Good times

Things have started to get really pretty good around here. Not that it wasn’t before, but it was definitely stressful and worrying and overwhelming at first. Now I seem to be in a good routine, am getting to know people better, and am able to actually go and do stuff instead of constant life-sorting. Last weekend was particularly fun, the best one yet.

On Friday (after my first gym session here; went well but God, exercise is such an EFFORT. Who knew?) we went to a wine & cheese party hosted by the European Society, which was nice and civilised and pleasant. On Saturday my lovely UVa Buddy took me downtown for some frozen yoghurt, then I went to a dinner hosted by this group which helps international students. The dinner was in one of the gardens behind the pavilions on the Lawn and was all home-cooked food provided by the Charlottesville families who volunteer for these events. It was so lovely and the people there were just ridiculously nice. It’s a Christian organization and most people were linked with this one church, I think, so there was a little bit of Jesus stuff, but not much. Those who know me well know that I’m not exactly a religious person (to put it mildly) but it still fascinates me and these people were just so damn nice! They really want to help international students, like taking them on trips, giving rides to the airport, whatever you need. One guy with us is now going shooting with some of the men there (yeah, American Christians and guns, I know what you’re thinking) and some of us may go on a hiking trip soon with one of the girls. We were also invited to go to their church one Sunday, and we’re actually going to go, just out of interest, to see what a ‘contemporary’ American church is like (they have a rock band and stuff!). So that was actually a really good experience, and quite humbling to meet these people who just want to meet new people and help them out however they can.

That night we went to a small party at someone’s apartment, which pretty much involved talking to some guys who mainly just tried to convince us to be Cowboys fans (it’s a football team) and made fun of my accent. All good, though.

On Sunday night we got some burritos at the corner (soooo good) then went to the 9/11 Candlelight Vigil at the amphitheatre. This was actually really nice, it wasn’t overly sentimental as I was expecting, and they gave everyone a candle to hold, there was a speech by an alumnus and 9/11 survivor and a short documentary about UVa people’s experiences of the day. It was actually really interesting and quite special to be there for the occasion, surrounded by hundreds of people who had been far more effected by the event than I was.

Monday was of course back to classes and I spent most of my four hour gap between them sitting in the gardens and on the Lawn reading. It was such a beautiful day, and really idyllic. That night my roommates and I got Chinese takeout together, and yesterday  we finished off the day with a frozen yoghurt ‘family outing’. This week is much less stressful in terms of work, so that’s good.

And by the way, I’m the ‘run crew chief’ for the production of The Music Man. I coordinate the stage crew and scene changes. Had a ‘spaghetti dinner’ with the other techies tonight which was nice. Expect a whole post soon about this society. Lots to say about it.

Oh, things are good right now.

Natalia xxx

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