I'm off to the Coast with a group from Lombard Mennonite Church, so will be a bit unplugged for the next 7-10 days or so. Be assured that I will be busy, sweating, and slathered with mosquito repellent and sunblock. I'm sad to be leaving the kids again so soon, but I don't have another trip without them until September!
Besides defending my dissertation and getting the kids' visas renewed, while we were in the US I also got a new driver's license. It was crazy! My old license had expired while we were here in Colombia, but because I was turning 40 I needed an eye exam at the DMV. Well, I figured out much later that I could have had an eye exam here and had it validated somehow, but I thought I had to actually go to the DMV, which is why I couldn't just renew it online.
So I had to take both the road and written tests again. It was me and a bunch of tiny little nervous teenagers. The written test was nerve-wracking - I had to review a lot and take practice tests online but some of the questions were really hard! Some sounded like trick questions and I would overthink them. Some things I just didn't know. But my muscle memory for actually operating a motor vehicle was fine, so the road test was super easy.
Here are a few random photos of the kids playing at the Children's Museum, but it kind of went with the car/driving theme :-)
These photos are from about a year ago, in a lovely retreat center called Finca San Pedro (just to be clear, nobody was forced to do yoga against their will). It was high and cold and I had to up my blood pressure meds. The greater part of the group hiked up to a páramo, and Andean tundra, but the kids and I and two other stayed back for a relaxing time exploring the city.
Part of our team at the time
We are currently planning our July retreat for this year, which made me reminisce about these photos that I never shared last year (my current blog renaissance is holding up fairly well for the moment...!)
Since I finally uploaded these photos off my camera, here's a picture of Valerie's birthday! We kept the same motif of happy face balloons and candles. Poor Gabriel was feeling so sick still. The big gift was the Lego set you can see on the floor. We also had fruit kebabs and lots of snacks.
This is a totally self-indulgent post (but then, aren't they all?)
I just got back from a week in the US to celebrate my PhD graduation!
It finally feels real...
9 years, 3 continents, 2 babies, 1 degree.
Looking back, it seems like a crazy thing to have undertaken. But when I look at each separate decision along the way, I'm not sure I would have chosen differently at any of those points. I do think, though, I was very naive going into the writing stage as to what that would take to finish.
This looks like individual achievement, but it depended on support from so many people in absolutely critical ways. My parents, my in-laws, Terry, Rosanne... friends in the department, Shpresa.
My grandparents got married in this very room!
(Most of the photos above are from the commencement ceremony on Sunday the 24th; the last one is from the Anthropology department reception recognition ceremony.)
I tend to build posts around photos, which makes the "photos" label a little redundant, but since my camera cable is at the office and I'm at home, I'll just write a bit instead today.
We're having a quiet holiday at home; it's Ascension Day (39 days after Easter) and a national holiday in this most Catholic of countries. For those keeping track, Colombia has 18 national holidays a year, and often they are observed on a Monday or Friday - called "puentes," or bridges - in order to create long weekends. I think there are only one or two months in the year that have no holidays, and June has three. (Terry complains about this all the time because he finds the office more restful than being at home. And we never go places because traffic is about 3x worse than normal on holiday weekends, and normal here is pretty obnoxious.)
Anyway, it's been really nice to have this day off because I was sick as a dog yesterday, and Gabriel was recovering from a 5-day bout with some stomach bug. I was glad to have only one day of it and I feel pretty much back to normal today, a little light-headed but basically fine. Poor G. was in bad shape though - stomach cramps, throwing up, diarrhea... glad he's back to normal too.
Friday we celebrated Valerie's birthday with a few friends, although three of the four kids we invited weren't able to come so it was a small group. But we had balloons and presents and cake and pizza and she was happy. She's thrilled to be seven now and Gabe is just counting the days until his birthday.
Wednesday I'm going to the States for my PhD graduation, just a quick there-and-back-again trip. It feels like a real celebration and I'm very happy to be able to go!
"Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up." I'm from Peru and western New York state, married to a Mennonite from Costa Rica and Virginia. We live in Bogota, Colombia, working alongside the Anabaptist churches' social programs. We have two small children, PhDs in the social sciences, and love to read.