Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Walking Tour of USF

Our younger D will start her very first day as a college freshman (girl?) at USF tomorrow. Since USF is really quite a sprawling campus, we decided to conduct a familiarization walking tour in the afternoon with her so that she does not waste valuable time transiting from one lecture hall to another, given that the turnaround time in between periods is only 15 minutes. While she has been to the orientation, the walk-around then was confined to specific buildings only and she did not emerge any wiser as far as the spatial relations among the other buildings are concerned.

Fortunately, three of the lecture halls are clustered together close to the main library, which serves as a strategic reference point. There is the Cooper Hall, which she has already visited several times, and the Social Science Building and the Behavioral Science (BEH) buildings close-by. So we covered the ground with her, telling her to use a Burger King outlet in between as the guidepost. We showed her the main entrance to the BEH Building that I would drop her off tomorrow morning for her first period and also told her to exit the other side of the same building but at the 2nd level in order to get faster access to the Social Science Building for her second period. This modus operandi is dictated by the fact that BEH has split-level access, a fact pointed out to us by a friendly American lady who was getting into the building.

The remaining lecture hall is another story. It’s at the Department of Psychology and Communication Science (DPCS), her major department. From the campus map in our hand, we see that it is located beyond a vast field, next to a lake. Since there is no direct road connection between the main library and DPCS, we had to drive around to DPCS and trek back on foot to the main library (bottom right corner of the image) in order to help her get her direction and to remember the walking route. Also, I might add that we were not the only threesome doing the last-minute orienteering. But we all share one commonality: there was at least one middle-aged person in the group with a campus map in hand looking more like a tourist.

As indicated in the image below (sourced from here), the most direct route is still through the field lined with a geometrical design of paved paths which looks like the UK flag from above. My wife said the layout of the paths reminded her of the circular paths carved out by some alien visitors in the movie, Signs, directed by M Knight Shyamalan, but minus the spooky feel since it’s a grass field with unimpeded vista in all directions.

While there, we spotted a lop-sided tree with one side of the branches practically supported by the ground instead of cantilevering out from the trunk like the other side. Wonder what could have precipitated that asymmetry as there is no tell-tale sign, at least to our naked eyes. Another natural occurrence was the swarm of dragon flies that seemed to circle around in the vicinity of the leaning tree of sort. And here’s Mom and daughter sauntering along the paved path, bottle in hand ready to quench the thirst. Did I mention that it was a hot day?

But the weather can be fickle this time of the year. The next moment, an ominous looking cloud loomed large in the horizon like so. So after our D assured us that she has the routes and the spatial layout of the various lecture halls committed to her mind, we bid a hasty retreat to Publix to do our weekly grocery. And until I finished this blog around 7.30pm, the rain that threatened to drench the earth a few hours ago still managed to stay up in the atmosphere as water droplets. The vagaries of weather!

But the other daughter of ours over at Oregon is much more predictable. And she delivered her creations for my new blog header as promised. The new header that graces this blog from now on is a fitting testimony to her creative bent, a sort of run in the family, on the maternal side. It’s a collage, or montage of pictures taken from her collection that feature a bit of our roots, Malaysia (the 2nd image from the right depicting a top corner of the Petronas Twin Towers), and another bit of where we are now (a Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame in LA) , and a lot more of the natural setting in between. Hope it appeals to you as it does to us.


kittygirl said...


#1 The picture of the cloud (last one) really does look ominous! Very foreboding. And the fact that it cuts a diagonal line across the sky makes it very striking.

#2 You talked about the wrong blog header!!! The one you're talking about here is your Going Global one!!! @_@ But I am happy that you like it. :D

#3 Did you realize you wrote, "But the other daughter of ours over at Oregon is much more predictable"? I presume you meant the WEATHER, lol. Although May can be pretty unpredictable sometimes as well, *chuckle*.

Say Lee said...

You're right on counts 2 and 3, and I stand corrected. Thanks

You do have a keen eye for errors. Good for you.