don’t drink the water.

This is a very important lesson I’ve recently learned.  I’ve now, aside from one trip to the kitchen to make toast and numerous trips to go hug the toilet, been in bed for over 21 hours.  I had the pleasure of up-heaving the contents of my stomach 6 times in about 7 hours last night.  I felt like death.  I’m about 90% sure the cause of all of this came from drinking the tap water.  Julia brought me some Dasani and vitamin water and medicine and told me that she, a native, never drinks it here.  One of the ladies at the office, Cassandra, had made some comment to me about only drinking bottled, but I just assumed it was because the water here tastes so bad.  I guess not.  I decided not to go into work today because I know the heat won’t do anything good for me, but I’m kind of upset because there’s some stuff I really need to do on Stata, which I don’t personally have.

Stata is a statistical analysis program I’m slowly learning.  It’s really cool, but of course I expect it to program the same way C++ does, so I keep messing it up.  Gustavo told me it’s a lot easier than C++, but I’m having trouble convincing myself that it thinks differently.  Wednesday I had a meeting with Dr. Marton about how I’m adjusting and what I want to do in the next year or so.  He told me that taking part in this program will help me a lot since I’m coming from a no-name school.  Since I’m also basically like a grad student this summer, he also said it will help me to get paid as an RA (research assistant).  That would be nice.  I have a couple schools I’m considering for a Master’s.  It’s tricky in economics because a Master’s is generally seen as the consolation prize of a failed PhD student.  I need to look for schools that have entirely separate Master’s programs.  UK is one of the schools I’m looking at.  They have a pretty cool duel-degree in econ and public policy.  And since Dr. Marton spent 5 years teaching there, he said he could put in a good word.

Before my meeting, I spent an hour or so getting an intro to Stata.  For some reason, I felt like I was just going to drop to the ground asleep, so I figured I should get some coffee.  I asked Cassandra what was good nearby, and, in addition to a map, she gave me coupons for free Chick-fil-A!  Talk about awesome.

After work on Wednesday, I decided I wanted to take a look at Underground Atlanta, even though every review I read about said to absolutely stay away.  This was an experience.  There is a really pretty fountain area before you enter it, and I don’t understand how something can go from nice to trashy so fast.  I should have known this would be an adventure when I was walking down the steps–I’m wearing a Steelers shirt–and some guy starts shaking his head and yells, “Cleveland ALL the way! All the way!”  I mean really, Cleveland?  I chuckled.  Before I was even inside for ten seconds, this guy comes up to me and says this: “Um, excuse me, can I talk to you for a sec?  I just want to give you my number cause I find you attractive.  And I know you probably get this all the time, but I just got to do this cause I’m single, you know?”  His name was Walter.  I ventured into 2 of the stores, and from what I can tell, everything in that “mall” is cheap and trashy.  It’s dark and just not the kind of place you want to be in.  I only walked down the one street.  I was about halfway to the exit when another guy, Lamar, comes up to me with pretty much the same story, except he also asked if he could walk with me.  I said sure, and he entertained me the whole way back to the train station.  He told me about how Kentucky is a horrible place for black people and how he spent 1.5 out of his 2 years there in jail.  He told me he was a dancer and had a team that was going on tour soon.  He told me he was a model.  He told me he was on his way to go buy a blunt.  He told me that if I could just get a little bit more of a tan I’d be a dime and a half.  He picked me a flower and bid me farewell.  We clearly have a very bright future together.  I will not be returning to Underground.

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