news from the eastern front

so here i am visiting cornell university.
everything is different here.

arrived lateish last night by eastern time zone standards, was tired and soul-lagged but my body said "it's not time to sleep now, silly human." i lay there in the dark forever until my eyes finally closed. my grad host is a bit reserved but gracious; he gave me the bedroom and he crashed in the livingroom of his one bedroom apartment. everything creaks and you could hear people crunching by in the snow outside all night long. car headlights brightened the room from time to time. i've been spoiled by my quiet dark secret garden backyard cottage. i didn't sleep well.

the campus is lovely, all stone and brick and winter-black trees and slushy snow. you can feel that spring is coming, but it isn't quite here yet. it's slushing from the sky, too, a combination of rain and snow. weather, seasons, i miss this. i like this.

this morning began with coffee and morphology (breakfast of champions). second class was phonetics. philology was not happening when and where it was supposed to be, so i came back to the computer lab i'd been shown earlier. so hi. in a few minutes there's lunch in the phonetics lab. this afternoon i meet with a couple of professors, followed by a colloquium with a speaker from kobe university. tonight is dinner at a faculty member's house.

i find the grad students here to be more friendly than those at home. they are curious, too, they'll look right at you and say hi who are you? at berkeley i feel much more anonymous (which is sometimes good and sometimes not). perhaps it's because here and now our roles are formalized: i am the prospective and they are the hosts. there is a different feel here, calmer. i think i miss the frantic energy a little.

just before i left the bay area i received my acceptance to chicago. so i have to brag a bit and say i'm six for six. i didn't really think i could do this but here i am and i still have no idea how to make this decision.

except i know that berkeley feels right for me in some way that i don't think is only about familiarity.
except that my grad host's shelves contain books written by my professors at berkeley.
except that berkeley is...berkeley. there is no other department like it.

i think i know what i want, i just worry that it will come down to the money versus the dream.