Sunday, March 1, 2009

A tale of comps, migraine, and Spain

So yesterday had the drudgery, the unpleasant, and the giddy.

The drudgery - first, I biked to campus a little before 9 a.m. to try to do some prep work for my meeting with one of my committee members on Monday. I printed out most of my notes for her list, organized them in chronological order within each section, and put them in a notebook so I can just flip through and see my notes on each source if I so choose. I'm trying to do this for each list if I can, just because sometimes I like having things in my hand. A decent number of things on this list were from my seminar with this professor, and I didn't re-read the books, so I had to find my precis for each book and decide which ones I needed to print. I had hoped I'd also do some more work on those lists - finding patterns and such - but since I have no idea what kinds of questions she's going to ask, I didn't even know where to begin.

I then realized I had forgotten to send my rent check, so I had to trek to the post office down the street and send that. I called my landlady to let her know that it was in the mail but probably wouldn't get to her before Monday. She confirmed that she is quite incompetent.

After that, and lunch, I read a book for this prof's list. Now for the unpleasant. Then evil beast migraine returned, and returned insanely fast. K had mentioned that he was staying home, so I called and asked if he could possibly pick me and my bike up so I didn't have to bike home with a migraine for the second time this week. He immediately agreed and came to my rescue. Me, the bike, and 1,000 pounds of books (okay, maybe 5 pounds) got a lift and I got medicine and an ice pack and lay down for an hour.

Now comes the giddy part. I started looking again at flights to Spain for May. I have grant money that I need to use, and I need to go to Sevilla to use it, since that's what they gave it to me for. I have been looking at flights during my last two migraines, and have found some amazing deals to flew to Madrid or Barcelona - we're talking in the $600-$800 range (including taxes). If I flew in to Madrid, I could take a high-speed train and get to Sevilla in 2-3 hours. I kind of like this idea, because I could take the train round-trip for under $200, and I'd get the chance to see the countryside. My hope is that it would be a little less stressful, too...

Then I started looking for places I might be able to stay. Eventually, I found a hostel that, from all the reviews, seems to be quite clean and safe, and has good amenities - breakfast, free wi-fi, 24-hour security and reception, a kitchen, laundry room... but the best part is its location. I saw its basic location on the map and thought it looked somewhat close to the archive I need to work in. So I went to Google maps and put both places in. It couldn't give me the distance in miles because the hostel is located 375 FEET from the archive!!! It's literally around the corner and two buildings down. I about fell off the couch. You're telling me that for around $450 I could stay within a 30-second walk of my archive for 2 weeks?

I emailed them to ask if they allowed smoking (since that would be a deal-breaker), to make sure of the location and proximity to the archive, the proximity of markets/stores, and the noise at night. I'm guessing the guy on the night shift at reception was bored, because he replied within 30 minutes - at 3 a.m. his time! They don't allow smoking in the rooms or anywhere on the premises, they really are that close to the archive, there are 4 supermarkets in walking distance, and they have some rules against noise after a certain time.

It sounds almost too good to be true. I've looked at reviews on probably a dozen sites, and most of them are really good. So now here's my dilemma: do I go ahead and book flights and the room, which assumes that I will pass both my written and oral exams... or do I hold off and wait to see if I can figure something else out after comps?


danseuse said...

What did you mean she proved she is quite incompetent? That made me laugh (not for you, of course).

Book them. #1 The likelihood of you passing is strong
#2 at prices like that I would imagine at least with the airline, a change fee would probably be cheaper--what $150? $600 to SPAIN? I've never flown there but my friends pay $1200-1500 to get to Brazil and call that a deal. Go!

Rachel said...

Oh dear... well, first, she claimed that the plumber whom she called regarding my water heater "said he couldn't get in touch with you." I told her that was ridiculous, since he not only got in touch with me, but he came out. She had no idea. She was clueless about the entire thing - though I'm assuming she'll get the bill, since I'm not responsible for it! Then, she pulled what my students do - "I tried to email you, but your email must have changed." Um, no it hasn't. In fact, I use it 18 times a day. She obviously never tried to email me, and she refuses to call my cell phone, so she was lying to cover up her incompetence.

Argh. I don't like dealing with incompetent people. She doesn't even know what's going on with her own apartment complex. I know more than she does. Argh!!