I was talking about the weather here.
Compounded with the heat (105 today, 108 predicted tomorrow), is the humidity. Even though locals like to tell you "it's a dry heat," it's not. It's really not. We enjoyed a brief respite from the outside heat over the weekend, when the temps here were actually a bit cooler than back in Idaho, but the humidity brought things even again.
Joe had to work this morning at 8:00, and my orientation didn't start until 9:00, so he dropped me off in front of my building at 7:30, and I thought I would use the time to explore my new, huge campus and try to feel at home.
I'm embarrassed to say that I got lost. Twice. On a college campus. Thank goodness for my iPhone and the Maps application.
On closer inspection, the campus is even more beautiful than I'd realized. The whole main campus is beautifully manicured and maintained, but designed to highlight Arizona's natural beauty. Throughout most of the day, you can hear the insects in the trees, although I have yet to be pestered by any bugs at all on my person. Here's some of what I saw:
Below is just one of many beautiful patches of landscaping that punctuate the campus.
Above is an avenue of palm trees that leads toward the front of the campus, and one of the oldest buildings on campus, appropriately called "Old Main."
It was gratifying and interesting to explore the campus this morning before my class. Unfortunately, the campus is pretty sprawling and I ended up taking a long, confusing, circuitous route back to the building where class was being held this morning from my home base in the Language and Literature Complex (hereafter referred to as "LL"). Me being me, I "dressed the part" of the young teacher (like I always do), and wandered around campus sweltering in my tailored jacket that went oh-so-well with my skirt. It took me about ten minutes to find my way back to my classroom. My embarrassment was compounded when I walked back to the LL with two colleagues during our lunch hour and discovered that the distance between the two should only have taken me three or four minutes, and that they're actually quite close together. Oh, to be a savvy navigator.
The TA orientation is interesting in a few ways. The class is tailored to accommodate both new and more experienced TAs, so while I appreciate learning about how teaching at ASU is going to be different than my previous experiences, a lot of the information seems "old hat." (This is not to say that I am perfect, fully-formed teacher who can't benefit from the few tips and tricks I've learned thus far.) If anything, this orientation has helped me rekindle my love of teaching composition, which, I'm ashamed to say, had somewhat waned during the last year of my MA due to the rigors of my program of study. The writing program here is so rich and well-supported from inside the English department, and I'm finding the passion of my instructors for what we do infectious. ASU structures its freshmen composition sequence very differently from ISU. This, coupled with the fact that I have been assigned a new textbook and an unfamiliar assignment sequence ensures that the next few weeks are going to be packed with preparation for teaching. The instructors here are savvy, and have come to accept that pop culture is an invaluable tool for helping freshmen realize that they have an already-existing knowledge base from which they can draw to analyze the world around them and how they fit into it. The text, The Pop Culture Zone, and the assignment sequence are designed to help students tap into this knowledge. I've drawn heavily on popular culture in the past, and am excited to be part of a program that seems to embrace the idea of teaching students with what they know.
Joe and I have been sticking pretty close to home as of late. Until my regular paychecks start and my generous fellowship is disbursed in a few days, we're pretty cash-poor. We ventured out-of-doors last Saturday to explore Tempe a bit, and made some fun discoveries. We live minutes from the Circle K featured in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. We went to Whole Foods and wandered around, relishing all the food items we now have access to. Some examples, you ask? Rendered duck fat. Microgreens. Swiss chard. Not to mention a HUGE selection of beer and wine just waiting to be tried. The bonus of living outside the "Jello belt," as I've heard it called, is that we were able to partake in a free beer tasting while we were shopping at Whole Foods. They were all, like, "You wanna try these beers fer free?" And we were all, like, "Hells yeah!" It was awesome.
I concur with Joe's opinion upon leaving Whole Foods. On the account of cuisine: Arizona 2: Idaho 0.