T: Amazing Husband ST: Three-year-old Wonder Prof. G: Advisor I Prof. C: Advisor II Julie: Stylish Sister Rob: Awesome Brother Belle: Our Cat Bill: Grumbling BIL Rita: Uncomplicated SIL SMU: Smallish Midwestern University Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Sunday, November 27, 2005
Holding Pattern Redux
A short time ago I wrote a post called "Holding Pattern," in which I described my feelings about being awkwardly and solidly wedged between graduate school and assistant-professordom. Today I'm feeling in another type of holding pattern, which I'll describe below. I should note that in my previous post on this theme I was feeling rather negative about the "holding pattern" life, but after some thought I think aspects of it are charming and worth remembering, perhaps even worth savoring.
In a few days I will leave Europe. I've been here since November 2, away from my family since November 1. Before I left the U.S., all I could think of was, "OK, you can handle this -- every day you're in Europe brings you one day closer to returning home." I just couldn't fathom being away from T and ST so long, being away from my comfortable life. After living here for a month, however, and being now so close to returning home, I'm feeling a bit reluctant to leave. Now I have friends here, people who care about me, knowledge I didn't have before, and a comfortable lifestyle I'm just getting used to here. I know where the grocery stores are, the post offices. I know which subway goes where. I know where the best shops are, I know the tourist traps. I know which bakery has my favorite bread, and which bakery charges a lot more for the same bread. I will be sad early Wednesday morning when I leave. (That'll be late Tuesday evening for most of you, I suspect!)
But I am also unbelievably excited to go home and be with T and ST. I'm sure ST has changed since I've been gone. I can't wait to hear his little voice again, since he's been unwilling to speak to me on the phone. (He's mad at me for leaving, and told me that he will only talk to me now when they come to pick me up at the airport!) I can't wait to sleep next to T again, to have his hand to hold and face to kiss. I'm excited at the thought of slipping back into my normal routine, doing laundry and preparing supper, taking ST grocery shopping with me. I love my life at home.
So, here I am once again in a "holding pattern," stuck between two places I love, caught in a deep web of relationships I hold very dear. For example, here in European Capital City I've been introduced to so many people (all significantly older than I am -- usually old enough to be my parents) and they have become friends. They have all been willing to go the extra mile for me, to make sure I'm comfortable, to make sure I am having a good time here and finding everything I need. Hugs and kisses are in abundance. It's quite lovely -- it's like being with another family, a family I'd never known about until now. And yet, my real lovely family is waiting for me at home. I wish I could have all of these people together in one place, even if just for a moment. Just for a moment so that I could embrace them all, tell them how much I love them and how they have made my world a better place.
My second "holding pattern" again involves my status as ABD graduate student seeking employment. I found out yesterday I have another on-campus interview. (That's FOUR! I'm absolutely stunned. I was hoping for one.) This is at a university I'm intensely interested in, more so than the two other interviews (Interview #2 and Interview #3) I'll have when I return home (December 4-8). (Truth be told, if I could cancel Interview #2 without being rude, I probably would.) Anyway, I must confess that I'm kind of enjoying this inbetween-ness right now, as hectic as it is. It's a relief to know that places are indeed interested in me and what I do. It's a relief to know that, even if I don't get a job this year, people like what they see of me on paper and so I would probably get interview offers next year, too. It's also kind of exciting to think of the future and not know where I'm going to land, but to have faith that God will place me right where I'm supposed to be. I've actually given up worrying about it.
Now, off to work on that job talk I have to give on December 5 and 7 for Interviews #2 and #3. These job talks are interesting in that both universities want them to be "student-focused" -- in other words, they want me to "teach" my dissertation. At first I thought that was an easy assignment, but as I think about it it's incredibly difficult because I don't know how much background information the students already have. I'm also not sure how to make it exciting, and I'm also a little nervous about it simply because I will not have time to synthesize all that I've learned here in Europe before I have to give these talks. But oh well. I will do the best I can with what I have. In the end, that's really all I can do.