Somehow I’ve let more than 3 months elapse since last posting here. Ooops. Suddenly getting a job in another country, packing up everything I own, including 4 animals in varying states of health, finding a place to live, moving, etc, etc are all perfectly good excuses (especially as it took me 2 weeks to get an internet connection sorted at home and I only recently found my camera usb cord for transferring photos). But it’s still rather unfortunate. The first month or two on a new place is precisely the time that’s most interesting to document.
At this point it would make no sense to try to revisit all the impressions of those first days and weeks. But I can still note a few.
In the beginning, their were lots and lots of un-unpacked boxes.
Also, it was really hot for most of August, which slowed down the deboxifying considerably.
My mum came to visit at the end of August and we went to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, which happens to be a 2 minute walk from my new office, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the publication of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There was cake.
Mum left, I unpacked a little more and then classes began. It’s already midterm now, half a semester flown past in the blink of an eye. I’ve been absolutely loving teaching at Hampshire College. It’s such a treat to have no more than 25 students in a class, nearly all of whom actually want to be there, and to not ever have to think about grades or exams as the motivation for work. This is my first experience with a Liberal Arts College – I’d never really understood just what that meant until now. I would have *loved* Hampshire as a student, and I am so thrilled to get to teach here.
In fact life here in the rolling hills of Western Mass is pretty lovely in every respect. I feel like I’ve moved into the pages of Richard Scarry’s Busytown, minus the anthropomorphic animals, but only just. The air is bright and clear, the sky is full of twinkling stars at night, the grocery stores are small and brimming with local produce. There is home milk delivery, in glass bottles, and cars unfailingly stop for pedestrians at cross walks. Everyone in my little set of row houses leaves their back doors unlocked, to make it easy to let one another’s pets out or in. I usually lock my bike up when I leave it downtown, but I forgot my lock once, and the bike was still there at the end of the day.
People decorate their houses with silly animals and statues.
Yes, that is a deer wearing flippers and a snorkling mask.
George, the cat, who seems determined to use up all 9 of his lives, got himself chased up a tree last weekend. I spent all of last Sunday wandering around the neighbourhood calling his name and putting up lost cat posters.
I had several people call to let me know they had seen him, and by the time I finally tracked him down to a tree in a yard about 8 houses away, his case had attracted quite a bit of interest. I counted at least 10 people out sitting on their porches at 6pm on a chilly Sunday evening, watching anxiously while three fire fighters debated who should climb a ladder up the tree to get him down. Everyone was incredibly nice and friendly and happy about the whole enterprise, including the owner of the house who’s German Shepherd had treed George in the first place.
So life is rather grand. Now I just have to figure out how I can stay. 🙂