“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.
Spring 2011: Elmar and I were on the way to living a secure and mildly unhappy life in Hamburg. We knew it unconsciously. Elmar had been scanning real estate websites in warm US cities. I had been browsing job boards and sending out random applications. By summer, we knew it consciously. After a few months of travel and preparation, we emmigrated in October. Abmelden und tschüss. It was scary and exciting. And moving to Austin was the best risk we could have taken.
That was over one year ago. It didn’t happen overnight, but for the first time since leaving Dresden in 2009, I feel like I’m in the right place at the right time, both professionally and socially.
- Much of my grad school work has a purpose, and I’m good at it. I can come up with crazy research ideas, and my colleagues encourage that because they have equally crazy research ideas.
- Teaching produces tangible results. Even if none of my students ever go to a German speaking place, their world views have been broadened.
- I’ve met and re-met some amazing people here in Austin. I’m especially grateful to be part of a new roller derby team called Team Free Radicals. We strive to be supportive and fun. There’s just something awesome about working as a cohesive unit to create something larger and more beautiful (bruise-iful?) than any individual.
When Betsy and I got our check at lunch yesterday, it came with the Van Dyke quote above on a small slip of paper. And that pretty much sums up my frame of mind as 2012 comes to a close.