Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Settling in to Yale

I've now been at Yale for 2 days, but it feels like longer as I get used to the routine. Here's what's gone on lately:

Rob, Liz and Maeve delivered me to my college room after a couple delightful days of doing nothing much and catching up on relaxing time. We had lunch with Liz's siblings Mike and Barb, Connecticut locals who I will see around town, and then walked around the giant campus trying to find housing check-in and my room. The place makes much more sense now that I'm not carrying luggage around whilst exploring!

I found my way to the dining hall and was reminded of the contrasts between Australians and Americans when every announcement or introduction at the meeting was greeted by exuberant cheering and clapping; anything done here is done with enthusiasm.

We went on the standard historical walking tour yesterday and learned the tricks of the campus. I feel quite comforted by the fact that the ye olde gothic buildings were actually built in the 1920s by a guy who liked an old time feel - he aged the slate in a river, poured acid down the walls, chipped corners off bricks, and cracked and soldered the window panes to get an authentic 'been standing for centuries' look (a nice touch: all the window cracks are done in a Y shape). The architecture is less intimidating when I keep that in mind.

The same mad architect contributed to Yale's churchy feel by deliberately building a church, sorry, a library. Apparently he wanted to add a cathedral to his portfolio, but Yale didn't want one, so he offered to do the library instead. The facade has burn marks (from 16th century fire/ 20th century blowtorch) and empty nooks where statues should go (stolen by Vikings, 14th century/never there to begin with) and there's a circulations desk under a picture of 'Mother Yale' instead of an alter under the virgin Mary. Complete with the largest collection of secular stained glass art in the world, it's the ultimate (not a) cathedral.

Oh and Rob, that mad white building with no windows? Turns out it's all windows, we just can't tell - it's the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and the walls are made of marble at 1.25 inches thick, letting in light but no UV rays. I'll go in at some point and check out the ancient collections, including one of the Gutenburg bibles.

I'm still adjusting to the college life; there's something magical about not cooking but so weird that I can't have food when I want - dinner closes at 7 and I have no fridge access!

On the other hand, I have a free membership the Payne-Whitney gym, another building that looks like a church and is the largest indoor gym in the Western world, complete with at least 2 pools (that I've seen). That's pretty sweet.

We haven't actually started class yet, that happens today. I shall report back on that aspect soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment