Holy crap!

According to the unofficial score report at the end of the GRE, I got an 800 on math/quantitative! That was a huge surprise–I was sure I’d screwed it up, and there honestly were several questions that I just made wild guesses on. However, I got a 580 on verbal, which puts me at a 1380–definitely not good enough, for my personal standards (I’d like to break 700–I want to match or surpass my SAT cumulative, which was 1470) and for the grad programs I’m considering. I’ll have to spend the next month cramming vocabulary, because that’s really what killed me, in the antonym and analogy sections–that and reading comprehension, I’m pretty sure. Oh, and that score doesn’t count the essays, which are worth another 800–I think I did fairly well on those (I aced one but didn’t have a chance to really bring my thoughts full-circle in the other, though it was a topic that interested me), but we’ll see.

I started the day off in a really embarrassing way…I left my apartment 10 minutes before the bus was set to arrive, instead of the 15 I know I have to allot to get to the bus station (but I never, ever do). A charter bus with Osaka listed as its final destination passed me on my way there, so I started running…it sat in front of the station for a few minutes, though, and I know that the person who got out to check tickets saw me walking/running towards the station, but s/he got back on and the bus pulled away anyway before I could get there.

I actually shouted, “No! Matte!” (wait!)–I’m sure that had to have woken someone up. But the bus didn’t stop, so I just stood there, silently going, “Oh crap oh crap oh crap…what do I do, I can’t catch a later bus, this day has cost me over $200, I really have to take this test, what do I do what do I do….” To make it all the more painful, when I looked at the other people waiting in front of the bus station, they were all staring at me. I was too silently panicked to care, though.

It was then that I noticed that another charter bus heading to Osaka was pulling up…it turns out that was the bus I was supposed to be on. So I climbed on board silently, completely embarrassed by my histrionics, and kept my mouth shut for the duration.

I slept for the first half of the ride, and woke up as we were approaching Awaji, so I was greeted by the view of the brilliantly blue water. The ride from Tokushima-ken to Osaka is really a beautiful one, especially if the weather’s right. (We also stopped at the highway oasis that has a coffee machine that offers soy lattes. I love that.)

I also couldn’t find the GRE building initially–I got really turned around because I didn’t realize that the 2 exits for the Nakatsu subway station were pretty much right across the street from each other, and I thought the map on the GRE website covered a much bigger area than it actually did. I then found a building that had a 7th floor, like the directions said (I thought 7F was a building number, not a floor number–whoops), and took the elevator up, only to find a locked/keypadded door for an architectural agency. It turns out it was the next (and much bigger) building. So yeah–I’m glad I left with plenty of time to spare. I’d heard the place was supposed to be easy to find, but after I found it after 15-20 minutes of searching, that’s when it hit me how obvious it was. Gotta love when that happens.

So I went in and took the test…it’s actually a pet peeve of mine when people don’t change the refresh rate on their monitors to something better than 60 hertz (70 or 75 is perfectly viable! Do people not realize what a strain it is to have the corners of the monitor flickering in their peripheral vision at all times?). All the monitors in the testing center were set at 60, so I could definitely see the screen flickering. I was really worried I was going to get eyestrain and come out of the test with a killer headache, but I ended up being all right. I also finished by 4:30 instead of 5, and that included taking an “experimental” section that they randomly offered to some test-takers with questions in new formats that ETS is thinking of trying out. As a result, I’m registered to maybe receive $100 or $200 or something in the mail in a few months, so here’s hoping for a very welcome surprise sometime next year. I wish those questions counted, though, because they were easy.

So, yeah, GRE. And now I have a month to improve on this. Pretty much none of the words I’ve been cramming for the past few days were on there…don’t you love when that happens?

Oh, I have a question for people reading this–are the test scores cumulative? Rather, if I do score higher than 580 on verbal next time, but my math isn’t as high, will my new score for each section be the highest out of all my times taking it?

Other stuff I did today…

  • saw a rainbow over Osaka, almost as soon as we crossed into Osaka-ken from Kobe
  • bought New York style bagels, twice (the first time for brunch, the second time to bring a few home, along with maple-walnut cream cheese–Bagel & Bagel is so wonderful)
  • bought food at Subway twice (ditto, except the first time was an early dinner, while the second time was to go)
  • went to Starbucks in the HEP5 (it’s interesting how therapeutic a mocha frapuccino has become for me)
  • went to Uniqlo and bought toe-socks
  • began to learn my way around Umeda and the train station
  • wandered in search of Japanese goodies for India and ended up stumbling across quite a few interesting places in the process

Oh, I’ve also discovered My Store. It’s called Loft, and it’s a 7-story department store (but then again, all department stores in Japan seem to be multistored)…the reason this one in particular has been so claimed, though, is because the entire 6th floor is devoted to stationery and paper and art supplies. THE ENTIRE THING. I had to drag myself away, literally, to go catch my bus home…I didn’t buy anything, but god knows I was so tempted to! The rest of Loft is comparable to what I’d assume IKEA is like (I’ve never been inside one–Atlanta’s first one opened just a few weeks before I left for Japan). If I were living in or near Osaka and had a car, I totally would have filled my place with the store’s merchandise. Even if I had a car here, I seriously wouldn’t mind driving to Osaka at some point just to load up on awesome things for the apartment. I definitely intend to pick up a few (ahem, “a few”) things from there when we’re in the city in December.

Okay, it’s been a really long day and I’m exhausted…tomorrow seems like it’ll be pretty long as well, with heading into Tokushima for the musical meeting and cleaning like mad before Julie comes over for our first violin lesson. I wish I could really sleep in…but that’s okay. Good night, guys.

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