This Week in Awkwardness

My time living & working on Mackinac Island has left me with a bizarre fascination with little islands.  There are dozens of them on my list of places I want to go, scattered all over the world.  There’s something intensely unique about an island.  Each one is its own little world, especially if the only way to get to it is by plane or ferry.

I was also discussing plantations on Facebook this week.  I admit that I think the houses themselves are really cool, and of course they’re interesting and important from a historical perspective, but they’ve been way over-romanticized.  “Come have your wedding at this place that was built on the backs of slaves!”  Yeah…no.  Maybe people just can’t really connect with the slavery aspect as something that actually happened to actual people, I don’t know.

Speaking of historical perspectives, I hope all my teachers like the in-depth historical backgrounds of everything, because I can’t stop writing that way even when I’m supposed to be working in the present. :/  Good thing I’m going into archaeology, they appreciate historical perspective.

I signed up for my LAST SEMESTER of classes!  I’m taking Digital Archaeology in the fall and I’m REALLY excited about it.  I also managed to test into second semester German, so my little bits of studying over the last few years actually got me out of a whole class!


Added to the Travel Map:

Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Ellenton, FL – only plantation house left in Florida.

Ushant Island, France – westernmost point in France; also sheep, lighthouses, seafaring history, etc.

Hampi, India – ruins of Vijayanagara Empire’s capital, UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hudson Highlands State Park, Cold Spring, New York – lots of hiking trails.

Cornish Estate Ruins, Cold Spring, New York – abandoned mansion in the woods.

Also apparently the Hudson River Valley is just packed with amazing ruins.  I don’t know why I’m surprised, there’s already several of them on my travel list.

This Week in Awkwardness

Do you want to show off your obsession with Stranger Things AND help the National Endowment for the Arts?  David Harbour’s t-shirt does both!

I started working on my trip to Maryland.  I’m planning on taking Amtrak’s Silver Star from Tampa to Washington, D.C., so I FINALLY get to go on another train adventure.  Or the Silver Meteor, but that would require taking a bus from Tampa to Orlando – bleh.  It’ll be some silver celestial body anyway.  Then I was contemplating possibly getting to D.C. a day or two before I’m supposed to move into the dorm and seeing some things.  Hopefully they’ll send me a schedule of any field trips we’ll be taking over the summer, maybe the stuff I want to see is stuff they’ll be taking us to see anyway.  Probably not the International Spy Museum though.  That I’ll probably have to do on my own time.

Maryland will be the fifth state that I’ve lived in over as many years – that seems kind of insane, it feels like forever since I left Tennessee but that really was just in 2013.

Train trip, new state, digging stuff up – should be a good summer!

This is my 100th blog post!

Also I’ve been thinking about a graduation gift to get myself in December.  Maybe a GoPro.  They shoot time lapses and they’re waterproof, two things my Canon M isn’t capable of without modification.  Could be fun.

I’ve got my class schedule all planned out for MY LAST SEMESTER O_O.  Finally I’ll get to take some in-depth archaeology courses, up to now the offerings have just not worked out for me.


Added to the Travel Map:

Tangalooma Wrecks, Moreton Island, Australia – shipwrecks just off the beach.

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar – wild rock formations.

Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah – tons of rock art.

Longyearbyen, Norway – northernmost city in the world.

International Spy Museum, Washington, D.C. – pretty much exactly what it sounds like.

Barron, Washington – ghost town.

Canyon Falls, Alberta, Michigan – waterfall in a canyon.

Bears Ears National Monument, Utah – 100,000 archaeological sites.

Bagan Archaeological Zone, Myanmar – the “Plain of Pagodas,” 2,000+ temples.

Ōkunoshima, Japan – this is the island with the zillion rabbits, but I’m more interested in the ruins of the poison gas factory.

This Week in Awkwardness

I was accepted into the field school in Maryland that I mentioned in my last post!  I’ll be spending 10 weeks in St. Mary’s City this summer digging and learning and probably sweating a whole bunch.  St. Mary’s City was the original capital of Maryland, and the 2017 field season will focus on the 1634 house of Leonard Calvert, the colony’s first governor.  The home later served as a rebel holdout, Maryland’s first statehouse, and an inn, so there’s a wide slice of Colonial American life happening on this one little patch of ground.  Should be an interesting summer!


Added to the Travel Map:

Belle Isle, Richmond Virginia – once a Civil War prison, ruins of various things, trails, etc.  (Incidentally, why are there so many parks called Belle Isle?)

Fairfield Hills Hospital, Newton, Connecticut – abandoned psychiatric hospital.

This Week in Awkwardness

Last year when I went to the Florida State Fair I was so enamored with it that I wrote a whole post about it, so of course I had to go again this year.  I didn’t spend as much time there because of course I’d seen the permanent exhibits last year but I still loved it.  God I love fairs.  They’re just the best.  Florida State Fair is the best.  Go to it.

I sent in my application for an archaeological field school in St. Mary’s City, Maryland!  It’ll probably be a little bit before I hear whether I’ve been accepted or not, but here’s hoping!  I’ve applied almost two and a half months before their deadline, so hopefully I won’t have any issues with space availability.  If I get in I’d love to take the train up from Tampa.  I’ve been dying for another train adventure, but there just aren’t that many places to go from here.

Also I hurt my knee crashing an electric scooter.  Not even the kind that really wants to be a motorcycle, like a child’s foot-powered scooter with an electric motor in the bottom.  Just wiped out on the sidewalk right next to a busy road.  Possibly my most ridiculous injury ever.


Added to the Travel Map:

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Porter, Indiana – dunes, woods, lake, ya know.

Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology, St. Petersburg, Russia – founded by Peter the Great with curiosities acquired in his travels.

Umpherston Sinkhole, Mount Gambier, Australia – a garden in a collapsed cave.

Corregidor Island, Philippines – WWII ruins.

Boodjamulla National Park, Lawn Hill, Australia – beautiful river gorge in the outback.

Historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland – where I’m hoping to do my field school this summer!

 

This Week in Awkwardness

Everything that’s been happening in American politics lately has really made me notice how incredibly diverse USF is.  All day long I hear different languages as I’m walking around campus – Arabic, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, French, who even knows what all.  The other day in sociology my teacher was looking for the African American viewpoint on something, he pointed at a black girl in the first row & asked if she was African American, she said no, she’s Haitian.  Guy behind her, nope.  The next person was Nigerian, the one after him was from St. Martin.  And the teacher is Brazilian!  Another of my teachers is Dutch, my neighbors are Sikh, two of my classmates are Russian.  It’s amazing.

I signed my apartment up for clean energy for $10 extra per month!  Or at least I think I did, the email I got said they’d be in touch but I haven’t heard anything….  Anyway, if you’re like me & pine for solar panels & windmills you can’t afford, check with your power supplier to see if you can pay a little extra to support their projects.  Here in Florida of course electricity just falls from the sky pretty much continuously, so there’s solar arrays all over the place.  I also decided to buy some rope & clothes pins so I can hang my laundry to dry on my patio instead of using the dryers in the laundry room.  Every little bit helps!

I’ve spent most of the last year figuring I would go to the summer field school that USF runs at George Washington’s boyhood home in Virginia, so OF COURSE this is the year they decide not to do it…  It’s OK, there’s a zillion field schools, including one in Maryland that I had considered going to that I think I’ll apply for.  It’s longer, I think it’s actually cheaper, and I might even get more credits than I would’ve with the USF one.

This semester I’m studying a lot of past anthropological theorists who use language that we find appalling today. I literally can’t write the words “primitive” or “savage” without putting them in quotes, even in my own notebook that nobody else will ever see.


Added to the Travel Map:

The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library, Boston, Massachusetts – stained glass globe that you can walk through – only place in the world where the entire surface can be viewed without distortion.

Convento de Cristo, Tomar, Portugal – castle built as the headquarters of the Knights Templar in 1160.

Olšany Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic – oldest cemetery in Prague, a literal walk through history.

St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, D’Hanis, Texas – ruin.

Racist History

 

I never really understood why we have the group-specific History Months.  Like it’s all history right?  Why the need to occasionally single out this group or that group?

A couple of weeks ago in one of my anthropology classes some guy from the department asked us to do a survey so they could figure out if we were learning the right things, and gave each of us a question.  I don’t recall the exact wording of mine, but I was supposed to define the concepts of sex vs. gender and write about a recent change in gender roles.  I picked a quick & easy topic: women entering the workforce during World War 2 & the long-standing changes that stemmed from that.  Easy.  I could write about that in my sleep.

In that moment, I realized that I have no idea what that experience looked like in any other racial community.  Like I’ve never seen a non-white Rosie the Riveter (not one of the original ones anyway).  Not once in my life have I come across a photo of a bunch of women building bombs and not every single one of them was white.  I’m sure they’re out there but I’ve never seen them.  It never even occurred to me to look for them, which says a lot about how I’ve been educated.  Chalk it up to media racism in the 1940s, ethnocentrism, whatever, it doesn’t matter, I’ve taken a zillion history classes and nobody’s ever brought it up.  We don’t talk about black people between slavery & civil rights.  Not much is ever said about Hispanics outside of colonialism and whatever happened in Texas.  Asians get passing mentions with the railroads & internment camps, maybe somebody mentions a Chinese laundry, but that’s about it.

I still don’t care much for the special History Months, but I think that’s because it’s not really an inclusive concept, plus they recycle the same history over and over.  Make all of history class inclusive.  Bring in more perspectives on a wider slice of of life.  Please!

This Week in Awkwardness

I think I’ve mentioned it before but in case I haven’t, I spent about a year and a half living in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  The ‘Burg is kind of kitchy and goofy but it’s a fun place to live in a beautiful area.  It’s been in the news lately for a horrific wildfire that burned thousands of acres, destroyed many homes, and killed at least 14 people.  A video someone shot of their escape from their burning neighborhood is easily the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen.  I used to be the photographer at a zipline course, and that remains possibly the best experience of my life.  From what I hear it’s been lost to the flames.  All of this is coming right as businesses are gearing up for Christmas tourism, which undoubtedly many people rely on to get them through the winter.  From what I’ve seen the downtown area and a lot of the really popular parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are still intact and mostly open, so if you were planning a vacation don’t be deterred, but maybe call your lodging/activities of choice to make sure they’re in a position to do business.

If you’ve been following the Dakota Access Pipeline story from North Dakota, you’ve probably heard that the Army Corps of Engineers denied the easement for it to go under the Missouri River.  This is an incredible victory for a group of people who have been marginalized for half a millennium, but the fight is far from over.  The company doubled down on their commitment to the project and there are other fights happening all over the country, like Sabal Trail here in Florida and Line 5 in my home state of Michigan.

I have successfully completed my 3rd semester at USF, which brings me to the halfway point of my time here!  One of my final things was a long paper on the Port Royal Earthquake of 1692, once it’s graded and they’re not going to accuse me of plagiarism I’ll post it.  Next term should be pretty interesting, at the very least History of the Soviet Union will make for better re-watches of The Americans, plus I don’t have to be anywhere until 11:00 on class days and that’s always nice.


Added to the Travel Map:

Cascada de Texolo, Xico, Mexico – 70 ft waterfall in a canyon.

Roche-A-Cri State Park, Friendship, Wisconsin – ancient rock art.

Boston Harbor Islands State/National Park, Boston, Massachusetts – especially Peddocks Island for fort ruins, summer cottages, yurt camping.