Everything was in bloom, and outside of the horticulture building was a veritable explosion of tulips:
My favorite part of the entire weekend was probably the time I got to spend in Iowa State's library. I wish I had taken more pictures of it, because it was truly spectacular. The original building was very grand and stately; at some point they built an extension around the original building that is very modern and airy. The effect is that of a building within a building, a wonderful mix of space and grandeur, old and new.
|Our tour guide posing atop the grand staircase|
Really, it was a beautiful day, and a beautiful place to spend it.
We had planned to sample some of Ames' nightlife that evening, but both Greg and I were so exhausted after dinner that we collapsed in our hotel room. The next day we had Easter lunch with Greg's aunt and uncle and grandparents. Greg's cousin is an agronomy major, and right now she's taking a class on seed science and weed identification. I was fascinated by her homework. She had three rings full of seed packets: cultivated crops, forage crops, and weeds. She basically had to be able to identify any of these seeds for the exam. No small task, especially since a lot of them (like the various wheats and grasses and clovers) all looked exactly the same to me.
This seemed like it would be really difficult, but maybe it's not all that different from having to recognize various Gregorian chants that all sound the same for a music history final? I actually learned quite a bit about farming during our afternoon with Greg's family. Not only is Linda an agronomy major, but Greg's grandfather was a farmer and his aunt's family still runs a farm. I learned about things like insurance planting dates and corn sustainability ratings. More interesting than it sounds. I love learning new things.
We drove back to Kansas that evening, and yesterday morning Greg's mother was kind enough to take me 45 minutes west to lovely Lawrence, home of the University of Kansas. Greg warned me that it's a hilly campus, but being from the mountains, I was skeptical, until I actually had to climb Mt. Oread. It's definitely a formidable hill. My legs are sore today.
KU's campus was not quite as lovely as Iowa State's, but I felt more comfortable there. In fact, with its hills and its large campus, it reminded me quite a bit of the University of Tennessee - maybe with a little bit of Sewanee thrown in. I liked it. As we were walking around the campanile chimed every fifteen minutes.
I met up with a current MFA student, who gave me a short tour of the areas I'd probably spend most of my time at if I came to KU, including the emblematic Fraser Hall at the top of Oread:
|I might teach a class in there...|
Now the fun part is over, and I have to make my decision. It was really useful to see the campuses - I only wish I could have gone to West Virginia as well. The truth is, I didn't have a moment in either place where angels descended from the heavens and told me, "YOU BELONG HERE" (except maybe in Iowa State's library...) I have a lot of thinking to do over the next few days. I will be so, so, so glad when this process is over.