Sunday, 26 January 2014

Day 17: Egypt Tour at the Penn Museum

What went well? 
  1. Visited the Penn Museum. I was extremely impressed by the size and quality of the collections, and am grateful that I can go back whenever I want because entry is free for all PennCard holders (students, staff, faculty)! Enjoyed the guided tour through the Ancient Egypt exhibits. Here are some scenes from the museum:

  2. In the China gallery. 
    The second-largest crystal ball in the world. It's just so perfect...
  3. Found out that Icebreaker Merino upholds really high animal welfare standards (thanks to An Ran for bringing this to my attention!!). I feel a lot better now about having bought their merino thermal leggings which I've been wearing every day since I got here. Good thermals are definitely a necessity here, and I'm glad that they can be obtained through relatively ethical means.
  4. Finish reading The Loss of Sadness (Horwitz & Wakefield 2007) for my Sociology of Mental Illness. I can honestly say that this book, much like Anatomy of an Epidemic, has been a game-changer for my views about how we should conceptualise, diagnose, educate, and treat depression. It was surprising, disturbing and utterly compelling. I'll probably write a book review about it for my other blog, but have a look at these Amazon Reviews. I highly recommend it for mental health practitioners, physicians, policymakers, researchers, and laypeople alike, because we all have a stake in this issue.

What did I learn? 
  • The Penn Museum is just awesome. It's huge - I think you could definitely spend a couple of days there - and incredibly well-resourced. Fans of the ancient world and archaeology in general should definitely check it out.
  • Bits and pieces about Ancient Egypt.
    • It took 70 days to mummify a body.
    • The Egyptians were very literal about things. For example, they decorated the floor of the throne room with the faces of their enemies, so that whenever they walked across, they'd literally be stepping on their enemies.
    • They liked symmetry in their architecture, because it gave them a sense of order/security.
  • It is easy to fill your schedule up with events! There are so many opportunities to be engaged here. Next week, as well as class, choir & gym, I'm going to a student-led morning meditation, auditing a lecture, going to two psychology talks, going to a public speaking meeting, a philosophy club (Sermo Humanita) meeting, two Philo events, and an exchange student event. Look:
Oh, and just as an aside, since my friend Andy wanted to know more about the dorms, here's some preliminary thoughts about Stouffer, one of the many College Houses here. So far, my impressions have been that it's quiet and a great place to study, though a little bit unsocial. It doesn't have quite the same feel of community as my college back in Melbourne, probably because it's 3x the size and I'm new. However, I have also met some really nice people here (like that GA I mentioned a few posts earlier, and the guy who helped me open that can!). What I like best about Stouffer though, is that it offers a lot in terms of events and activities. There is something on nearly every day, whether it be home-made cookies at the Faculty Master's apartment, movie night, more food at another Fellow's place, free yoga starting next week, outings, Fellow's night (informal dinner and conversation with a Professor)...Like anything in life, you get out what you put in. Here's what Stoufferians have to say about Stouffer, when asked to describe Stouffer in three words:

And here's a photo of the Section E lounge, where I spend most of my time because it's generally very quiet and perfect for studying:


  1. Wow, so quick to incorporate my requests in your posts - you are as efficient and thoughtful as ever! I had an enjoyable read :) Thanks Jessie!