[insert profound title here]

I’m in the community center, upstairs in the computer room, taking a quick break from GRE cramming to check in, since it’s been a few days. There’s an intermediate/advanced shamisen class meeting in a nearby room on this floor, and while the music is a little repetitive, it’s comforting to hear music being rehearsed–it makes me think fond thoughts about Georgia Tech’s orchestra, the Couch Building, our conductor’s cheesy but funny musical humor (“I can’t conduct electricity tonight,” “That’s so slow that it’s almost like you’re backing up, like you’re inhaling” (to the winds and brass), “It sounds like a flamenco dancer falling down a flight of stairs” (to the percussion), “That’s as flat as a mackerel’s ass”…and so on–hi, Ron and Pete!). I really miss them, as well as the whole orchestra crowd.

So speaking of the GRE, I am indeed heading into Osaka on Saturday to take this godforsaken test. 4 hours on a bus from the station here in Ikeda, with 2 hours to spare before the 4-hour test, then wandering around like a dazed zombie for another 2.5 hours before the 4-hour ride back home that evening. At the very least, I hope to eat vegetarian food (SUBWAY!) and maybe stumble across a store that sells traditional items so I can pick up “omiyage” of a sort for the relatives in India I’ll be seeing this time next month. I’m doing fairly well on the practice stuff–the math in particular; I’m glad it’s all coming back to me now! I have to spend tonight and tomorrow focusing on vocabulary and reading comprehension, though, because those are the two areas that are going to slaughter me if I’m not careful.

And speaking of India, I’ll be there in less than a month, and soon after, my family will be coming here! I’ve been talking to my parents pretty regularly to plan things out–I’m taking my laptop with me so that I can download the hundreds and hundreds of photos I’m sure I’ll be taking during the 10 or so days I’ll be there. It’s not nearly long enough, but it’s definitely better than nothing, and the fact that I’m going to see two Indian weddings (and then probably get hit with the inevitable barrage of, “So, Smitha, when will it be your turn? Huh? Huh? Huh?” questions–especially since one of the two brothers getting married is at least a year younger than I am, and I’m coming up on the Big 25 “Deadline” next year and haven’t even been on a real date–no, Random Internet People, that’s not an invitation of any kind), as in real weddings actually in India and not in Pittsburgh over 15 years ago, will more than make up for it. It’ll be great to see all these relatives, too–we’ll be in Hyderabad and Bangalore, so I can see both my grandmothers (who will be visiting India during that time), as well as extended relatives I haven’t seen since we were in India last time.

Plans for winter break (from school, but not from sitting at my desk downstairs) are still falling into place, though I do know I’m taking off a few days at the start to meet my family in Osaka. We want to go to Kyoto, and I brought up the idea of going volcano-watching, which they’re actually happy to do, as long as there’s stuff to do in those areas, so maybe we’ll head down south (since heading up north in winter when they’ll have come straight from Atlanta, City of Nonexistent Winter, is ridiculous) to Kyushu and check out Sakurajima and a few others.

Oh, something else rather important…my boss brought out the recontracting papers earlier this week. And she asked me immediately if I’d decided yet. I had to tell her no, but I couldn’t convey why I hadn’t, and how this is one of those decisions that I think about every single day, and how so much is riding on whether or not I 1. actually do apply for any masters programs that would notify me before the start of February as to my acceptance, 2. get started on requesting recommendations and my statement of purpose (yeah, really late in the game here…), and 3. if those do indeed fall into place, I actually get accepted somewhere (preferably not Georgia Tech again, since it would be much better to go somewhere else and I’m really frustrated and thoroughly disgusted with the blatant anti-arts attitude on that campus). And if I don’t…if I slack off too long…should I go back and try to find a job involving visual design or the web or Japanese or more than one of the above or none of the above? Or do I stay here and stick it out for another year? I’m leaning towards going home right now–but like Hannah has said, which I agree with, I’m not going to make the decision until the time comes for me to make it. So much can change between now and February 3rd.

Okay, I should get back to studying…wish me luck!

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