Saturday, March 24, 2012

Africa (and Academia) on my Mind... (A Long Overdue Update)

Jet leg officially "left me" on Tuesday,* which, coincidentally, was the day in which I most decidedly got back "into the swing of things" and returned to my regular schedule of staying up way too late (2 am on). It was one of those days in which little things go wrong from the beginning... such being late for office hours because I needed to cook lunch for the kids and baby-sitter AND wash & dry my hair [silly new cut that I am yet to show you]), then, forgetting to print the handout and having to come back and do it in the middle of class (wait! that was on Thursday... whatever... it doesn't matter!). The funniest thing is that I spent all day Tuesday writing this blog post in my head and now it's coming out totally different. (!)

Because of the departmental conference yesterday and today, I had to stay after work to help my students rewrite their papers for our panel, so it was a pretty long day, but nothing compared to yesterday. I have to publicly thank my husband for taking on my responsibilities with the kids and the house this week, just to do it again next week when I travel on Thursday for yet another conference (my very first fully funded conference since 2003!).

After my long day, I came back home and FINALLY began grading my students' paper... I have 42 4 page papers to grade. I managed to grade 10 and unfortunately that was all I did this week, thanks to the conference. Wednesday was busy, but OK and I again stayed up way too late, this time working with my students' conference papers and preparing my creative writer pp slides (4 poems about being bilingual).

And now come the past two days... in which I lived more or less in a academic dream-like state. I joked with K that for the past 2 days we were pretending that I was a "real" full-time tt academic [how would we ever manage the kids + house if I were to be full time is beyond me!]. I spent 13 hours at the university yesterday and I participated in two panels at the conference (both poetry readings) and went to the banquet in the evening with my students after finalizing the reviews of their papers -- that was so much fun! (both the banquet and revising their papers and have one of them practice reading it as we drove from one side of campus to the other).

Last night at the banquet I had the chance to meet the speaker of a distinguished lecture who was going to join our panel this morning. He researched Brazilian art for several years and I was thrilled that he would be able to join our panel!! Really late night again, this time transforming a 20 page publication of mine into a 10 page conference presentation paper and preparing the slide show.

I still had to finish the slide show this morning, which was pretty nerve-racking, but I am delighted to report that our panel was fantastic! My students presented flawlessly -- one of them for the very first time at a conference -- and everyone had lots of good things to say about our panel. Mission accomplished!!

The department chair kept exclaiming that I participated of so many panels (I also read a famous Brazilian poem in a faculty/student poetry reading panel yesterday afternoon)!

After the presentation I spent nearly an hour talking to this woman from Kenya, who is ABD and has a fellowship to teach at our university -- in my experience here, talking to someone about my scholarly interests and my dissertation is something that hardly ever happens, so I was delighted with the opportunity.

Africa has been constantly on my mind, and even though I don't/didn't have time, I began to select the photos that I will post to fb. The timing feels very serendipitous to me because thinking of Africa and my trip precisely when I am involved with a conference in which we were talking about Africa a lot!

I could go on and on, but I'm falling asleep on my keyboard here, so I will continue later, OK?

P.S. and I didn't even mention that on Monday we didn't hire the baby sitter because I had scheduled the boys'  dentist appointments for that morning and I was going to left them with K afterwards. Can you believe it that the appointments were actually for a week later, 3/26 and I had never realized it? Fortunately they had a 4:30 pm opening, but that meant the boys had to stay all day in town with us. Sigh...

* which was precisely what a friend had told me: 1 day for each hour of "lag" -- 7 hours : 7 days.

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