A year at U of R

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day biking

Today was a gorgeous, sunny day. After working non-stop since Friday afternoon, I felt somewhat caught up on work. What better way to celebrate than with a bike ride.

I'm living in graduate student housing called University Park, which is 100 yards from the park along the river, and the Erie Canal. I biked out along the canal path, and was surprised that with five minutes, I was biking through fields! I'd expected much more industrial ugliness, but the canal has really been turned into a beautiful waterway. There were kayakers (one with a dog in his kayak), rollerbladers, bikers, joggers... everyone out enjoying Memorial Day.

I branched off, and biked out of Rochester, through fields of wheat and rolling hills. This scenery may seem average to the natives, but to me the big red barns, plowed fields, and pastures are something totally new. I with I had a decade to spend painting here. It reminds me of a French impressionist landscape. It isn't a wild, natural landscape, but it has an ageless dimension about it.

I passed by Mendon Ponds park, and the greenery is astounding. Anyone from California has got to love the trees here. They increasingly lush as the season progresses. I've never seen oak trees that are verdant green like this before. The first time I saw a gopher here, I nearly called the police! I didn't even recognize what it was, it was so huge.

I've also never seen flowers quite like this. Every inch of grass in the park is covered with dandelions and buttercups. Enormous azaleas are blooming like popcorn.

Something else new arrived today... humidity. It took me a little while to realize what this strange feeling that I couldn't breathe was. The air had overnight become thick and viscous. It felt oppressive during the day, but in the evening, as I went for a stroll in the park (with pharmacology flashcards) it was soft and pleasant. The park was packed with people walking along the river.

It was a nice end to a busy weekend.

I've probably spent 9-10 hours reading and studying each day this weekend. This is in part because next week is another 4-day week. I've done as much as I can, and I've managed to complete most of the reading and writing assignments left over from last week and for next week. I wrote a journal entry for one class, wrote descriptions of Cystic Fibrosis and Depression for my Genetics class, and wrote a short piece on my views of professionalism & education in nursing. I read about a billion chapters of I don't know what. I did 3 sheets of dosage calculations. I watched an instructional video for lab.

I also met with the study group that I organized last Friday. It was very helpful for all of us to have classmates to check in with over the weekend. We went over our assignments, and we practiced taking eachother's blood pressure and vital signs.

To finish off, I'll start writing my list of Rochester's Top Ten Best and Worst

Top 10 reasons to love in Rochester:

1. Low cost of living (half what it is in California!)
2. Great biking (think Finger Lakes)
3. A traffic jam is 5 cars
4. Humidity makes your complexion 5 years younger
5. Gophers the size of polar bears
6. Some surprisingly good Thai and Chinese food (and a full Asian supermarket)

Top 10 reasons to hate Rochester
1. The Frontier and Roadrunner internet services are both terrible!
2. Someone always knows someone who knows you
3. Canada Geese that attack you at will

To be continued, and finished once I've survived a winter here.

Check out the photos I took of flowers along the Genesee river, and some scullers on the river, with the University of Rochester in the background.