30.4.06

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Well, I've spent the last 5 hours or so studying for my two finals and large paper that are due this week and, to be honest, I'm lacking motivation to keep moving on. It's kind of been a problem all semester with J gone. I just don't feel like doing much of anything. Luckily, I've got the next two days off, so I don't need to get everything done today.

So, there has basically been two things on my mind lately. First is my trip to Asia which is coming up incredibly fast. We finally nailed down our basic itinerary, although we are booking loose tickets so we can move at whatever pace we decide on the ground. Generally, we are going to spend about two weeks in Vietnam (HCMC, the Mekong Delta and up the central coast as far as Da Nang), about one week in Cambodia (Phnom Phen and Angkor Wat), one week in Thailand (Bangkok and Chaing Mai) and a half a week in Laos (Luang Prabang). I've also got a layover in Hong Kong for three days.

I've been deciding what books I want to bring with to read and I think I've gotten a pretty good mix ready. I've got two books on urban development:

Southeast Asian Urban Environments: Structured and Spontaneous
Postcolonial Urbanism: Southeast Asian Cities and Global Processes,

Two history books:

The Mekong by Osborne
Survival in the Killing Fields by Ngor (this one was recommended by a Cambodian friend)

and two novels:

Burmese Days by Orwell (yes, I reallize I'm not going to Burma, but I like Orwell)
and The Quiet American by Greene (which is one of my favorite novels)

I think the urban development stuff will be fun. One of the best parts of being an Urbanologist (that's Jacobs' term, RIP) is that going on vacation is also a great chance to study new places. This trip will be especially interesting since we'll be in French colonial cities (Phnom Phen, Saigon), British colonial cities (Hong Kong, Bangkok) as well as indigenous cities (Hue, Luang Prabang, Angkor). Colonial cities are interesting because they were often used as testing grounds for planning theories that lacked public support at home. Saigon was basically used as a testing ground for the crowd control theories that Hausmann ended up using in Paris. The indigenous planning was interesting too. In Luang Prabang, instead of grouping the city as one unit, it was built as a series of neighborhoods each with their own temple. Even today, people often associate more with their neighborhood unit instead of the city.

I have been reading a bunch of stuff already too. A Bright Shining Lie by Sheehan was really good, as are the biographies of Ho Chi Minh (Duiker) and Pol Pot (Short). I'd recommend them both.

Other than the trip, I realized this week that I might be graduating much sooner than I really thought. I've got to go in and talk to an advisor to make sure, but it looks like I could graduate in Summer I of next year. That's a pretty crazy thought for someone who has been in college off and on for the last 8 years. I'm really excited that I finally found something that I like studying and that I can be passionate about, but it's still a little intense that I could be done and moving on to grad school so soon. If there is anything I kind of regret about the way I ended up doing college it is that I didn't find anything to really care about until it was too late for me to be a "real student" without having to work 40 hours a week. I'm hoping that grad school will be a more traditional learning experience. Being nomadic, it's also exciting in that there is a pretty good chance we'll end up moving again (that's what that last post was about, by the way).

Well, I suppose I should get back to work now.

4 comments:

Anna 2:08 PM  

Wow that's exciting that you might be graduating so soon! When woould you think about applying to grad school? How long does Jessica have left?
I'm still pretty sure that I'm coming back for the summer, but Jenne and I are speaking at Solomon's Porch on the 11th of June, so I wouldn't be coming really early. Either way, I'll be seeing you guys soon! Have an awesome time in Asia!

onetenchelsea 2:26 PM  

The places that we are thinking of for grad school are the photos in the last post. you'll have to guess!!!

onetenchelsea 2:27 PM  

oh, you said when... maybe for fall 07.

Your Belle 7:27 PM  

I am so excited for your trip! wish I was going w/ y'all! unfortunately, when I was in Thailand (mostly Bangkok) I was sixteen and not in charge of the itinerary, so I don't have much to recommend except don't hand out evangelical tracts written in Thai (just joking!) You should make a point to have a ride in a tuk-tuk. The open air markets are fun, and the royal palace is pretty breathtaking (see the prized Emerald Buddha).Oh and the experience would not be complete w/out squatting at least once at a "squatty-potty".

have fun!
Michelle

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