Welcome to Clemson, South Carolina! Go Tigers!
While I post these a year later, all the post maintain true to what I sent to friends and family when I first arrived here in South Carolina…So sorry for the delay and here we embark on my newest and most current journey.
Jan 14, 2013
As I boarded my airplane in southern California, that would eventually take me to Greenville, SC, I noticed that there was a significant increase in people discussing football and wearing football shirts. This observation only increased once I landed in Chicago. After chatting with the guy next to me about football and other sports on and off for 3 hours I had made a new friend and was ready to take on South Carolina. So far everyone seemed nice enough. Then I reached my gate, which would take me to GSP airport (pronounced, “gisp-pee”). The kid sitting across from me was wearing an orange tigers sweatshirt, orange tennis shoes, orange backpack and had a orange tigers iPhone case. For those of you who do not know Clemson their mascot is the Tigers (along with a bunch of other schools) and their colors are purple and orange (really really bright orange). I do not look good in orange- this could be a problem… While I watched the woman in front of me groom her miniature yorkie, I observed others around me. The diversity seemed decent enough, some ethnically ambiguous folks, African-Americans, a family of Asians. After all I was leaving Berkeley, California which is notoriously an extremely diverse place.
Once on the plane I met up with my lovely mother who was sitting in the middle seat next to a guy in his 20s-30s. We got to talking and when he learned I was a wildlife biologist he chuckled because he was on his way back from a hunting trip in Oklahoma…Nebraska…one of the Dakotas?... and told us how all his guns/and kill were packed away under this here airplane. My mom had her eyes squeezed shut and lips tightly pursed like she was in severe pain. In order to put to rest the obvious aversion my mother was showing to this man’s commentary I asked him what his favorite kind of duck to eat was, which turned out to be mallard and wood duck. Throughout this conversation our flight attendant had been making poorly delivered football jokes. Definitely not headed to California.
Once I got off the airplane, the first thing I did was rush to the bathroom in the airport. I was the first in line as there were only 3 stalls. The girl behind me comes in and in a huffy, irritated tone goes “ughh I REALLY have to go” (yeah lady we all do), then the line begins to increase and there’s no flushing and another woman behind says, “ladies there’s a line out here”. In the meantime I’m thinking “jeeze what happened to southern hospitality” or patience. Finally someone comes out of the bathroom, and I let the girl behind me go in front and she didn’t even say thank you. The best part of the bathroom debacle was the entire time, while everyone was huffing and silently irritated, there was a cat in the large handicap bathroom stall meow-ing.
My new place is clean, big and CLEAN. It is so amazing to live with people who clean up after themselves and buy things they need, like tools, cleaning supplies etc. Everyone pitches in equally which is great. They also like to go out and socialize and they have a large group of friends, which is great for me since I clearly know no one.
Over the next few days my mom and I (ok mainly my mom) put together my room with plenty of trips to Ace, Walgreens, Starbucks and Salvation Army. While I had class, my mom worked ferociously on turning my room into a palace of comfort. On my first day of classes I finally got to meet Kyle Barrett- my advisor for the next 2.5 years.
Kyle is a young, hip guy in his late 30s (this was my guess and I was about right). He is probably 5’10, reddish hair and beard, a cartilage ear piercing, is married with a 7 year-old son and likes the bar Nick’s. Right off the bat it seemed as though we will get along which is a huge relief and very exciting. I have heard graduate school can be awful if you do not get along with your advisor. I was given 3 keys: the grad school building, my lab and my “office”. Who knew I would have an office? I didn’t. My office is in the basement of the hall where I have all my classes. It is shared between 4 people, 3 girls and 1 guy, although I have only met the guy, Gary.
Overall the town of Clemson reminds me a lot of Davis but in the Bible belt: it is small and cute and has about 6 bars. I have become a member of Walgreens, Rite-Aid, BI-LO (grocery store) all in a period of a week. The bars close at 12 am on Saturdays because come Sunday is for church. No alcohol is sold on Sundays- talk about Sunday funday… There are two bars that stay open until 2 am on Saturdays but to get into those bars you have to have a “lifetime membership” aka pay a one time fee of like 20$- what? There are a lot of Baptist churches and I am tempted to go to a service to see what it's all about.
Life in Clemson has been pretty simple. I cannot wait to learn more about my project and go out into the field. My field sites are all on the SC coast and I have been told it is beautiful out there. I meet with Kyle this Friday to discuss my project in more depth, but for now go Tigers!
I am spoiled and my parents bought me a Prius C, and sold my old car a VW beetle for me. They're the best- LOVE YA MUM AND DAD!
Shopping at Tj maxx definitely ensued
Burgers with restaurants names grilled into them
Mama taking a break, thank god I had her here to help me set up my place- especially since I ended up getting a intense fever and being super sick my first two weeks!
Where the magic happens- although at this point I had yet to experience it.
For real- yes for real, now I LOVE me some tiger paws
My new ID!
The famous Tillman
Me and the roomies, oh and my cool backpack cooler my mom bought me (genuinely I have used this thing for tailgating like no other, really it did come in handy!)
You would think there would be a movie theatre, but no wait- another Clemson gear store
True southern food, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread
A big ass rainbow- but a little bit of California
Lake Hartwell- the lake surrounds the campus and is covered with hundreds of trails to explore, a really great feature if you ask me!