Amidst boxes, woods, rabbits, squirrels, and crickets

A week ago, we got to Princeton. It's more bucolic than even Ivrea was (in a different way: no mountains and fewer corn fields but lots of trees and woods) — as an avowed city person, I never expected to be living in a town of 14,000. Then again, I hadn't expected to start a PhD program. But it feels natural, good, comfortable. We're happy with where we're living. Butler is a tract housing colony built in the 40s, with a few houses built in the 80s (like ours). It feels rather like a summer camp, cabins and rabbits and trees and incessant crickets. The community garden is so close to our house, we can pick basil and tomatoes nearly outside our door. (I have plans for a plot next year.) All told, it's delightful.

There's so much going on with moving, unpacking, orientations, meeting the 27 masters in architecture students who started with us, reconnecting with our old friends from the year ahead of us in our master's program, Sara and Joy, who are in their second year here. Today for the first time, all four new PhD students were in one room: me, Enrique, Pep (from Barcelona) and Rafico (from Montreal). We met with Beatriz Colomina, who runs the doctoral program, and discussed the proseminar and what classes we'd be taking. Of particular interest: Ed Eigen's 18th/19th century architectural theory course, Sara Whiting's public sphere theory class, Emily Thompson's historiography of technology course in the History of Science department. Classes start Monday. In two weeks, we'll be up to our eyeballs.

The activity is a good thing. My trip to San Francisco was pure joy, mischief, connection and fun — enough so to trick myself into believing I still lived there. Mike and Liz got married, one of the most joyful, most perfectly-them weddings I've attended. I got plenty of time with close friends (<3 NEB!) and yet other people I missed altogether. In between, I met new people and met up with some people I've worked with in the past but not seen in a long time. Anita was my kind host and when she went to Burning Man — I skipped it this time around — I had the run of her apartment. Given its proximity to Bi-Rite Creamery (with its stunning, delectable salted caramel ice cream), it's a wonder I didn't burst. The trip was also just long enough that it was really time to go when I left. Had it been shorter, I would've been shattered. Instead, I've got sun-bleached hair, freckles, and a head full of lovely thoughts, memories of different perches over the city, and a warm heart.

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Officially Princeton

It was not a foregone conclusion, despite the elation in this picture. But now, it is official.

I'm going to be attending Princeton's Architecture Ph.D. program in the fall. So is Enrique. This means the opportunity to work closely with M. Christine Boyer (who teaches a course on the history of cybernetics and was a mathematician at IBM way back when), Beatriz Colomina (who ties together architecture and media, something which interests me a great deal), Spyros Papapetros (a Germanist who translated Raum als Membran, a text I've been looking for for 15 years), Ed Eigen (cross-appointment with history of science), and Sarah Whiting (a heavy player in the current debates on theory and form).

I'm also delighted to be joining an outstanding student body–this is one of the key considerations. Two of the people from my master's program at Yale are there a class ahead of me, as are other graduates from several years ago. I had a chance to catch up on the work of two current students at the symposium we hosted last weekend (more on this soon) and was very impressed with the work.

The hard part is, this means we will not be attending Michigan, the other program from which we received an offer. My close friend and mentor, Claire Zimmerman, is at the school and was a big reason for me to apply. When I visited, I discovered a strong program, great faculty and a good working atmosphere. It was an emotional decision to turn it down.

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