Sunday, October 26, 2014

Killing it

Anthro Winter

How much is Anthropology killing it this Winter?  Usually I don't like Anthropology, it's too expensive and feels sort of 30 going on 13 but this year I really like them.  Maybe I just finally got old enough to appreciate €100 sweaters with embroidered swans on the front?   Sorry bear with me, my birthday is coming up and I'm going to be 33.  That seems a lot older than 32, doesn't it?  I might be freaking out a little due to most of my fellow students and even some of my professors being so much younger than myself.  Deep breaths :) 

P.S. My first paper was a total disaster and I'm 100% sure I did it wrong but at least it's finished.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014


This morning I unpacked my Winter clothes.  The week has seen the serious kind of cold that requires wearing socks and Winter coats.  I thought it was kind of early then I realized that it's the end of October, almost November, making this weather completely appropriate.  Part of my brain seems to still be in September but I'm doing my best to keep it all together.   My skin is breaking out and I have two days to write my first paper plus I am being assigned about 400 pages of reading a week that I am expected to read and another 400 that's just there if I happen to have some extra time.  In between being a mother and a person and making sure the laundry is done and floor is mopped I feel crushed.  I have no free time.  None.  There is always something to do.  Having two parents who are otherwise occupied for forty hours a week each is rougher than I expected. 

My first full week of classes was not as warm and fuzzy as I imagined.  I might have embarrassingly found myself fighting tears in my last class of the week.  I hate being so emotional.  I haven't yet put my finger on why but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with a significant portion of the people I come into contact with on a daily basis seem to act like having a higher education makes them better than everyone else.  I mean, what ever happened to the foundation of democracy being something about all people are created equal?    

To be fair, the majority of people are great, I am talking about a significant minority.  Anyway, after hearing the phrases 'elite' and 'undeserving poor' too many times I was questioning if I was in the right place.  I felt more homesick than I have in years.  I've been out of the States so long I don't know if it's nostalgia or if Americans treat each other with more respect despite educational differences.  Anyway, I expect it will be rough while I adjust.  It made me question if it was really worth spending so much time away from my family.  I keep reminding myself I can deal with people who feel entitled to dismiss and belittle everyone educationally inferior to them if it means getting a Master degree without a hefty student loan.   I've got to keep my eyes on the goal and try to ignore everything else.

Besides feeling terribly homesick and out of place I am also intensely happy.  The stress isn't keeping me down.  I'm having so much fun working and exploring Berlin in the few free minutes I have.  I am lucky to get to live in Europe, I'm lucky to have the educational opportunity and I am thankful every single day for my good fortune.  I get to wear heals again and go places alone for the first time in years.  I even found a good stylist in Berlin who covered my gray and gave me a nice trim so I can continue to try to pass for 29 instead of 33 :)


Saturday, October 18, 2014


Hey there.  In the interest of little time I'm just throwing my thoughts out there at random. 

~  I'm about 10 years older than everyone in my grad school program.  That doesn't make me feel old at all

~  I'm the only American this semester.  Probably the only married person and the only mom. 

~  I don't remember anything about statistics.   One of our professors said we should know what variance, standard deviation, etc..  I remember the terms but all I got was a picture in my head of points on a graph with zero meaning attached to them.  That turned out to be right!   Sort of.   Anyway I'm sure this will fine.  At least I remember how to calculate an average.   Doesn't matter that people learn that in grade school :)

~  Another professor told us we should be familiar with the resent history of Europe i.e. the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Conference.  Since I got my degree a million years ago and we only studied either world or American history I have no clue about European history.   I'm sure this is going to be fine.  Right?  Right. (My first reading were 40 pages on the Treaty of Lisbon and the last fifty years of European history so I feel slightly better).

~  I have nine classes.  Nine is a lot.  After four weeks it drops down to seven.  I think I can handle seven but the next weeks are going to be mad.

~  Of course I got deathly ill right before school started.  I finally went to the doctor and got some antibiotics.  I really love my GP for that.  Now I'm better but I haven't run or worked out in weeks. 

~  Trying to eat a low GI diet for my blood sugar is going to be kind of challenging.  Tried to take a banana one day but it was mush in less than an hour.   What else can I pack in a lunch that isn't a sandwich?

~  It feels great to be out in society everyday as a person instead of as a mother.  Taking public transportation is much easier without a stroller.  Students are open and friendly.  I like talking to people every day instead of just once or twice a week.

~  The DB has been intermittently striking all week so I got to take the long way home a bunch of times.  That was ok but I really hope the DB is up and running consistently by next week. 

~  Spending a little bit of time away from Sophie each day has been great for both of us.  She throws fewer tantrums, I'm much more patient and she gets to bond more with other family members, friends and care givers.  I love that she likes her Kita and is happy to go there every day.   The guilt would kill me if she didn't like it.

~ Louis is house trained and has fallen pretty easily into our routine.  I'm glad we kept him.  I can't say that I love him yet but I like him and I'm glad he's around.

~ Next week is my first full week of classes since many are starting late.  I'm still terrified of keeping balance but hoping for the best.