If I were titling my journal entries, I would call this one "Aftershocks".

I finally had time to catch up on my websites today: friends' web journals that I read daily, if possible, as well as my staple news sites (Salon, the local paper, and The New York Times, in that particular order). I found out that one friend in the US lost her job --- the first casualty of the growing economic recession whom I know personally. I found out that a couple others, in the US and elsewhere, are still coping with the emotional aftermath of what everyone seems to refer to colloquially as 9-1-1. All this is juxtaposed with the wary optimism of my graduating class: students coming to me on a daily basis to ask me for advice about which colleges to apply to and if they should avoid New York City or DC because their parents are jittery. I want to tell them that everything will be okay, that the 'new economy' everyone was talking about two months ago isn't wiped out yet, that they shouldn't resort to purely pragmatic choices in the wake of 9-1-1. But I can't help feeling if I'm plugging a reality that no longer exists while everyone else has moved on to what has become the new reality.

I also had the opportunity this past week to meet an admissions officer from LeHigh University (in Pennsylvania, for those of you who don't know) and we got to talking about the consequences of 9-1-1. He was already traveling in Asia when the terrorist attacks happened, so he continued his trip although the Middle East portion got cancelled. He's seen firsthand how tight airport security has become, how empty the hotels are, how many events are being cancelled everywhere, not just in the United States. It all sounded surreal coming from him, yet there was a tightness to his voice- -- and this was the first time I'd met him --- that made it clear that he was just as taken aback by the past few weeks' events.

And finally, I saw for the first time today live footage of the smoldering remains of the World Trade Center. I watched a half-hour of CNN at 3 pm, and they cut to the footage twice during the broadcast. Seeing a lone crane extend its arm inexorably towards still smoking wreckage --- is that for real? --- was the closest I've come to facing 9-1-1 since the incidents themselves. It is for real, oh deluded brain of mine, and it is smoking, even at night.

Yet. Life goes on. Friends attend a Renaissance Faire in Maryland (I wanna go with you all someday!). I went for high tea with colleagues yesterday afternoon and we had a blast chilling out together after all the tension of examination marking and other typical end-of-the-school-year stresses. We gossiped, bitched, laughed, exulted over the exquisite food (the Goodwood Park Hotel's high tea never fails) and told silly stories from our teenage years. I got to know a colleague whom I'd chatted with but never really had the chance to talk to --- and his last day at work is on Monday because he's going off for a three-month course afterwards and won't be back till January! I wish we'd had more of an opportunity to talk earlier.

Today, I am happily wasting the day away. I have the weekly readings for Monday night's IR class to do, but that's always Sunday's job. My afternoon appointment has been cancelled, so the only thing I have to do today is head over to the parentals' for dinner later (Mom is making steak and we have bought the wine). Terz is well ahead of schedule on his marking, so he's taking a well-deserved nap now. I read another interview with Jonathan Frantzen (author of The Corrections) and am determined to get his book at Kinokuniya this week, since I have a $20 book voucher that expires on Oct 11.

Kinokuniya, for you non-Singaporeans/non-Japanese out there, is a huge Japanese book store that is like Barnes & Noble plus Borders combined --- it carries mostly English-language books in Singapore, but also has weighty Japanese, Chinese, comics (English/Chinese/Japanese) and Japanese stationery sections. My friend informs me that they're no longer pursuing their loyalty program (where you get a $50 voucher for every $500 you purchase over six months --- not a problem for bibliophiles like myself, although usually I combine efforts with friends and we split the $50 voucher proportionately between ourselves), so I might go back to buying books at Borders. But Kinokuniya has the most beautiful poetry section in Singapore. They even had a copy of Robert Lowell's Notebooks a few months ago! --- Which I gleefully and promptly snapped up.

Singapore's bookstores are mostly a wasteland of business, computer and self-help books, by the way. So don't blame me for becoming attached to our two giant chain bookstores because they're honestly the best we've got.

I think I will go read some more websites. I've got a lot of catching up to do for the past week and it doesn't help that MightyBigTV's server is overloaded at the moment.


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