Archive for December, 2006

Border reflections

As I slowly approach the end of my Master’s and I face the overwhelming agony of Ph.D applications I’m facing yet another border crossing. I’m more in between than before.

I seem to exist on the edges of any potential peer groups. I am in the age group of some junior faculty (give or take a few years) but of course, I still bear the student albatross around my neck.

I am in the age group of some fellow graduate students but my preference for books over beer sometimes seems to put me at the margins.

My students this past semester were also peers but the reality of my being the grade-granting power set boundaries there.

I will soon have the street cred (ivory tower cred?) of another degree but I still don’t have the password to the clubhouse.

I feel like my transitions should take place in the dark. My passing to a new space should take place in silence, secretly, before somebody realizes that I don’t belong; before somebody realizes I’m not white, I’m not 18, not rich, not entitled.

I’m not even a good quiet little latina. A little too loud, a little too bright, too rude, too sassy, too bilingual, too ethnic, a little too wondering what the fuck I’m thinking of applying to go off and get another degree. Calladita before someone realizes I’ve crossed yet another border.

I’ve wandered, yet again into the uncomfortable territory of uncertainty.

And, of course, I love that.

So, if I seem quieter than usual lately, more pensive, a little hesitant, a bit shy… you know why now. I’m crossing. Poco a poco I’m shifting like a bizarre kaleidescope colors flashing, fading, rearranging. New patterns. Quietly slipping past… Silencio…

Silencio, que están durmiendo
los nardos y las azucenas.
No quiero que sepan mis penas,
Porque si me ven llorando morirán.

Pie Crust

First a disclaimer, I’ve not slept enough to really have social filters up. This applies to blogging as well as hallway conversations. You know the commercials with the beer drunk frat boy hugging people and slopping “I love you man”s all over. That’s my emotional state. Ranging from that to the potential sociopath.

I put the grrr in swinger today and not in the fun way.

And furthermore, I had pie crust for breakfast. It was in the freezer waiting to be turned into pie, but it turned into breakfast. Yum!

So, that being said. I have finally completed for the editor the Hitchcock paper I’ve procrastinated about revising for way too long. I’m actually excited about the final product, Spellbound Doors: Surrealism, Psychoanalysis and Sexuality, we’ll see what he says.

I am always surprised at how satisfying really long footnotes can be to write. 🙂

Now I’m at work on the longer paper,
Reden ist Silber, Schweigen ist Gold: Foreign Language as Silence in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Topaz which I’d dropped a bit this semester.

Two things are on my mind today. One being that seriously, I love what I do. I love writing. I love reading. I love thinking. I love teaching. I love analyzing. I love research. I have the funnest occupation in the world (yes, gente that was deliberate. I always see asses twitch when I say things like FUNNEST!).

And, not unrelated,
I am sometimes reminded of how fortunate I am to have people who love and support me, even though I’m in total nerd mode, even though I don’t get out much these days, even though I don’t feel like I’ve been a very good friend. There are always people around to remind me that it doesn’t matter. That is hard to believe but most welcome. I needed the reminder and I’m grateful for it.

Finals Period: Lacy days

As Graduate Students we are faced with so many difficult decisions as part of our advancement toward the coveted degree: plan of study, which area to focus on, what to write our Thesis on, who to have on our committees, where to apply for our Ph.Ds. Is it worth it to take out one more student loan? Do I grade my students’ papers so I can be a responsable teacher or write my own paper so I can be a responsable paper. To sleep or not to sleep?

But today I’ve had to face one of the truly difficult decisions in a Grad Student’s life.

End of semester crisis:

Do I Shave my legs, Iron something, or do Laundry?

Because I HAVE TO go out in publicand look respectable, otherwise I’d be set with boxer shorts and holy t-shirts, this is an important discussion.

To northern dwellers the shaving legs thing may seem discordant,after all who shaves their legs during winter? One disadvantage of warm beach weather is that you can’t throw tights on and call it good.

Another wardrobe problem is that we take our air conditioning seriously in the tropics. If the windows aren’t frosted the AC must be busted. I spend much of my time in office or the library where I have a study carrel (my box) where layers are required to keep hypothermia at bay.

While the boxers and shirt are still tempting I actually trying digging through the CLEAN laundry (piled conveniently on the ironing board, there’s method to the madness, really there is) and I found a treasure!

I found the jeans I keep meaning to donate because they are big on me now. So, not only do I not have to do laundry
which involves putting it out on the line to dry and WAITING,
not have to iron
which involves moving all the CLEAN clothes off the ironing board and pissing the cats off,
not have to shave,
which involves showering with my eyes OPEN, a most inconvenient arrangement right now. . .

I even get a bonus self-image boost!

The jeans make me feel good and encourage me to ignore the couple of pounds I’ve gained thanks to the chocolate inducing combination of hormones and finals period. Yay!

I’m even wearing the sexy underwear because, well, it’s uncomfortable and so it’s clean. I think I remember reading somewhere that the lacy chaffe improves concentration.

I sure am looking forward to a break!

Anticlimactic pseudo-not-quite-endings

Today I taught what will probably be my last class at this University. I may get a chance to substitute next semester but other than that I won’t be teaching, I’ll be Research Assistant (RA) to several projects but I won’t be in the classroom.

This was, honestly, one of my worst teaching semesters ever. And, if you don’t know me, I should tell you: I LOVE teaching and am usually pretty damn good at it. I’m not one of the wankers who walks around whining about students and hating their job.

The problems this semester were mostly out of my control and I was unable to overcome the myriad interuptions (we lost 18 hours due to Saturday power outages and were unable to make up lost time, including going three weeks without a meeting). I lost over half of my class due to miscommunications between the department, the office for international students and the registrar and I was never able to get morale back up. Ah well.

I taught, we learned, we laughed. It’s over. It feels odd though. Mostly I’m glad to be done with a flop of a semester. I’m glad to have learned as much as I did. I know some more cool people now becaused my students were all really interesting. They always are.

The class ended with a portrait of me: two of my students are married and are parents of a kid who came to class with them. He drew a picture of me on the board, then one of himself. We each posed next to our pictures for dad to take a photo. Cool. A nice ending to a strained semester.

And, I also took my last class last week. I still have a project due and a final exam to take but I’m done with
Psycholinguistics. The ending was irritating and felt more disorganized than momentous. Nonetheless it’s over.

I don’t remember a time in my life where I’ve been more accutely aware of transitions. I am sure part of it is due to my hours spent with my ph.d applications and GRE study guides. I am busy trying to find new ways to describe my goals, my interests, my knowledge, and my hopes.

My fears I keep mostly to myself.