Summer... oh, sweet summer.

Man, this summer is turning me, and my world, on our heads. I, who usually starts on research pretty earlier in the semester for papers, have not even settled on topics for my two papers I have to write about Cuba. If you know me at all, you know that I am the complete opposite of a procrastinator; I don't even remember the last time I didn't have a paper done a good five days in advance to its due date. But I have been feeling that summer laziness, where I'd rather sit and daydream on my porch in the middle of the night, and watch foreign movies on Netflix Instant, rather than focus on writing or scholarly stuff. (And I can actually pay full attention to a movie, with free time like this!) I'm feeling like this is going to be the summer of papers written the day before they're due. Oh, Lordy. I can see it coming. I have also started in on priming my whole apartment, which I painted in its near entirety last summer, when I anticipated staying here for two years at least. Rent increases have made that impossible, and I am fully feeling the pain right now, in the time it takes to return these walls to white. I've decided that my energy and determination to paint a new space is directly related to whether or not I have recently had to paint a room, since last summer I didn't have to repaint anything when I moved out of my previous townhouse. This summer, I am taking a much simpler approach to my new apartment: beige walls, no work required. I'll take my mom's advice: just cover it with so much art, it feels like home anyway. Perfection.

Maybe the most indicative hint that it is summer (and the most fun) is the vast increase in alcohol intake compared to my regular, super busy semester life. Spending two weeks in Cuba, where the mojitos are the same price as a bottle of water (and you got to have something with lunch, right?) certainly helped kick that off right away. Since I've been back though, I have had time to visit lots of friends, and have taken a new approach to dinner: why not have a beer with that? In fact, why not just have beer for dinner instead?

Only working, and not having class, has been truly joyful. Relaxing. Only ONE thing to focus on in my life. Is this how real people live? It's so much fun!

I've also been absolutely obsessed, all of a sudden, with M.I.A. and Dengue Fever, two artists I've long known, but they are seriously hitting the spot right now. Exactly my mood. A bit rebellious, no?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HeNduXM-fk[/youtube]

Did I say, also, that since I'm moving, I am really excited about shaking up the way all my stuff is arranged, and in further simplifying my space. Might get rid of a bunch of stuff. Might put the bookshelves in the dining room. Maybe put my art/fabric/inspiration board right out in the living room. Why not?

I pretty much just want to pay homage to summer:

to having a tan and wearing a skirt to show it off,

to last year's dirty, broken-in flip flops,

to pleasure reading (YES!),

to no make-up,

to keeping the frig stocked with good beer,

to the pool,

and cook-outs,

to margaritas with great friends,

to MOVING (even though it's a lot of work),

to less stress in the classroom (and if you're really lucky, no class at all--jealous),

to the windows down!,

and the heat suffocating you (I do kind of love Georgia heat the way it does that),

to sweating so much at my job, I don't feel guilty about not going to the gym,

and to spending too much time watching TV shows.

Among other things.

My job as a psuedo travel organizer

Part of my job involves reading travel guides. You know, the big fat Lonely Planet ones, and the TimeOut guides that have the colorful pictures. And more than that, the ten-or-so books on my desk are about Cuba: a place I never thought I'd visit. In my regular life, I would have no time to even peruse guidebooks on Cuba, because it's not even a place I could travel  if I had the money. As it stands, I don't even have the patience to read guidebooks on India, knowing I cannot actually plan a trip with any certainty, because I have no means to get myself to India anyway.

So that in these last five weeks I have been planning a two-week trip to Cuba--right down to writing the application to the Office of Foreign Assets for the license for travel--is beyond anything I could have imagined in a job. It felt entirely exhilarating to write the application letter to the feds, knowing that something I was producing was going to effect something much larger: this trip would not occur if we were denied a license. I was representing the entire university. I am excited to report that we just received notice yesterday that we have indeed been granted a license to travel to Cuba, good for one year for anyone, either faculty or student, who wishes to go to the Cuban island for academic purpose. The fact that I am being paid to perform this job strengthens my belief in their being "real" jobs that are both enjoyable and rewarding, and that employ many of the skills I have and use already.

This is my first semester in grad school. Besides showing up at an entirely foreign campus in downtown Atlanta, I had also moved into an apartment on my own several weeks earlier, and was naturally leaving my job at the campus bookstore at Kennesaw State (where I received my undergraduate degree) because it was simply too far to commute for a student position.

So naturally, I needed another job, and I was hoping that would come in the form of a graduate assistantship through the history and heritage preservation department of my school. By mid-July, I still hadn't gotten a definitive answer, and had begun applying to other full time jobs in the area, because grad school with no job was not an option. When I did finally hear from the director of my department, I was so excited just to be employed I was hardly concerned what I would be doing. Research or making copies, I didn't care.

Now though, I feel I have definitely lucked out; I am working with the director, and I am not making copies or filing paperwork (or organizing paperwork, or shredding paperwork, etc.) but am handling all the groundwork for next the Heritage Preservation Program's Maymester abroad. There is a lot of work involved, but I have yet to mind one task. To me, looking through old slides of Cuba, writing up brochure text, and manning a booth at the study abroad fair is not "work."

Oh, and with any luck, I'll be going on the trip too. What an amazing opportunity.