January 9th, 2004

Fishy Circumstances

"Getting that job!"

I dragged myself out of the house and into the bitter chill, overcome by the desperate need for a walk. The sky was cloudless and brightly sunny. My need to leave the house was incentive enough to go to campus for a workshop which the Italian department was sponsoring, entitled "Getting that job!" They'd invited five of their past graduates back to campus to share their job-finding experiences and respond to questions. Despite all I've been reading on job-finding, I did learn more about the process from this workshop, which certainly made it workwhile. Tips included the tactfully appropriate way of finding out what kind of letter your referee will write for you, especially when there are several people in a given department applying for the same job; the realization that I could look through MLA job postings as well as the history posts; and a great deal more information on hiring from the perspective of people who have been on many hiring committees.

I've been meaning to have more to do with the Italian department for as long as I've been here, but never did more than attend the occasional talk. This time, I chatted with a number of people, including panelists. My business cards even came in use! One of the panelists said she would investigate the possibility of inviting me to her (relatively nearby) university to give a talk! I talked to people working on Ariosto and hypochondriacs, among others. It was time well spent.
Fishy Circumstances


I had a lovely visit with sioneva. I realize that this happened at least ten days ago, but it's news to you, isn't it? I met her at the train station, and we explored downtown Preston. She'd been there once before, on a shopping expedition. It was really wonderful to go around Preston, not only with someone I know, but someone who knows Lancashire. Between us, we'd been to a large percentage of the touristic highlights indicated on the touristic map in the main square. Alas, the train station map wasn't nearly so competent: half of the map was devoted to the river, with most of the main streets left out. It didn't even extend as far as any of the main tourist attracts the city has! In case you were wondering what Preston's tourstic highlights are, I give you a list: the Harris Museum, Guild Hall, and Europe's biggest bus station.

We had lunch; we idly ran shopping errands with C., including stocking up on my favorite socks, and acquiring a random, if very cheap, Arabian pop music album; we went to the Harris museum and admired poorly labeled artwork, and sporadically edited labels on an otherwise quite interesting exhibit of Victorian clothing. The museum has an extraordinary collection of toilet water and scent bottles. We didn't have time to see the Bollywood poster exhibit before the museum closed. We struggled to find a place to eat dinner, but, bourne on by the conviction that Prestonites surely were eaters of dinner, eventually found the city's Pizza Express. Mostly, we chatted. I hadn't seen her since I left Smith, but between mutual friends and LJ, we've been in touch. It was good to talk. It was a good visit. Best of all (for me, at least), she should be visitable the next time I'm back in that area.