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Catherine Fischer

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Planet Ross [Mar. 28th, 2003|09:20 pm]
Catherine Fischer
[mood |crankycranky]

Evidently Ross University has been sold -- to DeVry institute of Technology. The current CEO has set up a mandatory meeting, where the new owners get to survey all of their lovely cash cows -- us. But classes haven't been rescheduled. So the hell with the horn-blowing -- I have an education to receive.

Speaking of cash cows, St. Kitts has hit on an ingenious new way to make money. They've posted a GIANT sign right by campus, which states: "Slow -- School Zone/ Minimum Fine $250". That's $250 per mile over the speed limit. Notice they did not state a speed limit -- they get to make that up when they pull someone over. And although the buses drive like fiends bent on killing everyone they carry as cargo, the police only pull over Ross students. No one else has any money.

Finals are right around the corner. Today, the Animals On Campus Club held the award ceremony for its “Ass-Kissing” Contest: the teacher who earned the most money for the club got the privilege of kissing one of our new donkeys. I forgot about it (studying gross anatomy), and missed the whole thing.

Terminal surgery day
In the fields no donkeys bray
The weight of our debt
Our responsibility
Hangs above us
A silent pall.

New crop of donkeys entirely. If only they knew, as they trustingly allowed students to anesthetize them, over and over, that one day they won’t wake up…I hate that part. I hate it now, and I will REALLY hate it when I get to seventh semester. I have given up eating mammal, because I know too much about the slaughter industry. I owe the canine species and the equidae, too, a debt I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to repay. There are always strings attached.

We’ve been without water for weeks. Rain hasn’t fallen, isn’t falling, and no one knows when it will come. The view from our apartment looks like the Kalahari desert (complete with scrawny tied-up cows and goats and thorny acacia trees). I’m tired of showering on campus. And worse, the drought has caused the worst centipede infestation in St. Kitts in a very long time.

Dry spell
No hush of rain
No breeze to stir the canefields
The only sound the soft patter
Of a million centipedes.

Been trying to document my experience as a student in poetry, of late. Don’t know why the floodgates have opened, after so long dry.

The Liver

Generous organ
The temple of Dr. Reich
You’ll learn to love it

Tiger at the gates
The sympathetic response
Keeps him waiting there

You’d have to listen to Dr. Reich’s physiology lectures to get those, really, but I’ll just say that the latter haiku refers to the gastrointestinal tract (and the ancient Chinese medical terminology for a certain bodily function, which Dr. Reich found amusing and utilized in class).

Ah, the inimitable Dr. Reich. He killed us on the last exam – knew the material well, but the exam questions were just too many leaps in logic away from the facts we had learned. He’s very bright. His test questions are useful, applicable, and make one not only utilize the knowledge gained, but THINK. I just can’t think FAST enough, when the questions are on an exam. Will try to practice before the final.

Dr. Madden, our illustrious bacteriologist, leaves us after this semester; this morning, he handed out the awards for the Grossest Specimens brought to our Fungus Amongus lab – I won the award for the most unique (no one had ever brought in a cat box fungus before). The really amazing thing is that that horrid fungus, which grows in the plastic bags of scooped litterbox clumps, and which has a distinctive sweet odor, was absolutely gorgeous under a microscope. We believe it’s Geotrichum sp. (which means “earth hair”). Dr. Madden kept the slide and put it up on the main screen. Funny, dear man; I’ll miss him, but I really hope he enjoys his retirement.

Under the flickering green fluorescent lights
Of the cold classroom
Gruesome death by Clostridium perfringens
Ataxia, blindness, convulsions
Hemorrhagic enteritis
Outside the window
The sea glimmers blithely in the tropical sun

I gave him the poem. I think he was pleased.

Kevin is working on the sea turtle monitoring project – chasing poachers away from the leatherback nests, and recording data to contribute to the conservation of these amazing animals. They’re nesting in earnest, now; two or three a weekend. In addition to recording data, and hiding crawls from potential poachers, Kevin picks up trash (there are piles and piles of it on the beach, as Kittitians don’t have any respect for the environment, by and large, preferring their third world squalor). Yay, Kevin.

Tomorrow, we’re going to take the ferry to Nevis and eat breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel – big, fancy hotel on the waterfront. That’ll be it for our third anniversary, so far; Kevin hasn’t planned anything because I’m going into finals, and I haven’t had time to plan anything…because I’m going into finals. Should be an adventure, getting showered and dressed up at school, then taking the ferry for the first time.

A new restaurant has opened on Frigate beach: authentic Italian. We went with Brian and Leonie last Friday: fabulous food, but the worst waitstaff I’ve ever encountered. I’m not exaggerating. The slack-jawed, mouth-breathing stupidity and lack of ability/interest in communicating encountered was astounding – two menus for four people (even though the owner was talking to Leonie, who installed her art inside the restaurant), two orders taken (she just walked off after getting Brian’s order), no follow-up on drinks, no water, and she kept the change, assuming it was a tip…oy. It’s so Kittitian.

I’m tired of the apathy here. I’m tired of the culture. It’s not charming or quaint anymore. It’s like watching chimpanzees at the zoo, or really retarded 10-year olds. I watched a man walking down the street with a hand-towel over his head, the other day; the ends of the towel were secured in his mouth. Adults in America would not do this. Adults in America would not do lots of things the locals do here. The pasture staff on campus, responding to requests to remove the pigeons from the barn (where they poop all over students attempting to practice for palpation exams, or to attend to a couple of the horses with ailments), set up a pigeon trap: a big cage with grain in it, and a long string with which to pull the door shut…with a guy at the other end, just sitting there for hours. So far, the pigeons are smarter than the staff – they haven’t caught one.

I hate this place.

[User Picture]From: elentar
2003-04-16 03:41 pm (UTC)


It's amazing, the things you report. I'm tempted to think that you're making them up for us to laugh about. Except that I don't think anyone could come up with the guy-wearing-towel thing - only reality could produce something so bizarre. Although the Santa Cruz bums do try.

Good luck with your studies, and tell Kevin that he should put up a sign on the beach: "No Poaching -- Turtle Zone/ Minimum Fine $250" (per footstep toward the turtles).

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