We started our day with a pancake breakfast, which I so proudly provided. By far the best thing about pancakes was that everyone could flavored them the way they wanted. While M preferred her pancake with an egg omelette, S and me went for the sweet version. Both the one with grape jam as well as the chocolate fudge went were so good. Apparently, those pancakes gave us enough energy to go for an exploratory walk through the Centennial Campus. As M’s classes start on Monday, the main purpose was to show her when she needs to be and also how to get there in the shortest possible time. I enjoyed strolling around very much for I had two great companions. Besides that, this part of the campus is not a destination of mine (except for Monday mornings so far), so it was nice to see it. I understood that Centennial is primarily an engineering campus and the famous College of Textiles is located there as well. It is supposed to be rather new in comparison to North Campus (where I walk daily and where I like it so much so far), for instance.
There were two peaks this morning. First, discovering the Research Drive. Would not it be cool to live on such an address? And second, the chance to visit the James B. Hunt, Jr. Library, named after the governor of North Carolina who apparently donated tens of millions dollars. Built in 2013, it is a huge modern building, strikingly noticeable on the background of red brick university buildings. According to Wikipedia, they tried to make it a sustainable building. That definitely being nice and maybe even an example to follow, I appreciated the overall look and atmosphere of the place.
The library must own tons of books but one gets to see only a small fraction of them as majority is stored in huge, closed metal boxes and handed to reader thanks to a robotic system. Unfortunately, we did not see it in action, so I may need to borrow a book to see how it works. The five floors offer numerous seating areas and computers whose number exceed supply of medium-size electrical supplies store.
So called group rooms made a particularly strong impression on me. A group of students can book a small room with a round table, about six chairs, project and screen, and white board. Here they can work on their assignments or revise (such as a group of students doing their math calculation on the white board) while in an extremely nice environment, in close proximity to all books of the world and without being disturbed or disturbing others. I also liked library’s colorful furniture and bright yellow staircases, making it an extremely optimistic place. The fifth and last floor has a terrace with breathtaking look all round the Centennial as well as on lake Raleigh.
By now, it must be clear how impressed I was by the library, nevertheless I need to mention the following: I do look forward to working on my presentation for the lab meeting as it will be an excellent opportunity to go to the library and experience it as a student, and not only as a visitor and photographer.
However, for now I was in the role of visitor only and a such I took bunch of pictures – not only of the building and its interior but also participated in “group picture taking”. M and me, S and M, M and S, sitting on the yellow staircase, standing on the yellow staircase, and finally group selfie on the terrace. I guess this is the kind of pictures that will refresh our memories in 10 years or even longer from now but I nevertheless though it was little too much. Taken together, once I got social-media -type pictures I look forward to coming back and take more artistic (at least to me) photographs.
Our private library tour ended round noon, in other words, right at the time no one wants to be outside when it is as hot as here. As a result of bad time management, our plan to go to the lake was postponed once again. Instead, we headed back home and after afternoon siesta had a late lunch together: rice with dal (yellow lentils), hot corn mixture and spicy home-made yogurt dressing.
When I finally decided I would try to fight with the heat and go skating, S suggested that I accompany her for her errands at the campus. And I was glad to do so. It was a fun and not terribly long walk, and also an opportunity to see another library on the campus: D. H. Hill Library – much more modest than the one than the one we saw earlier today but still offering more than I ever dreamed about. Another place I would hardly discovered on my own was the so called Freedom Tunnel, a graffiti-welcomed place. We agreed that they should repaint the walls and let graffiti artists start from scratch again – there was a graffiti picture on top of another one and another one, thus creating only a wild, colorful mishmash. However, right next to the tunnel, a graffiti creation was in progress. We stayed watching for a while as it was my first time to see process. We decided we liked the outcome, although we were unable to read the message. We should have asked the guy.
And than finally, I grabbed my camera and we went to the lake! Not too far from my temporary home and we not too bad looking trail, I was tempted to start planning when I could possibly go skating there. But for now, I just enjoyed the cool evening, breathtakingly colored sky and deep blue clouds. We were not the only visitors – a crowd of Indian students stopped by for a little while. It is a very nice culture – friendly, with interest in the culture of others and marvelous cooking skills. I do feel safe and comfortable in my summer community but I am still not quite used to the fact that outside the lab, in reality I am a (cultural) minority. It is a very new position to be in but I strongly believe I will learn from it.
The very end of the day provided me with a unique biological experience – a snake swimming in the lake. Unfortunately, I entirely failed as a photographer. At least, I tried to improve my reputation of a cook. I prepared spinach pasta for the upcoming two days and the third portion was for S – I told her: “This is all yours, put in there as many spices as you want, so you like it.”
While it was a very enjoyable Sunday for the company of my Indian roommates and for I finally saw some places, I realized that at the end of the day, I was looking forward to Monday, the beginning of five more days in the lab.