I signed my offer letter today to work as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Teaching and Learning. Specifically, I’ll be working with a group to develop resources for graduate student instructors, like workshops and web content.
While I really enjoy teaching German at the university level, and part of me is sad to not teach the whole lower division curriculum, I think moving to this office makes sense for my long term goals.
It looks like the decision will not be reversed.
Doesn’t matter. We should still fight it. Continue reading
I’m finishing out my first year as a PhD student in Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas at Austin. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I’ve come to realize that my grad school experience in the US is actually a lot like roller derby. I’ll briefly explain and let my alter ego, Culture Shock Her, illustrate.
Photo: Lisa Ahrens Continue reading
Elmar went to Germany for two weeks without me.
I like it when he’s away. It means I can:
- clean the house and have it stay clean,
- jog or do yoga in the mornings,
- be a workaholic without feeling guilty, and
- catch up on phone calls to old friends.
But the best part about Elmar traveling without me is when he comes back. See you soon!
As an undergrad, I played bass drum in the Boston University Marching and Pep Bands. In the spring, on Patriot’s Day, we played at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. What an inspiring event! I loved cheering for the runners with costumes or signs to raise awareness for a cause. Sometimes someone looked ready to drop from exhaustion, but if you yelled encouragement using the name or number they wrote on their arm, they would perk up and keep going. Anyone bold enough to wear Texas shorts up north got a rowdy drumline rendition of “The Stars at Night”. It was an amazing and humbling community experience.
2013. Two bombs. No answers.
One of those killed was a Boston University grad student. That student’s day-to-day worries about research, advisors, funding, and work-life balance disappeared. Senselessly. There was a memorial for this student and the other victims today at BU’s Marsh Plaza, where I attended a memorial for the victims of 9/11 back in 2001.
Photo credit, creative commons license
What strikes me the most in reading accounts of what happened is that people ran towards the explosions to help with anticipated injuries. People shared phones, gave away coats, signed up on a google doc to house runners and visitors from out of town.
Tragedies can illustrate the worst in human nature, but also bring out the best.
I love you, Bahston.
This is where I am today.
Grad school is hard this semester. Every time I finish a task, it’s on to the next one. Example: Today I had a two-hour statistics midterm. Now it’s time to focus on a literature review on L2 writing, due Monday. When that’s done, I have a paper on diversity to write for my teaching seminar on Tuesday. And then there’s the telecollaboration and presentation on cultural aspects of compliments in German vs. English on Wednesday. Etc. etc. etc. Wah wah wah. And that’s not even considering my teaching load.
My drama-free roller derby team has had drama. Maybe it’s all a misunderstanding. But now I see people hurting each other unintentionally and intentionally, and that sucks. I don’t take sides, but I am exhausted from trying to understand and explain everyone’s perspectives.
House buiding has been buerocratic and slow. It took a full 4 weeks for our land to be surveyed. The next step is to figure out where to put the house on the lot. That’s complicated because of the steep slope. Everything is complicated because of the steep slope.
But I’m still glad to be in Austin.
This is the only city I’ve lived in that would respond to North Korean nuclear bomb threats with brilliant parody. And while it’s still winter in Germany, we’ve already had lake days and sunburns. Sigh… I wish I could have spring break back.
Last summer, I finally finished and submitted an essay (described in this post) to an anthology of stories by international educators. The editors didn’t accept my submission, but they were willing to reevaluate their decision if I made some changes that we had discussed during a summer writing workshop.
The deadline to resubmit was yesterday. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t change one word. Continue reading
“Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars.” – Henry Van Dyke
Yesterday, I had lunch with Betsy, aka Scoldilocks. She is my first Austin roller derby friend. Starting in January, she used to pick me up for practices. Betsy lived in China for 8 years and works as an intercultural trainer, so we had lots to talk about. I came to enjoy our carpool chats as much as practices. In the summer, we both got busy, and our travel schedules didn’t line up, so we stopped carpooling. Now that my semester is over and I’m winding down, I’ve been more reflective about the big picture. So catching up with Betsy made me realize how amazing this year has been. Continue reading
I really struggled to capture the essence of myself as an educator. This is probably my third rewrite in the past month with significant revisions. I’ll be emailing this out tonight – any comments, critiques, etc.? Continue reading
Slow down for a few minutes.
Since the semester started in late August, I haven’t let myself do that much. Elmar’s sister, Alina, came to visit from Germany with her boyfriend, Sepp. They were in and out of Austin for six weeks. I’ve been teaching and taking classes and socializing myself into my PhD program. I gave a poster presentation at a NAFSA Regional Conference in Puerto Rico. Roller derby is still a fun and intense hobby. Elmar and I have been looking for a permanent housing solution. I’m giving a talk at an AATG meeting tomorrow.
So things have been productive and good, but busy. Too busy to think. But November 2 has been a personal day of reflection since 1995. And music in the balmy Texas air is pulling me back to that era. Continue reading