What a week...
If there's a reason I haven't updated this week, it's because I've been so incredibly busy, and it seems I also could have made a bit more effort to write something as well. So you instead get to read about everything in one fun long entry!
Well, I might as well start off with the most pressing issue, and that's Hurricane Dennis (pictured above) which is slated to hit Florida... it's just all a matter of where. I live right near Tampa, which you can see on the map. It's not supposed to come near us, it's supposed to hit in the Panhandle, from anywhere near Mobile, Alabama to Pensacola (which would make a huge difference) However, the key phrase here is supposed to. It's quite apparent, how after last August's fiasco with all of us here in the Tampa Bay area being all prepared for Hurricane Charley, only for it at the last minute to bypass us completely and slam into Southwest Florida, that nobody here is taking their chances.
Case in point, I was pretty much riding on fumes today, so I made a point of going for gas before I did anything else today. I get to the one Hess station, only to find that it's roped off around the gas pumps. At first I had no idea what happened... until I looked across the street at the Mobil station and it suddenly dawned on me that everyone in the county had gone on a gas rush. This happens here every time a hurricane comes. It's now been made an instinctive ritual, thanks to last year. I actually think all of us Floridians are getting eerily adjusted to it now. Sort of like how in the same vein Italians no longer even bat an eye at collapsed governments.
What really irritated me, however, was blatant price gouging. I wound up paying $2.19 a gallon at the Mobil station (which usually happens to be most expensive) but the Hess had raised its prices to $2.29, another gas station farther down was charging $2.32... I never paid over $30 for a gallon of gas in the three years I've been driving, so it was quite a shock for my total to come to $31.50. (I'm sure any of you living in Europe are rolling your eyes and/or laughing at this point)
So anyway, if this thing kind of does make a sudden turn east and we get hit or get a large brunt of the storm here in Tampa, we're all kind of screwed since nobody had adequate warning, since we've all been told it's going for the Panhandle. So they'd better be right (unfortunately of course for the people in the Panhadle... but something tells me we'll be dealing with this many times over this season here anyway)
So what else? Well, this week I started my French II course back up at school. It's nice, I'm mainly happy because I got back to the USF gym; the gym up here wasn't doing it for me.
This week brought sad news in that a former friend of mine died on July 4th, coming home from his grandparent's house on his Honda motorbike. I hadn't really talked or been overly friendly with him in several years, but I knew him from when we were like 11, so I was more upset over it than I expected myself to be. This was the very first time anyone I knew from my own generation died. I've dealt with death many times before, including my father, who died when I was 6 in 1993. However, it's something altogether shocking and very different when it's someone your own age, 18, who had nothing wrong with him who suddenly dies in a crash. It's really a reminder of everyone's vulnerability and mortality. And it reminds you, that even when you don't expect it, you shouldn't take your own life for granted. I think too many of us at this age do incredibly stupid things and take incredible risks and abuse themselves with drugs and alcohol and the like because they think nothing will ever happen to them. And then, when you least expect it, something can. We all need to be more appreciative for the opportunity to even live out our dreams. I don't know what his were, but it's tragic he's now never going to be able to see them play out.
Finally, I went and spoke with my study abroad advisor yesterday. It's pretty much akin to pulling teeth to try and get into Sciences Po. I can do it, but it would involve dropping out of USF, enrolling at the University of Florida, which has a program with them, and then applying to study there, then dropping back out of UF (which I then don't think I'd even want to do!) and reapply to USF. That's utterly ridiculous to me. Especially since I think the Sorbonne would be incredible as well.
I would really like to do an entire year, but I don't think it's really economically feasible, and I also want to intern, and that would make it incredibly hard. So I'm planning to try and acquire a summer internship abroad for this upcoming summer, and to then study in France in the following spring 2007 (if I did fall, because the semesters in Europe never align with ours, I'd be coming back halfway into the American spring semester)
I've determined there is no way I'm staying in one of those chambres de bonne that they try and push on foreign students. A maid room the size of a closet for five months really isn't appealing, and I thankfully have scholarships and my parents to help cover the cost of the semester, so I'm going to try and get a small studio for myself for that time, so I can really feel comfortable while I'm there. If any one of you guys from Paris has any suggestions on what arrondissement to look in, what places are good, etc. by all means, I'm really looking for some advice on Paris, and I know I have some great readers who could help me (thank you very much in advance ;-) )
So that's all for now. Hopefully all works out well with Dennis, but nobody here is going to rest easy until that thing actually makes landfall somewhere.