I take it far too much for granted that so many amazing things are within ridiculously short walking distance. Ditto the proximity of Europe, which I haven't jumped over to yet but fully intend to. I am completely jealous of people with dual or EU citizenship; freedom of movement is a beautiful thing. America, why did you have to secede? For that matter, ancestors, why did you have to emigrate? Famine? Economic opportunity? Religious freedom? Please. Although it figures that the emigration of my pioneer and coal-miner ancestors enabled me to have the opportunity to come back now and study cool things over here.
Damn you, cyclical, ironic history.
This week has been filled with lectures and libraries, talks, research, paper writing, and language practice as I scour sources. Boy, do I wish we stressed learning foreign languages a thousand times more in the U.S. I'm only just beginning to realize how much I have to catch up, and how elementary my skills are.
I'm also reading the Bible. (Next up, the Qu'ran!) Years ago when I read some of the holy texts of Hinduism, I told myself I would get around to the other major religions too. So now, after years of exposure to its teachings, I am finally reading the source text. I'm doing it chiefly to brush up my knowledge of the religious iconography which is so prominent in the art of the period I study. Years of looking and listening prepared me well for the basics of western art history, but grad school requires a new level of detail. It is fairly fun to (re?)discover, and reading it is an oddly familiar experience - so many recognizable quotations jump out. I'm starting with the New Testament Gospels, and we'll see where I go from there.