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May 26, 2005

Crabby Minnesota Day

I was driving along East River Road today, looking out onto the river and all of the greenery on both sides, and I spotted a woman jogging by. I thought for a moment about how much green space there is here in the cities, and how people really do seem to enjoy it. There's always someone running, biking, or rollerblading along the miles of path that hugs the Mississippi River.

As I drove, I thought about how, four years ago, we came here to the cities for a visit. I was presenting at the CARLA Language Teacher Education Conference, which was held mid-May, during intersession. It was unusually hot for May--in the upper 90s, and mosquitos were everywhere! I was fully eight months pregnant and the heat and humidity really got to me. It was the first time I had felt hot the entire time I was pregnant, and even when I returned to a cooler, Pacific NW climate, I never really felt like I got over that hot feeling until after Jurgen was born. I remember being here on campus, and feeling like just going from one building to the next seemed like forever. The campus might be big, but it's even bigger when you're pregnant.

As I was driving today, with Jurgen in the backseat babbling on about Star Wars (he hasn't seen the movie--we've told him he has to be much, much older before we'll even let him watch the original trilogy), I was thinking about our decision to move here, when we were mostly pretty content in the Pacific Northwest. It's true that some things would have had to change anyway while we were out there. We both needed some changes in employment, and we were tired of a long commute to work every day. But, we decided to come here to Minneapolis in pursuit of doctoral degrees (yep, that's right--both of us).

Things have been something of a struggle ever since. Even though I was able to land a good position as a graduate instructor, Chris was much less fortunate, and only recently has he found a position that he truly loves. We've had a lot to juggle, time-wise and financially, and I can tell that the last three years have really taken their tole on our psyches.

I'm getting ready to do my orals on June 3rd, and although I feel relieved that I've gotten this far, I also feel stressed. It's truly hard to balance two graduate students' needs, both personal and professional. Toss a child in the mix, add a little stress, and well--it makes for one crabby day, no doubt.

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