At noon the school held a campus-wide barbecue for all incoming students, undergraduates and graduates alike. UNLV has a marching band. They must be sick of playing "Viva Las Vegas." It's interesting to attend a school that has sports teams that, you know...matter. Students actually appear to have school spirit. This is a foreign concept to me. In my opinion, one of Loyola's most endearing qualities was its lack of a sports cult. Who knows? Maybe this will be a positive change. Maybe I'll grow as a human being. Maybe.
I didn't spend long at the barbecue; instead a bunch of us went up to the English department and had way better leftover Hawaiian food there. Did you know that there's a huge Hawaiian population in Vegas? It's sometimes referred to as the ninth island. I had no idea. There are many Chinese people here as well. 我想练习说汉语.
While stuffing my face full of free salad, I received a call from Century Link--they had finally come to set up my internet! No more WiFi-desperate trips to Starbucks for me. The best part? The man who came to install it was named Larry. Larry the cable guy. You can't make this stuff up.
After Larry's departure, I returned to campus to join an epic quest. You see, poor Shaun Leonard just wanted the typical American college experience, but there were no free "I am a Rebel" t-shirts for graduate students--even international graduate students. Incensed by the injustice of this, Shaun, Zach, and I vowed to obtain one of these t-shirts for Shaun. We tried asking some freshman where they got theirs ("I'm from Ireland." "You mean like leprechaun Ireland?"), we begged students who weren't wearing one to take pity and give their shirts away. Finally, a kind young lady in the admissions office located a few extras. Now Shaun can shine in rebel red, just like he always dreamed.
We made a quick victory trip to the library for a graduate reception, and from there we went to Stake Out, a bar/restaurant where the English MAs and MFAs gathered to celebrate the end of orientation week. Delightful conversation, cheap PBR, and shockingly tasty chicken fingers were enjoyed by all.
Several of us then made our way to Dino's, a Las Vegas institution since 1962. And by "institution" I of course mean "dive bar." There I learned valuable information such as my fellow fiction MFA Kayla has quite a set of pipes, and I am terrible at pool. I'm going to have to work on that. I have three years. I, too, made my Las Vegas karaoke debut at Dino's. Here is a video of said debut, surreptitiously filmed by Zach:
One thing I didn't anticipate about Vegas was how much the secondhand smoke would affect me. After a few hours at Dino's my eyes and throat felt ragged. I miss Illinois' indoor smoking ban. Oh well. I'm sure I'll get used to it.
We finally left sometime between 1:30 and 2 a.m.; as the evening's designated sober chauffeur, I drove Zach home, then Shaun and Austin back to Austin's car. At one point we got to drive on the highway, convertible top down, Arcade Fire blasting, the lights of the strip sparkling to our left. It was absolutely gorgeous.
And that's how I ended up going to bed around 3 a.m., a mere 3.5 hours short of the 24-hour mark.
Today I slept until almost 1 p.m. I do not regret this decision in any way.