After being in Iowa City for almost two months, on Thursday I finally figured out (with the help of another writer) how to get the bus to the nearby mall, so I could watch The Martian in the cinema before it ends its run. It's for research, but also for fun; at heart I'm a big science fiction geek, as you know. I've already made plans to check out Riverside, Iowa (the future birthplace of Captain Kirk) before I leave Iowa in November.
Also in the works: a visit to a nearby vineyard and whisky distillery, dinner with Singaporeans (there are Singaporeans in Iowa!! who've been here for almost 20 years!!), a presentation to a literature class on why I write what I write, and as much research, planning of the new novel, rewriting of the old novel and other writing as I can squeeze in before we have to pack our bags and vacate our rooms. We're down to our last two weeks in Iowa City proper, just as we were getting used to the routine of readings and panels and having time to read and write and laugh and drink over multilingual/multicultural conversations. People are getting homesick, people are also realising this will end all too soon. It's a funny emotional and psychological space to inhabit.
I think it was a bit surreal for much of the programme because it's been an unseasonably warm autumn. As of last week, there were still days when I could wander around comfortably in a T-shirt, skirt and slip-on shoes, and one evening we even dined al fresco without any heaters in the vicinity. We made a hiking trip to Effigy Mounds National Monument last Saturday and many of the leaves on the trees were still green, which didn't seem to be what the locals expected. It's feel like summer's still holding on, when of course it's almost Halloween already.
Wish I could send some of these blue skies (literal and metaphorical) over to Singapore.