In general, I think there’s a lot of uncertainty about what graduate students actually do. Even being a graduate student myself, I’m not always 100% certain what my role is, how I should be spending my time. Things were much more defined for me in my first two years in my program; I took classes, read the canon and wrote a lot of papers. In the third year, teaching was added to the mix of coursework and research; the fourth year included much of the same, but with the addition of preparation for my qualifying exams. And then things changed again. Suddenly, after having jumped successfully through all these hoops, there was a lull: no more classes, more independence and just one big paper (or what some of us refer to as many little papers; the rule of thumb is that you can call your dissertation whatever you want as long as you find a way to write it) left to write.
It was only this morning that I started to realize that, although I’m technically still a graduate student, I no longer feel like a graduate student. I read Bon Appetit and The New Yorker after dinner, and I never do “homework” over breakfast. There is no longer any need for “all-nighters.” While I, of course, do work, the nature of this work is decided by me: I choose what books I’ll read, I establish the deadlines and, if I need to take a “personal day” (or 20) to get my thoughts in order, I can. Really, these days I see myself more as a writer–somebody who is putting the various pieces together and constructing a narrative. The construction of this narrative just involves a lot of detours; there are Twitter stops, lunch breaks and long moments of contemplation about dinner. There is also this blog and the internet as a whole, which reminds me not only that it’s important both to eat and live well, but also that there’s a wide and wonderful world of things that aren’t Slavic or dissertation related and that I should, when possible, take part in them, even if only as a shadowy spectator.
Which brings me to the point of this post. By nature and training, I’m a researcher (and maybe a consumer) at heart; I like finding things and sharing them, suggesting books, brunch places, bakeries, movies, etc. And so, every once in a while, I’m going to spread the “internetical” love and shower you with things that I find no less than amazing. Pretty pictures, maybe related, maybe unrelated, will be included. Words, also, will not be left behind.
1) Did you know that besides being a pretty amazing poet, Emily Dickinson had a fondness for baking? Coconut cake was one of her specialties.
2) I have no idea how this gluten-free pasta would taste, but, since it’s from the wondrous kitchen of Thomas Keller, I was more than a little intrigued.
3) Along with the Joy the Baker Cookbook, the library has been good to me recently. After months of waiting, I’ve finally gotten The Last Nude, which is about art and painting in Paris in the ’20s; the modern-day epistolary novel, The Illumination; and a novel that a friend inadvertently recommended about the Lapland.
4) I maybe haven’t mentioned that I’m going to Greece this summer (and Istanbul and New York, too!), but the Greek’s mother sent me this lovely video of Greece, which has made me even more excited for June!
5) I’m in love with Tamarind Chocolates from a shop dangerously close to my apartment.
6) When I was in Finland, I was thinking of all the things I wanted to do when I got home. Since baking was at the top of the list, I jumped at the chance to participate in a bake sale in San Francisco for charity–the very same bake sale that I decided not to participate in last year because of my dissertation.
7) On a similar note, I also decided to join the Foodie Pen Pal program, which means that once a month I’ll both mail and receive a box of goodies. I’ve always had a thing for real mail.
8) Ever since our trip to the Ferry Building, I’ve been dreaming of more Cowgirl Creamery Triple Cream Cheese; it has ruined me for all other cheese–forevermore.
10) I come across a lot of blogs, but recently I’ve been especially enjoying two. The first is Kiss My Spatula, whose photography is endlessly gorgeous and inspirational. And then there’s the small fact that she can write about Vietnamese Iced Coffee one day and Rosemary Mint Lamb Popsicles the next; let’s just say I know a certain couple that would enjoy both. The second is Emiko Davies, who, much to my surprise (remember my own squeamish refusal to eat reindeer blood in the Lapland?), has recently been cooking with pig’s blood. Like I said, the internet never fails to amaze.