Things are really going to kick into high gear next week, which will be the first full week of classes. Thursday, we're going to drive down to Benton City to walk a vineyard and have a look at the plants up close; this will actually be the first time I've done that as well. As recently as last month I was standing in a vineyard kinda vacantly staring at grape vines, but this time I'll actually have a clue as to what the parts are, what they do, and what you can do in the vineyard to make better wine.
Back to class: it's an interesting makeup of students. I'd say a good 75% are regular CWU students, almost all of whom are hospitality majors. They clump together; some seem to be good friends interested in opening restaurants, that kind of thing. One of them, however, is a young woman [biology major I think?] who just needed some more credits to graduate, so she signed up for the wine certificate program. It's pretty awesome that the opportunity exists; I never heard of such a thing while I was at Berkeley, and to be honest I probably wouldn't have cared or noticed at the time; I was 21 and didn't drink much more than whatever beer was cheapest, or whatever was on tap at Mark's frat. Oh, the lost opportunities...
The rest of us are a different group of people. As far as I can tell, we have one recently relocated to Washington farmer who's into Rudolf Steiner. Cool, but weird. This is fine by me. There's another guy who's a local who drives limo tours for wine interested tourists. There's a woman who - I think - works in hotel management who wants to improve their wine program. And finally there's one other person, period, who's just a wine nut looking to change careers. So far, I have to admit that it seems like I know far more about the subject than everyone save for the instructor, but that's cool - I don't know everything, or far from it. Plus, the stuff I do know is sometimes so obscure that it's only of marginal interest [today, I asked if anyone referred to millerandage as hen and chickens here, and the instructor hadn't heard that term before. Similarly, I thought I was pretty sure that V. aestivalis was the parent of Norton grapes, and had to so some research to defend my claim (long story short, I still think I'm right, but there is no definitive DNA testing done yet; it hings on a Ukrainian immigrant researcher in Tampa)].
Last night while I was trying to fall asleep (it can take me a long, long time when Dan is far) I found myself thinking too much about what I want to do with my life, and why I'm doing what I'm doing now. Can I really effect a transition to a different career or industry? Do I really want to? Is less money but fulfilling work better than more money earned doing something that occasionally really annoys me? I guess I'll figure that out eventually; right now, I'm just grateful that Microsoft was able to work out a deal whereby I can do the academic work now, figure out what I really want to do later, and if that turns out to be software testing, I won't have lost any ground there.