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April 16th, 2006

random introductions

In preparation for my presentation over the weekend I went to a café to research some statistics on Thursday, and although I probably spent less than five minutes working during the four hours I was there it was still an extremely productive experience. I grabbed a table near the corner of the café, and as I was setting up my laptop I overheard two girls talking, and one began her comment with « Back home in Ukraine ... »

I waited for a pause in their conversation before asking what part of Ukraine she was from (Kyiv), and from there we just kept talking. We spent some time talking about our programs of study (she's in the math department), the Chernobyl explosion (she was six years old at the time), how people act in public within Europe and the United States, our tastes in music, and some of our future plans. We also talked about our accommodations, and when Vika heard that I was having problems finding a quiet roommate for next year she became very excited, pointing out how her friend at the next table was having the very same problem.

A Potential Flatmate?Collapse )

daughtery award

On Friday morning, after the excitement of the night before, I met with my Cultural Ecology professor to go through my presentation and see what still needed improvement. As we were setting up she mentioned how there had been a meeting of the faculty from the anthropology department the night before, and one of the topics under discussion was the Phyllis and Richard Daugherty Award. She explained how the award is given to one undergraduate each year from the university's anthropology department, and that students are chosen based on a combination of their grades, leadership, and professor nominations. Not surprisingly, with qualifications like that, it's regarded as the highest undergraduate award within the department.

My professor said that she had submitted my name for consideration, and last night during the faculty meeting it was announced that I was the recipient of this year's award. My professor laughed as she described the scene - most of the professors sitting and figuratively scratching their heads (the university is ranked among the nation's top five for archaeology, and archaeologists make up the majority of the faculty) while two of the school's cultural anthropologists started clapping enthusiastically.

It was a little hard to concentrate on my presentation after that, and as I took the elevator downstairs to return a projector my restraint finally broke and I made a fool of myself in the relative privacy of a public elevator car. Rather fittingly, this took place in College Hall, home to the Anthropology Department.

symposium: day one

Columbia Valley Undergraduate Asian Studies Research Symposium

5:00-5:45 Welcoming Reception
5:45-6:15 Ann Christensen and Pei-Pei Hsu "Under the Same Sun and Moon"

The symposium took place in a faculty conference room complete with comfortable sofa chairs and couches along three of the walls and a table located in the front center of the room for each group of panelist speakers. Despite the laid-back atmosphere I spent most of the evening with butterflies in my stomach thinking about how things would go the following day. The first speaker was a Professor of Ceramics at WSU who spoke about how she had 'gained permission' to use traditional Chinese ceramics as an influence during the first of her three trips to the country, but no time was spent discussing the work being done in China today as she concentrated on slides of her own abstract creations. The second speaker was a student from Taiwan who had created a pottery series of fruits resting on pillows, but her own presentation was limited to a short, five minute talk about her time at the university.

Panel 1: Themes in Chinese LiteratureCollapse )