finally, from the other side

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so here i am, living in atlanta, georgia, united states of america. i have a great apartment in downtown decatur (pronounced De-kate-er), which is a bit like hipster parts of south newtown, for want of a better comparison. not too flashy but just enough to be ‘nice’. there are lots of restaurants, cafes, good coffee and not a great grocery store. i have found a great hairdresser, however (priorities).

hair

my boxes arrived from australia.

boxes

i bought lots of new furniture from ikea and i love how it looks (i just need to restock the 36 boxes of books i left in sydney)

lounge

my apartment building has a pool, and a view. some (most) days it is sunny! but right now it is cold and like winter and that makes me happy.

pool

ive met lots of fabulous people, work colleagues, knitters,

knitters

and a man (boy?) who can cook. he is the not the person i had hoped to be with here, but that other person isnt working out at the moment because the universe is a bitch. but thats not really why i came, it was only ever going to be a bonus, and when you’re open to it, amazing people walk into your life regardless. i have had moments of homesickness, some so bad i was nauseaous. more than once i cried myself to sleep sobbing ‘i want to go home’. but i dont. i want to stay here. i just wanted this to be Home.

i got to go to new york for christmas

flatiron

and see my favourite places and my favourite americans

purl

and it was only 2 hours on the plane and that felt like coming home

rockcentre

i love my job, and the amazing campus that i work on.

emory

i cant even find the words to tell you how amazing it is. i never thought i would be more than a little lecturer in little old wollongong. now im an assistant professor, on the tenure track, funded by one of the worlds most important humanities foundations. people call me a Mellon. the work im planning blows. my. mind.

i have my own office with a view,

office

i have a faculty profile, i have a business card

card

they’ve even written two stories about me! bizarre and bizarrer!

i have a book manuscript under review, a journal article i need to finish RIGHT now, lots of exciting collaborations with the Centre for Ethics and the College of Arts and Sciences, and so many terrific, clever, colleagues within the School, who are also great friends and so supportive! i have plans to be back in archives in philadelphia in a few weeks, more archives in DC and Boston later, conferences in virginia, chicago, minneapolis and quebec, courses to develop, guest lectures to write.

i catch a free shuttle bus to work (which means i can knit)

busknitting

i’ve figured out where the good coffee is on campus,

kaldi1

ive joined zipcar and regularly drive around atlanta without killing anyone. when i get back from a return visit to australia in march im thinking about a car. when i’m done with summer travelling, im thinking about a dog. next year i will think about a house.

house

ok so maybe not this house but it is pretty isnt it?

so america is where i live now and im glad i made the move. i trusted my instincts and they were right. i miss my friends. i miss my dogs. but this is where i need to be. i didnt think it would but permanent residency looks likely.

the next chapter awaits but i probably wont write about it here, i have too much writing to do now and i think the constant instagram and facebook posts are better for keeping in touch with friends and family.

so if i dont see you again, thank you for following my journey, for all the love and support ive had on this blog. remember how i said i thought i was in between somewhere? well i think ive arrived.

k xx

goodbye hello

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well, it’s two weeks today since i flew out of australia on a one way ticket and it already feels like a life time. saying good bye was the hardest part. there were a series of them over the final week, work, knitters,

knitters

family.

nardinebye

trentbye

the last day in wollongong was the worst. saying good bye to trent and tracey and the dogs. i get tears when i think about it. the enormity of what i’m doing. how far away i will be. how much i will miss the people who know me best. who will i call when i need to change a light bulb. the endless antics of my fur babies.

trentanddogs

it doesnt really bear thinking about. i think i am in denial. i am just on my usual extended work trip, conferences, archives, shopping, then i will go home. and i will go home. but it wont be that home, it will be a new one, in atlanta.

everything has gone super smooth, for the most part. i arrived in dublin for the AAHN conference a few days before with no dramas, although i was less than impressed with the tiny little hotel room above what was basically a pub. i endured it while i was alone and jet lagged, but when my colleagues arrived who were staying at the conference hotels, some smooth talking at the desk managed to weedle me a conference hotel room. meaning that when W arrived from the States, we were able to move there and co-habit in relative comfort. actually, it was great, and i really enjoyed that experience, waking up and chatting quietly in the dark, having her read her paper while i knitted in bed. very comforting, and i think being around people has helped with the first part of the transition.

the conference was great,

conference

i gave two papers, one on a panel about integrating nursing history into the curriculum which i didnt write beforehand but just talked about my amazing job and the other on psychiatric nursing history which was in a session with one of my academic nursing heroes, siobhan nelson. siobhan is also an aussie working in the northern hemisphere (canada) and we had coffee later and she gave me some great insights about the US academic system and also about my research. we might be able to do some work together in the future which would be great.

i loved catching up with all my american nursing history mates, and then seeing all the aussies who had come over, especially two people i’ve worked closely with at UOW, suzi and jackie, who are emerging scholars and giving their first papers. they both did great and lots of people said good things to me about them, and it was such a buzz to see them flourish and to be there with so many fun intelligent people.

and dublin was lovely. really fantastic, great scenery

dublin1

history

mollymalone

books

dublinlongroom

food and coffee

coffee

i really loved it.

when i flew out, i was surprised to find that entry to the US happened at the dublin end. so i went through immigration thinking i would need to use my tourist/visa waiver. the border protection officer was super nice and said well you’re on an E3, you can stay for 2 years, and i said yes but i’m not meant to use it more than 10 days before i start work, and he said well its already been issued, its already active, i think we can let you in on it now. i said really, he said i’ll go check, he checked, there was a conversation, and he came back and said it was ok, stamped my visa and said ‘welcome to the united states doctor smith’. well ok then.

visa

so now i am here. i went straight from JFK to the air bnb i had booked at the last minute in tarrytown. i wasnt that happy with the pre communication, she seemed very vague and less than efficient, and when i got there, it was a ramshackle house that probably should feature on Hoarders. she was in the middle of DIY ‘renovations’ (i use that term loosely) and there was only one working burner on the stove. my bedroom didnt look anything like the original pictures on the website, there was random furniture shoved in there and a bathroom that needed gutting. but i shut the door and slept and thought i could handle it because it was cheap and close to everything.

when i got up in the morning i met the surprise student living in the basement, who asked me what my routine was. i was like, what? im at the archives 9 to 5, why? and he said oh ok i’ll go shower then but i only need to use it twice a week, and im like what, in my bathroom, and he said yes but i can text you before i go in and i was like ummmm… i ran to get the shuttle for the archives and when i was there i madly emailed W trying to figure out what to do, rang a hotel but they were full, and finally decided to fall on the mercy of my nursing history colleagues who i’ve been working on the book with, who live up here just north of new york city. of course, they flew to my rescue and swept me from my dungeon and now i am safely esconced in mohegan lake new york, which is quiet and peaceful and so pretty

mohegan lake

and yesterday i drove a car, all by myself, on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road,

driving

and no one died, and it felt oddly natural. i think as the driver it makes more sense than as a passenger, and i just followed A and stayed out of other peoples way and paid attention to what i was doing. it doesnt feel impossible, like i thought it might.

so tomorrow i am taking the train down to manhattan for some shopping, i have another week at the rockefellers,

rockefeller terrace

which have been amazing and revealing, as usual

rockefeller desk

and then i will visit with S in hastings on hudson, and then down to W in new jersey again, and from there to a conference in stuttgart and back into new jersey before i make my way down to atlanta.

everything there is ready to go, my apartment is locked in, i have a 4th floor one bedroom that overlooks the pool in a brand new complex in decatur. i got an email yesterday from the shipping company to tell me what boat my boxes are on, and they are due in atlanta about the same time as me. so then i will have about 10 days to get the apartment set up and settle in before i start work.

its surreal, the whole thing. me, nobody special, from little old wollongong, moving my whole life across the world to start a job at a university that everyone knows, in one of the most exciting and stimulating intellectual environments i can imagine, not knowing anyone except the people i met when i interviewed. who even does that?!

i’m going to stay in denial about it a bit more and just try and enjoy the archive and conference feel for a bit longer. although i will be glad to stop living out of two suitcases!

k xx

vertigo

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i am quite literally, dizzy. light headed, even a little bit breathless. my life has a mind of its own at the moment and i feel like i am just the passenger, watching it swerve around the bends like an overloaded bus on a peruvian mountain road. i couldnt stop it if i wanted to!

and i dont want to. i said in my last post that i had been in the US and interviewed for a position at Emory University in Atlanta. I was offered the job and accepted, but everything was provisional on the US government deciding i wasnt a terrorist, drug dealer, or facist dictator of a third world country travelling to the US for the purpose of acquiring child soldiers (seriously, those were actual questions on the D160 application. it always makes me wonder who actually answers yes?). anyway, i was honest and answered no, and paid my money, and waited for the US dept of labour to give emory permission to employ me, and then i went to sydney and waited in the interminable queue, through security, up into the consulate, waited two hours with everyone else and their screaming children where NO KNITTING WAS ALLOWED (purgatory. utter purgatory), and then went up to the window when my number was called, talked to the nice american lady there for about 2 minutes and 25 seconds, at which point she said ‘well your visa’s been approved, have a nice day’.

three days later, my passport, with this attached,

visa

arrived back in the mail. so now its official. not only am i a legal non-immigrant worker in the united states of america, but i am an assistant professor, tenure track, and the andrew w mellon faculty fellow for nursing and the humanities. i cant even tell you how excited and honoured i am about that. there is still a part of me that cant believe they chose me!

and for no good reason, i didnt quite believe i would get the visa either. but i did, and this makes it real. its actually happening. i have an E3 visa, a special class available only to tertiary qualified australians, valid for 2 years, renewable every 2. i am allowed to arrive in atlanta not more than 10 days before i start work at emory (november 2) and i can come and go then from the US as much as i like.

before then i can only go in and out on my usual 90 day visa waiver, so i leave australia on september 12 for the AAHN conference in dublin and after that i will go in to the US to do my rockefeller archive work in new york, then fly over to stuttgart in germany for another conference, then come back into new jersey to see W & J &  Miss M and go to RHINEBECK!! and then i have scheduled some meetings in montreal in late october, and will go down to atlanta after that. i have also been in indecision land about where to live, but with the help of some of the lovely women i met when i went for my interview, i’ve decided on an apartment in a new complex in the pretty suburb of decatur. the management there have been hugely helpful, and i put my deposit down this week, and i have a 4th floor apartment on hold, overlooking the pool!

i have officially resigned from work here. that was weird. how do you resign from a job you love? what do you write in the letter? what do you say in the email you send to everyone? ive had so much support, so many people telling me they are so happy for me, so excited, will miss me so much. these are the people i value, and i am so lucky to have them, these people are the reason i love my job, that i’ve done so well at it, that make it so hard to leave, that i will miss so much.

i am caught in this space of being so excited and so keen to leave, so busy with so much to do, so annoyed by suit case living but so grateful to have somewhere to stay, and so pleased to be out of my old house. its been a huge effort to get it empty. when you’re moving from one house here to another, you pay someone with a truck to come and do all the heavy lifting for you. but this time, i had to get everything down to about 15 boxes. i decided not to ship furniture. there were only a few things i was attached to, and the shipping quote for a small amount of furniture came in at over $8000US, and that was my entire relocation allowance. so i decided to bite the bullet and just take clothes, work books, and essential personal items. and i was pretty pleased to finally get everything down to these final 13.

shippingman

they go on a boat next week and will arrive in atlanta after me (estimated shipping time is 11 weeks).

shipping

people who follow me on instagram etc have seen this process blow by blow, box by box. everything had to have a home. i sold what i could be bothered selling, gave a whole heap away to charities and friends, and bit the bullet really hard to put 20 something boxes of all my favourite books into storage. thankfully trent and tracey are letting me have some space in their storage unit so i dont have to pay for it. i hired a truck and lots of people came to help and claim things last saturday, which was great, and tuesday i took another truck load of old books and kitchen things to lifeline, and then yesterday i took trents car back to the house

patrol

and did one final tip run,

tiprun

loaded her up again with bits and pieces for here and other friends, vacuumed the house, and finally, it was empty.

empty

i have to go back tomorrow to let the cleaner in, and then the keys go back to the real estate, and i am done. i am exhausted, and will still need to throw a few more boxes in storage or in the mail as i decide what to travel with, but that’s it for me and port kembla. i’m not sorry about that. this week has also been a year since lila died there and i’ve hated it since that day, so there is no love lost. in some ways, lila dying was the catalyst for everything that has happened since. getting her was an attempt to find peace and settle here, and her loss was like the universe telling me to let it go.

the universe has been busy in that department this week again. on monday, another east coast low settled over this part of the world (funny they seem more frequent and more intense, as though the climate is somehow, changing…. ) and monday night a flash flood rose up around this house,  and ran through the area between the house and the garage, actually rising as high as the front step into the main part of the house, and there was a mad flurry of activity as we tried to get everything up off the ground in the garage and then we realised there were cars under water, two in fact, one of the resident teenagers little Golf, and my beloved, precious, love of my life, Subaru Forrester. in the morning, we tried to start her, and water blew out the tail pipe and water filled the cup holder, and the glove compartment, and eventually the tow truck came, and my 12 year old, $45000, 340,000km car was declared dead. she has been towed to salvage in sydney, and an assessor will confirm the mechanic’s suggestion to write her off, and the insurance company may or may not argue with me about the agreed value for pay out. i have had quite a few feelings about this. i didnt plan on getting rid of that car right now. she was my ‘get out of atlanta’ free card, in a way. but the universe has other ideas. of course, i’m one of the lucky ones, able to afford insurance, and with a good insurer who probably wont try to rip me off. but gees. what a week. a good week for ducks, really.

ducks

being busy has had its benefits, you dont get a chance to think or feel much when you’re busy running around like a blue arse fly and then dead tired and sore from running around like a blue arse fly. i have been trying to work as usual, i am still at work after all, and i have assignments to mark and conference papers to write.

working

today was my first chance really to relax, and rather than work, i took myself up the coast a bit to the stanwell tops conference centre, where the nsw knitters guild was having its annual knit camp. i just booked in for the day, and i got to sit outside in the lovely late winter sun and catch up with my favourite people

camp1

and knit a lot, and just breath in the serenity

camp2

and then the lovely lyn who i wont see again before i leave gave me this beautiful gift,

scarf

its a gorgeous soft light white, black and grey scarf using ‘sequence knitting’ and i’ve been admiring it as she knit it, and it is perfect for me in the colours and length and lightness

sequence

and i will wear it everyday as i head into a US winter and be reminded of lyn, and of the amazing friends i have here.

when i was in atlanta, they asked me what i would miss. the first thing i said was ‘the ocean’. to get to and from knit camp, i drove along this gorgeous stretch of coast now serviced by the sea cliff bridge. this morning, it was cold and the surf is still big from the Low, and the waves were way up the cliff face, creating a salty foggy mist rolling up and off the sandstone. it was breathtaking. on the way home, it was warmer and brilliantly sunny, in that way that only australia can do in the winter, and i took this photo looking south from the road that snakes above stanwell park

stanwell

and it took  my breathe away, thinking how much i will miss this. the squawking parrots and cockatoos, the laughing kookaburras, the smell of eucalyptus crisping in the sun, the salt air, the wide open space and big blue sky. as much as i liked atlanta, it isnt this. it isnt what i’m used to, what i’m familiar with, what i’ve grown up with.

i guess this is what i’m balancing – the desire to leave the old and start something new, against the very same fear of leaving the old and starting something new. there is comfort in the familiar, and i know eventually atlanta will feel familiar, it may even feel like home. but it will never be this.

when i got home, i cried. i had a lovely time this afternoon just being with my people. im not good at friends. it takes a lot for me to open up and trust people, and it’s taken a few years since i set out on my own to find my space, to figure out who i could trust, who i could be myself with. i have those people now, and i am so lucky, and i will miss them beyond words.

so its been a bittersweet kind of day, and i can feel the tears behind my eyes, because now its getting real. as excited as i am, as much as i want to do this, how much i cant wait to start this amazing new job, leaving this country and starting over somewhere new, mostly on my own, is a huge prospect. i feel like im on the edge of a cliff contemplating jumping, not strong enough to jump, but about to step off anyway.

wish me luck!

k xx

the rest of my life

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for those of you who follow me on social media, you will already know what’s happened, and seen the pictures to go with it! i do love that about travelling in america, there is free wifi in most public places and its far too easy to regale everyone with the minutae of what im doing on the other side of the world, 14 hours in the past.

as most of you know, i am in the US because i went to atlanta georgia for a job interview at the beautiful Emory University

emoryquad

i arrived on the friday night of the same day i left and promptly had two pieces of my hand luggage left at the curb side by the limo driver, which were recovered, but my wallet was stolen. that was all a bit harsh after 24 hours travelling time, but i dont really care about the wallet. i got my laptop, phone and ipad back, and that was the main thing. cards and money are ephemeral, replaceable. but i was worried about my interview clothes which i had taken in on my carry on, just in case. ironic. i got them back though. maybe that whole debacle worked in my favour, i dont know! i was so well taken care of at Emory, and i loved atlanta from the minute we flew over it. gently rolling hills and trees as far as the eye could see. as hot and humid as it was, it was so green and so shady and so much like ‘home’, somehow.

i got a day to rest

tea

and then i was taken out for brunch by three lovely women, lisamarie, maeve, and elizabeth, for my first taste of atlanta hipster and oh the food! fried chicken, pepper biscuits, gravy, waffles, bacon, crab and scrambled eggs, peaches, oh the peaches.

brunch

not strong on the coffee though, as in no espresso, but they did bring us a plunger (or french press as they like to call them!). i did finally find a decent coffee right near where i was staying, at a fantastic place called the general muir (this was a cubano and oddly for me, no sugar was required)

atlanta coffee

and i had another dinner here with sandy and elena, plus dinner at a professors house, which was just great and i met ken and patty and susan and melissa who were all so completely lovely and made me feel so comfortable.

i was so nervous for my meetings and presentation on monday and it was back to back, non stop, but i met some amazing people across the whole university, not just the school of nursing. i got to meet the director of the centre for ethics, the associate dean of the college of arts and sciences, two professors from history, and a whole heap of lovely people in the school of nursing itself, including some great students and amazing support staff. one of whom is a knitter! there was much excitement when i mentioned i was a knitter and people were like ‘oh amandas a knitter and she has a group that meets once a week’ and that made me happy!

i got driven all over atlanta, which was beautiful, and felt really liveable. and emory itself was incredibly impressive, all these beautiful white marble buildings with the red tiled rooves, and the school of nursing itself is something else… small and intimate and so well resourced.

emory marble

i felt like it went really well, there was one meeting that was too short because i was late from the previous one (not my fault!) and i wasnt sure if i’d impressed the Dean, but i left with a smile on my face, and an assurance that i’d hear something ‘early next week’. i would have to wait till after the 4th of July weekend with everyone being away, so i was very glad to have a most pleasant distraction in the form of a flight up to albany NY where i was met by my favourite americans, W, J and M. we drove across into massachussets, on a road i feel like i know now, and down into the lovely little town of north adams, and back into my little attic room (Ws old bedroom!), and we went to the lake

lake1

and picked berries

berries

and went to the lake

lake again

and had bbq

bbq

and went to the baseball

baseball

and fireworks for 4th of july

fireworks

and we went to the clark institute in williamstown,

clark1

which was beatiful in its setting

clark2

and host to an amazing exhibit on van gogh and nature. and another day we drove up mt greylock in the mist and rain

greylock1

which had completely obscured the beautiful hoosic river valley.

hoosic

we walked a bit of the appalachian trail

trail

as in, as far as we needed to walk to get out of the rain into the hikers lodge and scoff hot chocolate and toasted sandwiches!

lodge

i finished what now feels like my yearly pilgrimage to north adams with a farewell visit to the beautiful windsor lake, again

thelake2

and then i hopped on a train across massachussets to boston.

mass

to cambridge actually, which is where i am right now, in this cute little house

cambridge house

with a nice view from my bedroom

cambridge

and a blissfully cool roof deck

cambridge roof

from here i walk up broadway, or catch the train one stop, up to harvard square, where i get my ice coffee

icecoffee

and maybe stop by the book store

harvardbooks

then walk through the gates of radcliffe institute for advanced study

radcliffe gate

into the beautiful library (the schlesinger)

radcliffe yarb 2

and spend the day hunched over boxes like this

peplau

and have my lunch looking out over the beautiful radcliffe yard.

radcliffe yard

i am looking at the personal papers of hildegard peplau, one of the post-war psychiatric nurses i am studying. i have read her professional papers over at Penn, and these 43 boxes here at radcliffe contain everything else from a life that has been meticulously recorded and catalogued.

i cant get through it all, obviously, so i have confined myself to a focus on her pre war education in psychology at bennington, her war time work in the psychiatric wards at the 312th field hospital in the uk and then her immediate post war work at teachers college columbia university, all of which set the scene for the publication of her first book ‘interpersonal relations in nursing’. already i have started to fill in the gaps and am working through the argument for the paper and book chapter i had about 3/4 finished before i came. it feels good to be looking for particular things in these boxes and finding them, and to know where they will fit in the story. it makes me realise how much work i’ve already done to get to this point.

of course, by now, if you don’t already know, you’re wondering what happened with the job interview. well, to be brief, i got the job. its the Mellon Faculty Fellow for Nursing and the Humanities, Assistant Professor, Tenure Track, so at least a 6-7 year initial appointment within the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and then we will see what happens after that. i cant tell you how this feels. i am still a little disbelieving. really? me? they want me? but i also know why they do, and i always knew they would, i always knew this was my job, the way i heard about it, the criteria, how the lead up interviews progressed, what it felt like to be at emory. everything just felt right. from the moment i got there and met people, i knew i wanted it, i knew it was the right thing to do, and i havent had a moments doubt.

the potential work i might do is so exciting. i will be working with the centre for ethics, the centre for the study of human health, and the college of arts and sciences, to develop collaborative teaching and research projects aimed at bringing the humanities into nursing, and bringing nursing out into the broader university community. the vision that they have for this work at emory is so exciting, because as committed as they are to nursing science, they also conceive as nursing as a social science, and my belief that nurses can and should be agents of social change i think really resonated with them. i feel like here i will be able to do the work i believe in with the active support of a school and faculty rather than having to argue with scientists in my home faculty about why history matters, and why it might be useful to address the social determinants of health as much as giving the same people squillions of dollars to keep experimenting on rats.

also, emory has an overt and active commitment to social justice and health disparities, and i felt like this was real, not just the lip service that i am used to in australian universities. people are quick to point the finger at america, and the south, for its obvious social and racist problems, but those people are less than quick to point to the way these play out in australia. glass houses and all that. during my 3 days at emory we had many open and honest conversations about these issues and how i might work with people to develop projects that would address them head on, rather than continue to sideline and marginalise like we do in australia. so its an exciting prospect, to be able to address all these issues in such a supportive environment.

so now i have to get home next week and sort out the visa (emory will sponsor my application for an E3 visa so there shouldnt be too many problems) and organise shipping and a whole heap of stuff, and it kept me awake last night worrying, but i just need to breathe and have faith that it will all work out, just tackle one thing at a time.

it is a strange feeling too to be so excited but at the same time to be sad to be leaving a job i love. i have been very lucky at UOW, i have such great colleagues, have been so well supported, have learnt so much, and i feel a little guilty, as if i am abandoning them! but i have to do it. i dont have any doubts its the right thing to do.

and i have no such qualms about leaving australia. i have no real family ties apart from my sister who is busy with her life in brisbane. i dont get to see her enough now, so i hope we can use this as a chance for new adventures and reasons to visit the US. my parents (who are they again!?) cant be bothered staying in touch, so i cant say im sorry to leave that behind. but i will miss some of my friends, some i will miss very much. and the dogs. i am leaving possum behind because its not fair to bring her all this way when she’s old and i will be unsettled and living in an apartment when she’s used to the open air and the beach and the space. her welfare is more important than my emotional need. and you know, there are plenty of dogs in atlanta that need rescuing.

and i am finding things a lot easier here this time. its only a short trip, and i know i am busy, and also, i am at HARVARD!! but i feel like america is familiar to me now, i understand how things work, the way people talk to or look at each other. and i am reassured by how lovely people in atlanta were, i know i will have good friends in no time.

in some ways, being a knitter is such a huge bonus in that regard. most of my best friends now i have met through knitting, there is something about this weird thing you do with sticks and strings that brings people together. for instance, this morning (its saturday here), nicely enabled by jane, i put my new walking shoes on and headed around the corner and up broadway. i didnt have far to go to find this place:

gather here

and inside one of these beautiful yarn stores that the US does so well.

gather inside

with lots of knitters gathered around a table, and friendly invitations to join, and beautiful yarn to buy. which i did.

yarn

followed by a great coffee from right next door

cambridge coffee

and then i wandered up the road through this park

library parkto the beautiful cambridge public library

cambridge library outside

where they were kind enough to let me print some pages for free.

cambridge library inside

i am going on a boat trip tomorrow, from boston harbour out into the ocean and up the coast a little to salem.

i feel the need to get out of the city, boston itself leaves me a bit cold. harvard is pretty but such a tourist trap as well, not like UPenn which is just about the students. its weird to be trying to get to the archives dodging people with maps and cameras! but i can see why. its is soaked in history, and really spectacular to look at.

i’m glad i have another week, and will get more photos of harvard proper and harvard yard, and then when my brain is bursting with information, i will head home to start organising the rest of my life.

who said dreams dont come true? they do, if you work hard enough at them.

k xx

l’anniversaire

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for a historian i am pretty bad with dates. i never can remember if it was the french or the american revolution that happened in 1778 for example, and i could have sworn the magna carta was 600 hundred years old, but its 800 apparently. lucky for me im not THAT kind of historian, the gradgrind kind (facts alone are wanted in life!). im a thompsonion, i really only care about the losers.

but there are some dates that stick in my mind. certain peoples birthdays. and tomorrow. june 20. june 20 2012 to be precise. i remember it because it is burned into my brain. and because i was in new york the day after and i bought a paper, just to remind me. ive kept the paper, and the memories havent faded, even though the paper has.

nyt

ah, baltimore. how lovely you were🙂 it hasnt all been smooth sailing since then, and there were times i despaired, times i thought i should just let it all go. but i didnt, because im not like that, and im very glad that the person who walked into the lift that day is still in my life. and in some ways he is responsible for the huge changes i am currently contemplating.

three years after i made my first public appearance at an academic nursing conference in baltimore, i am about to fly to atlanta georgia for the final stage of a recruiting process for an amazing job. i wasnt actively looking to leave the one i have, because it’s a great job and i love it. but since baltimore, things have tended to land me more and more frequently in the US. i’ve had a fellowship at Penn, i’ve got rockefeller funding, i’ve got american association for the history of nursing funding, i’m researching american nurses, i have a book deal with springer and amazing american co-authors, i have good friends and a surrogate family in the US. and my heart belongs to an american man.

as my friend W said, ‘you need to pay attention to the things that keep bringing you back here’. so when this job advert found its way into my inbox, i had to apply. its an endowed, tenure track position, and it would really be my dream job. i do a lot of it here now, but i struggle against a tide of scientism in my faculty and university that really doesnt see the use or value of humanities for the health sciences. this job is designed explictly to make that link. this job has my name written all over it. everyone thinks so. i had to apply.

so i’ve been through two skype interviews, and now i am being flown over for two days of interviews and meetings. i have to give a long presentation about my research pathway, and i am busy writing that now. i am excited and terrified beyond measure. there is no guarantee that the job is mine, so i am bit nervous writing about it for fear of jinxing, but i am going to give it my very best shot. when i think about what i will miss if im succesful and move to the US, this one for instance

princess

i get pangs, and i worry about home sickness, but i want it anyway. i want it because i want more out of my life than to settle, to take the easy path. i want to keep pushing myself, break through my fear and self doubt, be the person i imagined when i was a little kid and dreamed about big old libraries and piles of dusty books. my whole life, through all the detours, that’s what ive wanted more than anything, to have a life of the mind, of intellectual meaning, to make some kind of contribution to the way we think about and understand the world. i’ve always come back to that, and i feel like it’s only just beginning.

one of the most exciting aspects of my dreams coming true is that i get the chance to do amazing research at amazing places. after some discussion with my current boss, we agreed that i should take this opportunity to spend a couple of extra weeks in the US after the interview and do the work i’ve been funded for at harvard. the schlesinger library at radcliffe is home to all of one of my nurses personal papers, and i have managed to wrangle two weeks in boston in july.

harvard

and in between i get to go back to one of my favourite places in the whole entire world and spend 4th of july with W and J and Miss M on the shores of windsor lake.

seriously. how amazing is my life? i really cant believe it. if you had told me 20 years ago it would be like this i would have scoffed and gone back to sulking in my little cave. now i feel like this is just the start. i cant stop smiling. no matter what happens in atlanta, i know where i want to be now, where my heart is, and i will keep doing whatever i need to do to get there.

in the meantime, i am trying to keep calm, and not always succeeding, and the knitting has suffered a little. i cant seem to focus on complex patterns,

mitts

or even non complex ones,

stones

so i tend to fall back on endless stocking stitch.

dresden

i am not sure about this one, its the dresden cardigan in loft, and my selvedge is messy and my seed stitch uneven. i’m tempted to rip and start something else, but when you cast on 350 stitches, that hurts. persevere?

i have managed to finish a couple of things – plain socks for trent’s birthday

trentsox

because even though he’s my ex, he still has and looks after all the knitted socks i’ve ever made him, and you cant not respect that.

i also made this for my sister

cowl

its the honey cowl in some new zealand possum merino, because she is meant to be coming down when i get back from atlanta, and she asked, and i’ve never knit her anything. it was a little tricky in the black but i think it will come up great after the bath it’s about to have.

i am back mostly on socks though, these are my patriot socks,

patriot

so named because its french yarn, in french colours, and american colours (dont mention that effing union jack to me), and i got the yarn at vogue knitting live in new york city earlier this year.

and the historian in me likes my knitting to remind me of things, to signify important moments in my life, and that trip to new york was pretty amazing for other reasons also related to baltimore (cough waldorf cough) and so, things come full circle.

the question now is what knitting to take for long flights, and hot american weather, and a scattered brain that cant think much past the next ten days and the potential huge life change im contemplating.

i’ll let you know how that turns out!

k xx

pacing

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i am spending a lot of my time at the moment literally pacing. i find myself walking aimlessly around the house, running my fingers over the spines of books, picking up things, putting them back down. sometimes i stand at the back door and look out over the deck, watch the cars swish past, the birds flit around the trees, wonder if i am ready to let this all go. i still dont know what’s happening in relation to my immediate future, but suffice it to say i have a very important skype happening on monday june 1. i will know more after that. but to say i am a jittering bundle of nerves is putting it mildly. it is a very difficult place to be in, contemplating one reality, living another, trying to prepare for both. i will be glad when it’s decided, one way or the other.

in the meantime, i am trying to stay focused on this reality. i have lots of work to do but i took some time out this weekend to head down to the nation’s capital, Canberra, for the annual festival of fibre at the old bus depot markets. i havent been for a couple of years, and god knows i dont need any more yarn, but i did really need to get out of town, and i really needed to have some fun, to be around people.

so i was very happy to have a little go get car pull up in my driveway saturday morning containing pru and fiona, and off we set on our little knitters road trip.

goget

we wound our way up onto the southern highlands, stopping at burrawang for lunch in the pub

pub

and then meandering down the federal highway

poplars

past the usual lake george with no water

lakegeorge

which prompted the inevitable discussion about when was the last time anyone had seen water in it, actually, and the irony of it being home to the canberra sailing club at one point.

i do love that moment when you hit the crest of the highway and see canberra’s rolling hills and black mountain tower appear, i always think how strange it is to see this ‘city’ emerge out of the pure countryside to claim national capital status.

blackmountain

we bypassed the usual sights to head straight to the leafy suburb we were staying in, which also happens to have a yarn store.

woolshed

there might have been pre-market purchases here, i cant really remember. there was coffee and cake next door before we checked into our apartment, and later that night we met up with margarita and lyn for drinks before dinner.

drinkies

i talked margarita into trying a virgin mojito with me but i think she was unconvinced. then we met sue and rob for dinner at abell’s kopi tam malaysian restaurant, where we ordered everything off the specials board, including these beautiful stuffed zucchini flowers

flowers

and spicy sticky pork ribs and chili garlic seafood and a green duck curry and the most amazing beef rendang with roti. it really was all spectacular, especially the finishing touch, a toasted coconut and pandan pancake.

pandan

delicious. we rolled back to our apartment and into bed, and then set off again early in the morning for more canberra hipster food

mrsjones

and drinks, in jars, of course,

hipster

then we hit the markets.

shopping

i dont think there was many yarn vendors as usual and probably only three of any real note for me, but i did get what i wanted

haul

some gorgeous red and black alpaca from glenora weaving, some lovely blue and grey sparkly sock yarn and some delicious grey merino/silk from fibrewebs, and a surprise, 800 metres of unbelievably soft alpaca/silk/cashmere from some unknown stall in a beautiful natural creamy grey.

packysilk

we didnt stay for long, it can get overwhelming there once it gets busy, so we were out by lunch time and back on the road. we stopped at goulburn for lunch with the obligatory tourist shots

bigsheep

(really, who does this? who builds a massive concrete merino in the middle of nowhere?!) and then i drove the rest of the way home. we stopped at moss vale, because we had spotted this little shop on the way down: made by others. it was well worth the stop and i picked up a few little things to send to the US as care packages for my lovely new jersey friend who has lost a family member this week.

package

i have been very sad for her, and sad not to be with her and her family who have been like family to me, and sending emails and little gifts seems like not nearly enough. the distance between where my heart is and where my body is is very difficult at times.

but the weekend away helped. it was so great to spend time talking and laughing and eating with clever, supportive, women. it really was one of the best knitting weekends away i’ve ever had, and reminds me how lucky i have been to make some great friends through knitting.

i woke up a bit unwell on monday, so i’ve been home for 2 days. when i could get off the couch i decided to rationalise some knitting projects, and ripped two that i was not feeling the love for, the linebreak shawl in the gorgeous shibui staccato

shibuirip

(great yarn, wrong pattern) and the hap for harriet in the beautiful red koigu lace

koigurip

i’ve had some misgivings since i started and also there was a mistake at the beginning and im not the sort of knitter anymore who can live with mistakes, so it’s gone back into hibernation until i can think of something else.

today i wound up one each of the alpacas

cakes

the red and the black are for a set of hat and mitts each first off (with enough left to join the second skeins for scarves perhaps) and the cream became something i started ages ago in madtosh lace but ripped as well, nancy bush’s stones and stripes from wool people.

stones

straight away i knew it was perfect. the yarn is like cream in my hands, and this will do just nicely for another US winter.

finally today i have gotten back to work – i had some good news last week when i was awarded another grant, this one from the American Association for the History of Nursing for a project looking at minority mental health and nursing in the US, which means if i am not in atlanta i can extend my planned archive trip from september into january. that will mean archives at harvard, the rockefellers, back at Penn, and then at the National Library of Medicine and National Archives in DC.

we have had our edited book proposal accepted by springer and have started work on that, and now i have been invited to submit a monograph proposal to a series on critical nursing history for johns hopkins university press and i have been working hard on that this afternoon

writing

1000 actual new words written already. we will see what happens with that. i sent my atlanta application to my book editing colleagues in the US so we can do a practice skype interview later this week and one of them wrote back and said ‘OMG kylie when do you sleep?”. i think that was generous, but it did make me think that maybe there’s a reason why im not sleeping at the moment.

maybe there’s a couple. maybe i just have to reconcile myself to pacing in the middle of the night for a little while yet. i could always get up and knit!

k xx

limbo

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once upon a time, i thought i wanted nothing more than to be settled. i worked hard and i took my opportunities when they came, and i thought settled happened about 2 and a half years ago when i started working in my current workplace and i grabbed hold of my dream job.

but then i went to baltimore, and i knew nothing would be the same after that. i remember so distinctly sitting on the plane, watching new york city slip away underneath me, thinking i could not possibly be leaving, that i needed to stay, thinking that everything had changed somehow. and it has.

it’s not exactly straightforward. it hasnt been a direct line from there to here. it’s been fraught and disrupted and at times full of heart ache. but it’s also been full of immeasurable joy. and i am not quite at the ‘here’ yet. there is still a ways to go on this journey, and so i am in limbo again.

but i am here of my own making. i could chose not to be. i could ignore all the signs the universe keeps sending me about what direction i need to go in (north north always north). i didnt actually need to keep applying for money to travel to archives in the US (but i did). i could have been unsuccessful in those applications (but i wasnt). i could have ignored my heart (but i never could do that). and i definitely could have hit the delete button on the email that came my way about 6 weeks ago with the message ‘you need to apply for this job’. this job which happens to be in atlanta, georgia, USA. i could have NOT applied for that job. in fact, the whole time i was writing my application i was thinking ‘you can not be serious, there is no way you are going to be even in the running for this what are you doing this is so out of your league’.

but i did it anyway. and i did it because i want it. i have made that decision, that i dont want to spend the rest of my days here in this country, that i want to be somewhere else, and that i need to pay attention to the things that keep happening to take me across the sea. so this week i took the first step in making that a reality.

skype

yesterday i had a really great conversation with someone and in a week i will know if that conversation was enough to get me to step two. i have a ‘feeling’ about this, but there is a lot beyond my control. so now i just wait again, and if step two happens, well i will worry about that then.

in the meantime i am trying to hold it together. some days are better than others. some days i am a nervous wreck, holding my breath, not eating properly, not sleeping. some days my hands shake and i cant concentrate. the thought of the huge risk i am taking, the leap i am trying to make, am i brave enough, strong enough, smart enough?

and then somedays i just breathe and think its not my decision to make. i try and hand my life over to whatever the grand plan is, and have faith that everything happens for a reason. those days i try and keep busy, stay focussed on this life i still need to live day by day. i have so much work to do, papers to write, grants still to apply for, a book proposal to finalise

files

i have students to talk to, and papers to grade, and dogs to look after, and friends to see, and knitting to try and keep me sane.

on that front, i am not capable of anything complicated at the moment. i finally finished this beautiful thing that i started in philadelphia

trillian1

in colours that are so totally not my usual (pink!) but were the perfect antidote to those short grey winter days

trillian2

and now i think its just perfect and will make a nice splash of colour in all the black i tend to wear here in our not so cold grey winters.

sparkleon

in keeping with the simple, and working in colours i like, i started a Hap for Harriet

hap1

in the beautiful Koigu lace i got in new york city earlier this year. this is a perfect pattern for right now, garter stitch with a little lace edge that i can memorise

hap2

and i have finally put the ton of grey loft and the pattern that sue gifted me to work, starting on another endless cardigan that might be ready for another northern christmas.

dresden1

if that’s how things pan out. if it does, then everything in my life will change. the job in atlanta is just one piece of the puzzle that is still working itself out. when i think about what that job might mean, and not just for me, i get a little bit dizzy. but that too is beyond my control. all i can do is pay attention to the signs, take the chances when they come, and accept what happens after that.

at the moment, i am living in limbo. again. anyone would think i liked it here!

k xx

back in the red

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so life has returned to its usual mid semester chaos, but still everything has changed. i have stuff happening that has me in a very weird state of limbo, waiting but not standing still, because there is no standing still. i cant really say whats happening but its good and if it comes off i will be a very happy person. in the meantime, i have to keep moving in this life i have here, putting one foot in front of the other, trying not to think about what might be, trying to remember to deal with what is. even so, i feel a lot like a jumpy cat on a windy day. emotions running high, all that stuff. i tell myself to breath, just breath. whatever happens, you still need to breathe!

summer is on its last legs and i’ve tried to get out and enjoy it a bit.

portbeach

my plan worked and being in the northern hemisphere for 3 months helped me avoid the worst of the heat here. but there have been a few warm days. that means a few nice walks on the beach with the dog

miles

and gathering with friends for lunch by the sea

northbeach

its been good to see a bit more of people,

knitting

im finding it harder than usual to just be at home and relax. i have so much work to do, so i feel like i should be working all the time, but no one can do that.

redfiles

but relaxing is hard. people are good at the moment, they soak up some of my agitation.

meandfee

and there has been knitting. that helps too. ive got itchy fingers, because i have all this beautiful red koigu lace i got in new york city

koigu

and its begging to be something long and drapey that wraps around my shoulders, but i am completely incapable of lace work at the moment. i’ve got a few options and am leaning towards this. luckily ravelry makes a good distraction. im open to suggestions!

i finally finished some socks, these straycat self striping.

stripeson

i like the effect, it is very well dyed yarn, and they do fit and look great. but i like my sock yarn with a little more spring and twist. we will see how they come up once they’re dry.

stripes

and i am quite keen to start some new socks with this gorgeous also self striping biscotte & cie yarn i got at vogue knitting live in new york.

cake

i wound it up today in between opening a new module on my moodle site and submitting an ethics application.

morefiles

i saw this knitted up on the stall at VK and it’s pretty amazing. plain stripy socks seem to be about what my brain can manage ight now.

as does garter stitch. i am onto the second skein of this amazing three irish girls ‘bitch stole my look’ yarn (the pattern is trillian)

trillian2

and i am trying to be disciplined and finish this before i start the koigu in red.

and then i need to work on dresden, the cardigan, for which i have a tonne of loft in soot.

dresden

but no more grey right now. i cant quite face it. i need colour and life and something fun to look at it. so i am sticking with the red.

i have two more crazy days at work and then we are on a 4 day weekend for easter, with uni in recess the week after (not that that helps as i have plenty of work to do). but i will try really hard to have the 4 days off and catch up with friends and walk in the sun and do some baking (i have passover aspirations, like an orange and almond cake) and maybe finish the trillian and binge watch tv.

and remember to breathe.

kxx

re-entry redux [or how i fell in love with hong kong]

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i have been back from hong kong for a week now, and the re-entry has been difficult all over again. getting there, getting back, the experience of being there, was completely exhausting. the first couple of days i hated being back here with a complete and utter passion. i felt like a child, wanting to throw myself on the bed and have a tantrum. partly this was because i totally fell in love with hong kong. and partly because so much travel lately, so many experiences, just reinforced how quiet and slow and yes, boring, it is here. sure, wollongong’s a great place if you have a family and want to raise kids, and hang out at the beach all day. otherwise? get me out of here. so im working on that.

in the meantime, i have been flicking through my photos of hong kong, and i am reminded of spectacular it was, in its diversity and extremes and stark living conditions and astonishing natural beauty. it really was a huge surpise. and yes, i was there for work and we all worked really hard (we were working with 80 masters students and we taught from 6-10pm every night, and all day saturday and sunday) but i cant post those photos. so instead you’re going to see hong kong as i saw it, foggy and crowded and bright and startling.

i arrived at 11pm at night, and was grateful for my big comfy bed

hotel

but we actually arrived a whole day earlier than we should have because of problems with getting flights. so we got to spend that whole day mostly on the water, which was what i most wanted to do. we were staying on nathan road on kowloon, which is the main drag that runs up that part of hong kong, and walking a few minutes to the end of it bought us to the star ferry and a quick trip across kowloon bay to hong kong island itself

kowloonbayfrom there we caught another boat and made our way across the busy waterways, crowded with big boats being unloaded without even docking

loader

to tiny little fishing boats

fishing

and it was brilliant to feel the salt air in my face

boat

as we came around to lamma island.

lamma

what a beautiful place – and so unusual! there are no cars here (and no real roads to drive them on) so everyone has a bike (or trolleys, or little quad motorbikes with trailers attached for moving things around). the line of bikes on the pier was beautiful, as was the remains of new years decorations

lammapier

we wandered around the sea front here and stopped at a seafood place for lunch, which was the first of many spectacular meals

lammafood

and then we walked through the shops and winding concrete paths set back from the sea wall, past temples (with huge hanging incense spirals)

temple

there was a surprising amount of young people and ‘western influence’ like a cupcake shop, a home made craft etsy type shop, an organic supermarket and a gorgeous little hipster cafe

hipster

and some evidence of actual services like a post office and this nurse-led one-stop clinic

clinic

we got a bit lost and wandered through peoples front yards – there seemed to be no formal arrangement of streets, just paths winding through small rise (two or three story) apartment blocks, and then the concrete path started to wind up and over the island, through the trees

green

passing through many little ‘villages’, with shops and cafes and road side stalls

stall

and beautiful art work

graffiti

until we suddenly emerged here

lammabeach

it took my breath away, this photo doesnt do justice to the sparkling, sharp sand (not really sand, more like crushed shells), the way the islands wound away into the distance, the salt water haze, the beautiful crystal clear water of the south china sea

water

i took my shoes off and got in, i would easily have gone for a swim if i’d been prepared. my colleagues watched me from under the trees and laughed at my child like pleasure, but i had never expected to find this here, i dont know why, i just had no idea. we sat for a while at a beautiful little inn and restaurant on the beach front

drinkies

and then i washed my feet and put my shoes back on and we wandered back to where we had arrived and waited for the boat as the sun set over lamma island

lammabay

we came back around to hong kong island as the lights were coming on – it is so hard to convey the stark beauty of these huge high rises clinging to the edge of this tiny island, the peak lost behind them in mist.

hkisland

we braved the peak hour underground rail to get back across to kowloon, it was busier and more crowded and more insane than the busiest NYC subway at that time. i was gobsmacked but it was fun. and then that night i went for a swim in the hotel pool:

pool

teaching started the next day which meant walking a few blocks down nathan rd

nathanrdsunday

and then after work that night we went to temple st markets, which was my first experience of market haggling (i did buy a fake mulberry bag and some cool tshirts).

nightmarkets

there might have been a bit more shopping, but it’s probably best i dont talk about that!

fancy

and there was a lot of fantastic food. we all went out one night to ‘above and beyond’ on the top floor of the icon hotel, where we had an amazing table overlooking kowloon bay towards the island, all lit up

HKView

and we had peking duck, among other things

duck

which oscar expertly carved for us

oscar

and then on monday the staff from the college took us out for dim sum (or yum cha) lunch at another amazing place, where we had roast goose, duck egg custard buns, and an unusual red bean and sticky rice cake (a new year special, which was delicious).

morefood

we also had some time to take a bus ride around the island to stanley village, where there is a beach and some markets, and we sat right up the top and front of the double decker bus which was a bit like sitting on a roller coaster

bus

as we careened through crazy hong kong traffic, and tiny roads clinging to the side of the island winding past deep water and repulse bay

repulse1

stanley was lovely, really great markets

stanleymarkets

where i bought some lovely hand made earrings and spent a small fortune on beautiful linen (i know, i went to hong kong and bought linen….) and another lovely waterfront lunch

stanley

and then we took the bus a different way, so we got to see a different coast line

islandroads

and the amazing high rise apartments, through aberdeen and down connaught rd,

connaughtrd

and then under the bay in the tunnel back to kowloon. i loved these two day trips, seeing how people actually live in hong kong, getting to talk to locals. i try to do that wherever i go, try and do what the natives do, so one night after teaching, walking up nathan rd by myself

nightimenathanrd

i stopped at a little street food cart that we had passed every day, and it always smelt amazing, but i had no idea what she was cooking. all the signs were in cantonese, and i saw people buying sweet waffles, and savoury soups in a styrofoam cups

streetfood

i pointed at the waffles and she took my $18 hong kong dollars, and i was happy

waffle

there were lots of other things. the turtles and winding fig trees in kowloon park, the manicures and pedicures and breath taking massage, the custard cream puffs, dodging the indians flogging fake watches, fake bags and tailored clothes on nathan rd. the shopping – shoes, bags, the cheap cosmetics. all amazing.

and then there was the teaching. i cant even explain how great it was. extremely challenging, and so new for me, so many things i had to adapt to, change on the spot, a different way of relating to students, trying to be myself and thinking whether that was culturally appropriate, working with a new team, technology, language. on the last day my students congratulated me on my pronunciation of Sun Lin Fai Lok (happy new year) and then wanted to take photos with me, and i think that’s a good sign.

yesterday i finally managed to get back to knitting guild in sydney

knitting

and it was great to spend time with some of the people i love, but i also realised how much has changed. nothing ever stays the same. i realised im not scared of that anymore, that i welcome it. the last few months have been overwhelming. so much has happened, and so much is still happening. i feel like a lot of confusion and uncertainty has been swept aside, and there is a clear path ahead of me now. i know where i want to be, what i want to achieve, and it’s personal as much as professional. and finally, i feel like it’s possible. there are some exciting times ahead and i am grateful, yet again, for my superfantastic life.

k xx

re-entry

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so i have been home for a week and it’s been a bit brutal. a twittter friend called it a re-entry and that’s exactly how i feel, like i’ve been jettisoned from a space station in a tiny capsule, sent plummeting through the scorching atmosphere, flames raging around me, and dumped in the middle of an unfamiliar swamp where i need to learn to walk again.

the swamp, of course, is not unfamiliar, but it is, nonetheless, a swamp. it is hot and humid and then raining and steaming. the day i wanted to go to the beach two cyclones were forming over queensland and they were sending “weather” all down the east coast

coast

it is beautiful like this, and i do like the smell of the heavy salt air and the feeling of openness this kind of view gives. and that i only live a few minutes from here. but the disconnect is serious. and real. i am an alien in my own world. everything annoys me. i am back to feeling how i felt when i came back last time and lila was killed – i hate my house, i hate this suburb, i hate the small town, i hate the rude people, the bad drivers, the bogan, the politics, the racism, the small mindedness, the water pressure in my shower.

yeah you get the idea. it could be streets paved with gold and i’d hate it, mostly because it is not where i want to be. but at least i know that now. before, i was experimenting. dipping my toes into the north american water, can i take the heat, so to speak, or the cold (oh the snow goddamn i miss the snow). can i take the weird food and the strange customs and the driving on the wrong side of the road? before i left someone said they were sad i was leaving, not just for them but because i am happy there. i am happy there. i cant even really tell you why, just that it makes me happy. and ‘home’ right now, doesnt.

i’m sure it will shift as i readjust. i’m my own worst enemy really, i come home and then have to leave again, to go teach in hong kong, and so in some ways the ordinary small town life becomes increasingly mundane. the flowers are pretty

frangipani

and my dogs are gorgeous

floor

and there are people i love, very much, but it’s not enough anymore. i need to find my purpose. every time i am in the US, i feel like i am closer to it.

obviously a big part of that is the work, because there i am not explaining or justifying. i don’t mean american universities are perfect, far from it, and the everyday realities of academic life are the same all over. but i feel like i am closer to understanding something important when i am there. it’s harder to hang on to that here.

there are other reasons i want to go back, obviously, but it’s not as simple as home being where the heart is either. the difference is this – when i fly into new york now, i feel a sigh of relief, like i am home, this is where i belong. when i flew into sydney a week ago, i was just glad to get off the plane.

flying

i dont know when that shifted. i cant even really explain why.

maybe its as simple as the chance to start over. to get loose of all the memories and all the history, and make myself in a new way. when i got home, my ex partner and best friend told me he was getting married to his new partner. i am really happy for them, and have no real sense of loss for myself in that. i really like his partner, and we get along well, and they have made a huge effort to welcome me into their family.

but it’s another sign. its another message to me from the universe to keep moving, just keep moving kylie, don’t settle, you aren’t finished yet.

so i’m going to get a bit more pro-active about doing what i need to make a move more permanently. i feel excited and purposeful when i say that, that what i once thought was ridiculous is a real possibility. and also, why not? what’s holding me here, really?

so i’m back to treading water for a while again. im looking forward to teaching in hong kong, and then i have a busy semester when i get back, and then i will be back to the US again from september, which is not so far away at all. so i just need to keep my eyes up, keep my head up, keep looking forward, one foot in front of the other, out of the swamp.

k xx

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