This is a doctorate anniversary post. Equally significant in my mind.* The last academic hurdle: now I get to learn to be the expert. Sure, there are other hoops to jump through: tenure/ contract renewal, The Book, this #@$)~*%# article that's been torturing me all summer. For now, it's nice to know that I've got the Seal of Approval, entitling me to take on such projects.
Last year, I didn't even know it was summer. The only evidence of change was the creep of the afternoon sun up my office walls, where I was cloistered, 12-18 hours a day, pounding away at the dissertation that I had rashly promised my future employers I could complete in a year.
That hasty promise, made months before I began writing, before I even began analyzing the data, while I was, in fact, still in the field collecting data, came back to bite me in the butt** last summer as I typed furiously to meet a deadline that my advisor had initially said was impossible. I met it without a day to spare.
As 18th century author and lexiographer Samuel Johnson said, the prospect of a hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully. Indeed. I've always been deadline driven, and the biggest writing project of my life was no exception.
But, I missed some of my favorite things in life: ice cream on warm evenings, chatting with friends over cold drinks, travel, mountain hikes. All was put on hold for the tyranny of my final academic deadline. The constant panic and anxiety I felt spurred me on to work harder - when it didn't paralyze me. I was happy to have wedding planning as a constructive distraction when the dissertation felt just too weighty.
This summer, though, this summer... it's SUMMER!*** Though Eric had his own major deadline this summer, we've made the most of our freedom from strict schedules. We started out here, in May, following a work-gig that took Eric to Milan:
|Bonus points if you know the locale.|
|Hint. (They clearly have great taste!)|
By early June, we were soaking in art in Florence.
On a tour of a Tuscan castle winery, surrounded by a bunch of 20-something honeymooners from the States, we realized that it wasn't too late to consider our trip Part III of Multi-part Global Honeymoon Tour.
|Former family home to the namesake of the Verrazzano Bridge|
Next stop on the Global Honeymoon Tour was Seward, Alaska, where the food didn't exactly live up to that of Italy.
|The best and biggest dinner around.|
We earned our dinner by hunting the ever-elusive Loch Ness Monster...
grow to super-size with climate change)...
and visiting yet another receding glacier****...
|Where it was in 1926|
|The Seward Exit Glacier today.|
|Lama Foundation, New Mexico|
* And all the sweeter (and way more bearable) for having someone to share it with. I cover my ears when he makes noises about getting a PhD. Does he really want to enter that special hell???
**Quite literally. I developed a tailbone injury from spending so much time sitting! My one break from the desk chair was to see the physical therapist who insisted that I get more exercise.
*** You'd never know it from the foggy, chilly weather here in the Bay, though.
**** The cynical among you may be asking what my contribution to climate change is, with all this flying around. This issue continues to vex me. My work and family life are both international in scope, and it's hard to reconcile keeping up with my family and my field while being worried about climate change. When I'm home, I rely on my bike and hope that it offsets my plane travel a little.