Happy October! Fun fact, the Croatian language has retained some really old terms, including month names. Most European month names are real similar, with French (octobre), German (Oktober), even Russian (октябрь). But the Croatian is Listopad, which means basically ‘leaves fall.’ So that’s cool.
Done with classes for this week. I’ll reserve judgment, since I’ve only had each class once, but I will say preliminarily that I anticipate this term being pretty solid. The major exception, of course, being Research Methods which, while the professor seems good and I don’t think the work will be extraordinarily difficult, represents a particular and vicious form of torture for my personal brain function.
But other than that, initial lectures and discussions have been really good. The Social Policy class in particular, I think, is going to open up a lot of interesting avenues generally but also perhaps toward a topic for my dissertation. Most of you are aware that I’m interested in the former Yugoslavia, generally in partition/secession theory, and how to deal with regional post-conflict integration, especially with the gradual accessions to the EU and that whole issue. An enduring side interest, however, is language and minority languages in particular. So social policy can offer some important insights into management of education in multi-ethnic, multi-lingual societies where the language you speak is a political statement in and of itself.
Anyway, those are some initial thoughts on school and how this term might pan out. For those of you who don’t know, Trinity (among other posh institutions in this part of the world) divides the academic year into terms, not semesters, and gives them funny names. This term, September to December, is Michaelmas because, apparently, it typically starts on or around the feast of the archangel Michael or something like that. But, because they’re so posh, they have to pronounce it Mikkelmus, because Michael-Mass is too mainstream. Or low-brow. Hipster, posh, whatever…
This being the first week of classes, it was also the first rehearsal for Choral Society. This term, we’re doing Handel’s Messiah which, fun fact, had its world premier in Dublin in 1742. Also, the Choral Society has been around since 1837, which is rad. Anyway, let me tell you that it feels so good to be back in music. I mean, it’s only been four months, but the uncertainty about what my music life was going to look like here really had me worried for a while. But here I am, all is well, the group is fairly good, I’ve met some nice people, and expect to really enjoy being a part of it. So yay on that front. Music is so important to me. It’s been a huge part of my life for a really long time. I’m not one of those people who have been playing piano since they were six, but I nonetheless have a huge part of soul that is alive only when I’m making music. And I have been in choir since I was nine.
There’s a great poem set to a few pretty well-known pieces whose first line says, “If music be the food of love, sing on.” I totally agree, and really love the poem, but it falls a little short of really getting music for me. I see music more as the food of life. You can live without it for a bit, and not everyone is great at preparing it, but it’s real important. It comes in an unbelievable variety of forms, instrumental or vocal or both, genres beyond count, a huge number of historical and cultural options, on the stage, on the radio, on YouTube. It’s remarkable. Music is just real great.
Aside from those developments, it’s been a fairly mundane week. I took the DART train for the first time and didn’t die. I finally started Count of Monte Cristo. It’s really good. Not much else to report on this front. October is here and that means that November is continuing its steady creep toward the present.
Here’s a challenge for you, I guess. Think of something without which you aren’t certain you could live. What would you say is the food of life? I don’t mean, golly I couldn’t live without Netflix/my phone/quesadillas/cats/Hugh Jackman movies (wait, did he include cats in that list?!?!). Take a moment to share that passion with someone you care about. And if someone shares with you, just bear with it even if you think it’s lame. Relish how much the other person enjoys it. I think we could all do with a dose of empathetic passion, yeah? Plus, it’s cool to learn things about the people we are surrounded by.
FYI, my answer is music.