While a lot has happened over the last week, I'll start out by filling you in on life in my dormitory (nicknamed The Malebolge). Last night I officially finished 'moving in' to my room (The House of Fire and Motions to Dismiss), since each and every thing now has a place. We'll see exactly how long this organisation lasts.
I'll put a full description and pictures in the extended entry below, but as a rough guide I've got about 14 square feet, now full of my own mini-kitchen, a corner desk, more electrical equipment than the wiring can probably hold, and a bed which is... servicable, if not incredibly comfy. I've managed to get it decorated since I've been here, so it doesn't look horribly empty. The kitchen, however, should be either condemned or cleaned with acid.
I've also had time to visit some other students in their apartments, which answers the question: what's so bad about the dormitories? Basically, they're fine in and of themselves, but the apartments are so much better. One friend lives in an apartment with one roommate, and between them they have two bedrooms, a parlour, a front room, a dining room, a kitchen easily the size of the one on my floor, and a nicer bathroom. For $100/month more than I'm paying, it's a great deal.
Anyway, if you want to see what my domain now looks like, just click below.
The Room Itself
So, first, the view from my doorway. You can see my bed, some paintings, a collection of masks, and the fact that the room is generally quite large.
Next, the 'kitchen.' As I mentioned, the kitchen in the dorm is an utter disaster. I and some of my new hallmates looked in the dorm kitchen and found that there were eggs that had expired in February, which even for my sulphurous disposition is a bit extreme. So I've invested in a microwave ($10, bought from some 2Ls who were upgrading), a fridge, and a nice coffeemaker, and for most food trips I'll need only visit Hell's Kitchen to get water. (This is all arranged on the student desk provided with the room, which is way too small for my long legs.)
And finally, the desk. This is roughly similar to a desk I owned in Washington, D.C. It's wonderful, space efficient, and holds quite a lot of stuff. OK, it looks a little crowded, but no more than necessary. I'm quite fond of the chair, as well, which is pretty comfortable.
Priority purchases if you happen to be living in a dorm? Well, I'd say first and foremost an air conditioner, and then a good desk. Despite what I said about the fact that the dorms are a bad deal (you get a lot more in an apartment for just a bit more money), the place is growing on me.
There's quite a few bathrooms on our hallway, two with baths and two with showers. I'm quite certain that they're growing moldy little things as I speak: they're kept in an 'ok' state of cleanliness, but nothing like what I'd hope. Again, this is the advantage of an apartment: you have to clean yourself, but you know it's done right.
This is the major hellish bit of dorm life so far. There are three people on our hallway who have been here all summer, and I don't know how they've lived with it in that state. The super has said that since he doesn't know what's what, he can't do a thorough cleaning, but has volunteered that if all of us agree on a date and remove anything actually 'owned' by that time, he'll send someone up to clean it. I hope for their sake they have a hazmat suit.
It's a wonder the place isn't awash with roaches. There's one cupboard where a bottle of soy sauce seems to have spilled over a bag of sugar, and resulting mess looks like a petri dish that's gone horribly, horribly wrong. One of the refrigerators is dripping from at least two of the shelves. I'm a bit mystified as to how the three people living there over the summer have survived like this. Even if they were just willing to live in such untidy conditions, they must have the immune system of the gods if they've cooked in the place.
I've met my superintendent and (I guess) the Head of Housekeeping, two very kind and helpful people. They've given me advice on just about everything I've needed to know over the last week, and made certain I managed to carry everything up eight floors to the HFMD. Whatever else, I think this dormitory has some of the most effective and helpful staff.
On the other hand, the building is currently 'under renovation', which means the front lobby looks like a bomb hit it, and there's wiring everywhere. The upside is that they're promising that sometime soon we'll get an ethernet connection--but my breath is not held. :)
Anyway, more to come. I have my course schedule and much to say about that, but in the meantime, I have an orientation to attend!