In Which I Beg For A Break, And Get It

November 30, 2014

The next day I woke up around midday, exhausted from the last finish of the previous night’s movie. There was another rehearsal today, in prep for our upcoming high profile gig. Worked for a while in bed, had a delicious vegan lunch, and just took it fairly easy.

Monday the stress returned. Machine Learning was really interesting, focusing on real world machine learning, much of it ‘big data’. Algorithms was particularly intense and with the exam right around the corner, I was getting really nervous. In the evening was regular glee rehearsal (mainly Christmas music), dinner at Hillel and then choral society. choral society was starting to get far more enjoyable as we started singing the music at speed.

Tuesday was noticeably quieter as people started to leave for the thanksgiving break. I had one last class in the morning, physics, which was starting to wind down a little. I worked on my research project for a little. Didn’t make enough progress.

In the late afternoon I headed over to Luke’s for a pre-thanksgiving potluck dinner with the other first year PhDs. However, I had to leave early due to the 8PM Glee Rehearsal.

Glee rehearsal was sadly quiet, with many people having left for the break. Nord our conductor didn’t take it too poorly however, and we were soon singing many of our favourite holiday songs and perhaps dancing around a little too.

Finally Wednesday arrived. No classes, just work, lunch plans and a winter storm. Unfortunately due to the winter storm, my lunch plans that were already rescheduled to then took another hit and were moved further to the last week of semester. This provided me with the opportunity to lounge lazily in bed and work more from there. Even Nadia admitted that it was a pretty lousy day to be getting up.

I had a  guiet bite my myself, packed my bags, and headed to Rodin to meet Ariella in order to head to her place for Thanksgiving break.

In Which I Retreat

October 1, 2014

The weekend was marked most significantly by the Glee Club Retreat. It was the best chance to get to know the new members, and also served as a bit of a break from the hectic lifestyle I’d had up until that point. Leaving early Friday afternoon, we arrived at Camp Onas by sundown, with me lugging along a whole lot of fruit, granola and a few other assorted food supplies, for what I knew might be a difficult weekend for meals. Friday night was filled with singing, introductions, games and laughter and the lights were shut out in my room well after 2AM.

There wasn’t much of a sleep in to bed had, breakfast (two bananas and a nectarine) was to be had, and team building exercises outside in the sun. For the sake of future clubbers, I won’t go into the details (as previously) but I came out of the two/three hours of games much closer to a few people. One particularly nice guy was Bhavish Malkani, a sophomore newman who came with a whole lot of talents (more on that later).

Lunch was sandwiches which fortunately I could partake in. Also it was the first time I’d had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a great many years. Following lunch we had the presentation of ‘the newman talent show’ in which all the newmen had to present a non-singing talent. Pearl, a really friendly girl on the tech team, started it off with a sorrowful reading of a poem about bullying. Phillipe led with shakespear in many accents. More poetry from David, some oddball comedy from Mack and a few others. The highlight for most people however was Bhavish’s magic show, which comprised mostly of sleight of hand tricks. There were so well done however, that even though I had some idea of how they worked, I was still thrilled along with the rest of the audience.

Another highlight of retreat was getting to know Sam Soik and Pearl Lo a bit better. They were both very warm personalities and I spent plenty of time talking to both of them over the weekend.

From Left: Shaanan, Sam and Pearl

Finally, late Saturday night it was time for the camp fire. This was the best part of retreat because it involved us singing our favorite songs from our repertoire, albeit without a conductor and at times a little off. However it was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by my brothers in song and spending some time reflecting on our years ahead.


After the campfire it was straight to bed for me. I woke up barely a few hours later for the drive back, and when we arrived home I spent most of the morning in bed. I had a good few hours to work and then it was back to rehearsal, this time dancing with Penn Dance again. After that, I was thoroughly drained and promptly put an end to my weekend.

Glee Club Around The Campfire

Glee Club Never Stops

August 31, 2014

The next day was almost a sleep in, qualified by the fact that I was waking up at strange hours during the night. I was still in the fierce grasp of jet lag. I finally got up just before lunch and went to Hillel to shmooze with everyone. I wasn’t the only one who had woken up late as a good number of other people were still dragging themselves in. Lunch was fairly standard. I sat with some new freshman along with a few new people all of whom were friendly enough.

Sadly, I had to run off to rehearsal all too quickly. Rehearsal itself was fine but I struggled a little with the ‘production numbers’, dance numbers that the rest of the chorus had learnt over the past year and that I was scrambling to fit into. I tired myself out pretty quickly and it wasn’t long before I was ready to crawl into bed again.

The next day I was again up earlier than expected and used the time to talk to people at home and sort out my room. Once the sun came up, I got out of bed and went out to Hillel where they were setting up the activities fair to introduce freshmen to all the available opportunities. As I had nothing better to do early that day I helped set up and met a few new people in the process. I hung around for a few hours until yet again, it was time for rehearsal.

After a few more hours of singing, dancing and, singing again, I ditched the last few minutes of rehearsal to run off to a new graduate student event. A campus wide gnome-hunt. This was the highlight of my weekend. In a team of about fifteen new graduate students, we raced around campus following clues to pick up mini plastic gnomes scattered around the eastern side of campus. I became quite friendly with a number of my teammates and in the happy hour following the hunt met a few more. This included two other Australian/New Zealand nationals over which I was quite pleased. Afterwards, a few of the grad students and I headed over to “Tap House”, a local bar to continue hanging out for a while. After a few drinks and a pleasant breeze, the jet lag returned and so I headed back to my room and called it a night.


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