Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Arrived in Ithaca

On Sunday, Kate and I arrived in Ithaca, after passing through tiny towns with wonderful names like Romulus and Ulysses. Ithaca is a lovely city, with breathtaking views and a granola feel to it. Indeed, we drove by the Grassroots Festival as we were nearing the city.

We stopped in the downtown area for lunch, and Kate immediately spotted Ithaca Guitar Works. (She clearly takes after her Dad.) We browsed for a bit and eventually left with new guitar picks for Todd and a Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus songbook for Kate. The warm and enthusiastic shop owner had the good grace not to sneer as we bought it. We then stopped into a little cafe with excellent smoothies and wraps for lunch. We liked the food so much that I intended to return with Kate later in the week, until I found out it was owned by a religious cult. Maybe that's why the staff members were so friendly and helpful.

The Suzuki Institute takes place at Ithaca College, and we're staying in one of the residences here. Yesterday, we took a needed break from the university dining hall food. The food here is about as good as you'd expect from such a place (i.e. not particularly good), but at least they have decent Green Mountain coffee. We returned downtown and had an excellent meal at the famous Moosewood Cafe. I bought one of their cookbooks years ago and still use it frequently.

This is the amazing view from outside our residence room. Unfortunately, the view on the inside is not as beautiful. When we walked into our room, Kate immediate said, "Mom, this is just like a prison cell!" I reprimanded her for having such a negative view, but then I started to see her point. Perhaps it was the cement-block walls, or the small window located at the top of one wall, or the sheer sparsity of the room, even by residence-hall standards. However, a quick trip to Walmart to get supplies (including pillows that offered more than a centimetre of height) made our room much more comfortable. We really can't complain. The mattresses are comfortable, the room is very clean, and it is reasonably close to the classes. We do have a 15-minute hike uphill, though; it's a good thing Kate plays violin and not cello. Also, no one complains if you practice your instrument here. In fact, there is a kid next door who seems to be practicing every minute she's not in a class. Not surprisingly, she's one of the most advanced students in her age group. I'll write more about the violin program itself later.

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