Despite my best intentions, I have pretty well slipped into the sloth that cold weather, a warm living room, a comfy couch, cuddly cats and dogs, and the bottomless opiate of netflix encourage. I do get on the treadmill periodically to pretend to keep off the weight I lost in Australia...but I also refuse to weigh myself with anything resembling regularity.
My friend Adriene and I sometimes go on little hikes around the desert. They are lovely outings that provide some exercise, some intellectual stimulation, and some companionship.
I have accomplished a couple of tasks around the house, and I perpetually conceptualize projects and guilt over things I probably should attend to, always managing to prevent me from feeling completely relaxed and brain-dead. I wish I was better at doing nothing. Heh, years in advance of any probability, I already know that I will be one of those hateful old men everyone dreads as he approaches retirement.
Plans for next semester proceed. Plane tickets have been purchased. Housing has been secured and paid for (the look on the woman's face at the bank as I came in with the request to bank transfer a bunch of money to Africa..."but he said he was the prince of Nigeria...").
I had a nice visit to my friends, counselors, etc. in Irvine and picked up the final component of my student visa application: my financial aid letter. Having completed the dense and thick packet (consisting of a health certificate, a TB exam, a financial aid letter, letters of endorsement from both UCT and UC, a certified copy of my birth certificate, a state police background clearance, a notarized repatriation agreement, and the many 10s of pages-long visa application), I arose early one morning a little over a week ago to drive it into the South African consulate in Los Angeles. It felt really good to get that submitted. I kept feeling a block as if I knew that they would not issue me the visa...and then I realized that of course they would never issue me the visa if I never actually completed the application and submitted it.
I have also been corresponding with some graduate students at UCT who have invited me to be a part of their field research. While nothing is set in stone, and I know that I cannot take an actual position in a lab or anything due to my visa status, I am hoping my class schedule and the like will work out in such as way where I can tag along on these ventures that will study bird populations and/or the evolution of tiny succulent plants in their native ranges north of the Cape.
Thanksgiving was spent in the company of my family in Tucson. We played cards, yelled lovingly at each other, ate insulting amounts of food. On the way, Fred and I stopped off at Salvation Mountain and Yuma.
|Love is odd and often misspelled
For now, the weather is quite cold in the desert. Christmas passed quietly and without pressure (just as Fred and I hoped). New Years looms. And here I sit one month shy of my departure to return to the southern hemisphere.
There is mail to sort. Clothes to fold. I have a piece of art to create before the 9th for an exhibit at the Radio Free Joshua Tree Listening Lounge. Must get to work on that...