The high point of today was having lunch with Dr. Donna Ciangio. Some of you may remember me talking about the professor I had for our January class who was a Dominican Sister. Most of us would call her a nun. Well, that’s Dr. Donna. She is leaving for South Africa tomorrow, but she wanted to see all of us while we were here. Dr. Donna is a person who has such a sense of calm and competence. My classmates and I have been worrying and fretting about our projects and our assignments, and Dr. Donna seems to take everything in stride. She's nothing at all like the stereotype of a nun. She looks normal, dresses normal, and she has a wicked sense of humor! Can you believe that? After sitting with her for a few minutes, I think we all felt better. What a witness to the calming presence of Christ that I suppose we can all carry inside.
That said, dorm life is an adjustment for this introvert! I knew the accommodations would be sparse, but I did not realize how inconvenient some of the little things would be…like not having a sink in your room. You have to be presentable to walk to the restroom to brush your teeth – we have males and females on the hall, and even though the males are on the other end, when you're out in the hall, you are out for all to see. If you need water for your coffeepot, that’s another trip down the hall. And, if you forget your towel or your shampoo in the shower, you're out of luck! Thank goodness for shower caddies.
There is also a positive side of living in this dorm. It feels very safe. My biggest fear is forgetting my room key and being locked out in my bathrobe. We are also right in the center of campus, so it is easy to get to class, to the library, or to the cafeteria…but I sure do miss Joe’s cooking. We are also close to a lovely 3 mile walking path. I pass St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center each time I walk, and it is a beautiful facility. They care for cats, dogs, and they even have a doggy day care. The dogs are outside each morning either being trained or playing in a happy little ‘playground’ complete with toys. They seem to be having a grand time. It seems like a fun place. And, finally, dorm life is good in that we don’t have TV. I know that sounds odd, but for this three weeks, no television is a good thing. Without the distraction, I can concentrate so much better. Although it might get really quiet this weekend, I am hoping to get a lot of work done. I don't know if I'll make it into NYC or not - we'll just have to see.