Wednesday, June 23, 2010


 I am on vacation (or holiday) for 2 weeks in the States.  After a few "issues" with my own family in Chicago before I left the UK, Mike and I decided that we would spend the whole 2 weeks in Michigan with his family.  I was apprehensive at first - last time we stayed with his parents was exactly one year ago when we were preparing for our big overseas adventure.  At that time things were stressful, Mike had a drunken accident, and we were all about to kill each other.

This time things are quite chill.  Mike has been gone for a year and so his family is just happy to have him home.  For the past week we have done nothing more than run, cook, read, and watch as much Bravo tv as we can (you know you LOVE the Real Housewives Franchise just as much as I do).  For the first time in a long time I am actually learning to a point.

It's funny - the more relaxed I get the more I feel like I should be doing work.  I check my email expecting something from work to pop up or anticipating reading a new article or policy that is related to my research.  I told my boss that for the 2 weeks I was off I would be OFF - no emails, no texting, no asking me to do something as I wanted to have a real holiday.  Now that I have it I am finding it a little hard to actually fully enjoy the time off - it's sick!  I meet with my adviser on Friday to go over my dissertation and so although I did all of my prep for that meeting before I left Bristol and sent it to her I still feel like I should be reading/writing.

But, I am not and am trying to teach myself the art of time off.  I bitch about wanting a break but when I get them I don't know what to do with myself.  I ran a 5K race two days after arriving in the US and have been running consistently since then which is a good thing, been trying to see a few friends, and trying to catch up on some fun reading.  I guess that is what relaxing is?  Who knows.  But for now I know that I needed the time off to calm my mind and my body before the the next 10 months of writing, working and running commence.  Now the World Cup..USA, USA, USA...

Monday, June 7, 2010


May 6, 2011.  This is the date that I will be graduating with my Ph.D in Anthropology (specialising in socio-cultural aspects of race, racism, identity, citizenship, and nation) from Michigan State University.  About 2 weeks ago I had a skype meeting with my adviser and we both agreed that I can push hard these next few months and get it done.  After 6 years at MSU and 12 (DAMN) years in total since I graduated high school I will finally end my love-hate relationship with studenthood.

Am I ready?  Simply put...HELL YEA.  My entire 20s have been spent within the academy.  I'v raked up student loans in excess of $70,000 WITH fellowships in ever year but this last one (not even sure of this figure but that is the bare minimum I know I will be paying back). have moved states and now countries, loss my dad, found my soul mate, loss some weight, gained some of it back, and now am loosing it again, and in general have grown a hell of a lot.  And, I'm tired of being a student.  Tired of being broke, relying on fellowships and loans to get by on.  I'm tired of being underpaid based on the fact that I am a student (cause come on those TAships are a joke with all the work you do).  But I have learned something valuable in all the jobs I have taken- unless you realize your own value no one else will - Period.

So this next 10-11 months will entail me writing my ass off.  I signed up for the Bristol half marathon and will do the Rome marathon March 20, 2011 as a way to have something else to also aim/train for alongside the writing and working.  Balance is key and Lord knows I have forgotten that far to often when deadlines start to approach and stress levels create blinders that allow me to forget that I have a life outside of work/school.  This summer challenge with the following one in winter helps me remember to keep eating healthy food and work out.   Running saved my life so I make that  a priority and not just an extra thing I do if I THINK I have the time because really one can make time for anything they actually prioritize.

But you may be asking - will I really finish?  Again...HELL YEA.  Why?  Because it is not in my reality no to (Sam is this the right form of "to"?).  I can actually picture myself giving the defence, passing, turning in the dissertation to the grad school, getting my fancy cap and gown, and walking across that stage with a big smile on my face and most likely a little tear in my eye.  Thoughts become things and my thoughts are completely  focused on getting done and getting a job that I enjoy and allows me to pay my bills and live a comfortable life.

When I finish I will be 29 years old, 3 months shy of turing the Dirty 30.  I will close one chapter of my life and begin another.  I wonder what my 30s will bring...