of dancing to live music, and what should I find in my mailbox!? A letter from the loveliest Hannah Jones, full not only of excellent love, but including notes from a whole bunch of people from brats!!! I was so fantastically happy, I couldn’t even fall asleep. 🙂

Jammin with Kyle 🙂

Yom Kippur was Friday night and Saturday, and though there are about 25 in my house’s Jew crew, I’m pretty sure I was the only one fasting…. Ah, Berkeley and the co-ops and all the hippies who believe only in trees and drugs… I never want to leave! 🙂

But Saturday and Sunday nights, there was more dancing, and I danced until 5 and 6am respectively. I love late nights so much – people stop trying and just let it all out, and you have the best dances ever…. I had a dance with Alex where we just held on with our pinkies 🙂

more jammin!

My favourite band was the Sunday night band. They had a wicked horn section, played to the crowd exactly, played faster music (goodness, I miss the tempo of Seattle!) and I didn’t sit down one song they played! I was so so wrecked by 4am Monday morning – Kyle and I went and got 7/11 coffee…. The one with extra caffeine… I took 3 sips and was bouncing off the walls! It should be illegal, that much caffeine… it’s like straight adrenaline into your body.

BARTing home, monday morning

But the hardcore part of the weekend was still to come – in the form of a five hour central kitchen workshift at 8am on Monday…. I had arrived home at 7am, watched the sun rise over the bay and Berkeley on my roof (through the fog, of course!) changed out of my nice clothes and stacked boxes of fruit for five hours…. Then I managed a shower, and a half hour nap before my 3 hour class began! And then, because I was in this surprisingly dapper mood (possibly still high on a weekend of swingouts), I did an hour of homework before dinner, and eventual sleep.

sunrise over berkeley, sunday morning…. the Campanile is still lit up 🙂

And THAT, my friends, is why I believe in sleeping only when you are dead.

Update of Hooray-ness!

awesome things that have happened:

  • I painted my room! its not quite done yet, but it doesnt look as bad as my ‘art’ usually does! i love random art projects, hooray!

You can only see clearly with your heart…what is important is invisible to the eye…..

this is Fat Jan, my favourite bird that I painted. She is chubby from too many twinkies 🙂

  • they restocked the fridge with blueberries. enough said!

  • our house has an amazing hot tub. I love it. a lot.
  • rhythm lounge on the weekend with a random workshop with thomas and alice mei was so so sweet! – its ridiculous how many dance superstars are around the place all the time here!
  • have already finished all my workshift for the week, woop! 🙂
  • have plans to build a loft for my bed, go dancing 5 nights this week, and finish my assignment early.
  • i got fro yo on the weekend. i am fat, and happy.
  • I had a LOVELY yontef dinner with Allison and Paul, and Viv and Howard for Rosh Hashana. Happy New Year everyone! xxxxxxxxxx Shana Tova Umetuka.
  • Today it is a month since I left for the second time. I wish I could stay here a year, not just a semester. it is WONDERFUL.
  • I got a love package of tim tams and chocolate teddies in the mail. I distributed some to the other two ozzies here, but the rest are mine mine mineeeeee…. 🙂 *jealously hoardes tim tams*
  • I am going to try blues dancing again tonight. this is its last chance!!!
  • I went to my Film DeCal class. we watched Citizen Kane and then discussed it for ten minutes. I get University credit for that! AWESOME! 😀

thats about all that is interesting at the moment! lots of love to everyone, thankyou to Zoltan for the marvelous postcard!

Now I should go to class 🙂

x’s and o’s!

Sunday Night Shenaigans….

So last night we got a little bored…?

David Spinning up a storm…

and me!!!

Brianna, after playing Kings Cup.

yes, yes that is our house’s giant salad bowl 🙂

Trying to do too much!

Oh, the magic of procrastination! Lets tell you all some Vivi-related-news!

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the sun on Lower Sproul learning a Hip Hop routine for an audition to a dance team I had no intention of joining, and now I resemble a tomato. It was fun, but I am hopeless at Hip Hop. Luckily, however, better dancing was to be had last night! I decided to skip CZ’s first giant House party (with outside guests invited) to go dancing at the Rhythm Lounge in Redwood city. it was great! Carla Heiney (who runs it) had just got married so they were celebrating. she was really shiny and glamorous! and they had a welcome dance for me, and it was really nice 🙂

A wonderful thing is that I’m getting to know lots of people in the dance scene here, so am slowly feeling more comfortable. I can actually chill out an be my silly self and not worry! phew!

(two of my new dancing friends, who make Michael and I’s colossus attempt look like childs play! they DEMOLISHED everything on the table!)

In America, they bring you refills of EVERYTHING, even hot chocolate! (mum, I had the strongest hot chocolate in EXISTACE. I couldn’t sit still for 20 minutes afterwards!)

I’ve had my first week of classes! I’m taking a college writing course; creative non-fiction, an English course about race, ethnicity and creative writing, which has sparked LOTS of contentious discussion (my teacher for that is so funny! he said he runs the class on creative writing and race because he thinks race is taboo and therefore sexy :)) and a class on musical theater in American history. (YAY! “what never?! no never! what never!? well… hardly ever!~!! he is hardly ever sick at sea!” *minces around like the captain of the HMS pinafore*)

they are all great, but as well as that, I am taking two DeCal subjects (subjects taught by Grad students). one is a journalism on film class, and the other is a HARRY POTTER CLASS. oh yes. I get university credit for discussing Harry Potter, going on a field trip to see the 7th movie part 1, and playing land quidditch! I can let out my inner HP nerd for two whole hours every week! YAY 🙂

also, I decided on a whim to audition for the University chorus, and got in! they are SO good, im SO excited. they are really serious, and the teacher wants me to go to a supplement voice class, which is exciting, as i’ve never had vocal training properly before! also, I might go to a beginner ballet class run at the university.

OOH. ALSO! I am going to be TEACHING at Berkeley!!! CRAZY! They have a swing dance DeCal, and I’m teaching classes on solo jazz movement and Lindy Hop in it! so I am officially teaching a university course!!! as well as teaching dance for the first time!!! woop!!! 😀 😀 :D!!!

SO. if you haven’t already got the gist of this, I have CLEARLY already bitten off way more than I can chew. Uni is hard here, its like school. they give us homework every day, and make sure we did the reading. its just as well things are so so interesting here, or it would be seriously annoying already. 🙂

other than that, many wonderful things have happened, like, I am learning to cook all sorts of new things in our industrial kitchen! I can poach an egg! also, a friend drove me down to a giant junk store called urban ore the other week, and I bought a super cheap couch! we had to totally revamp the room to accommodate it, but it looks shmick, or as my roommate Olga would say, tight/badass. 🙂 also, I have become a drug dealer.

STAM, lol, just checking to see who was still reading ;D…!

in funny news, the Party that I skipped last night went full over capacity by 11.30 pm. they stopped letting people in, so the rowdy crowd outside got really angry, and bum rushed the door! someone pulled the fire alarm and now my house isn’t allowed to have out of house parties till January, because the cops came an gave them an Exhibit A. I missed all the drama (not sure if that is funny, or annoying), but am disappointed, as apparently they have to cancel the house’s notorious stripper party which was going to be in like a month. boo! ah well….

I’m going to leave it there, so as not to bore you/procrastinate TOO much, but a shout out to lovely Kerryn and Bonita, both of whom have admirably succeeded in turning 21! love you girls! and am sad to miss out on celebrating with you!

now I wish you’d all just be sensible already and come hang out with me on the 300’s roof. I’ll be up there for about an hour. who’s in?

xxxx