Tag Archives: travel

Interregnum indeed

I last updated this blog at the tail end of 2009. Gleep! Quite a lot has changed in my life since then, starting with moving to a new country and starting a new job. But since I am back in my old stomping ground of Northampton/Florence, it seems like s good time to try this again.

There is no one reading this who doesn’t know that in the summer of 2010, I was offered, and accepted a job at Queen Mary, University of London, where I am now a Lecturer in Experimental Linguistics. In fact, I just completed my first year of teaching, and am now celebrating with a month long working vacation in North America.

I flew to Boston on April 2nd, spent a weekend in Northampton with friends, then drove up to Montreal to spend a week there visiting friends and family, and reconnecting with colleagues and potential future collaborators.

Last Monday I drove back to Northampton, and I’ve spent the week here working on data analysis, having meetings with collaborators, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I’ve been able to hang out with the dear old dog and cat who I left behind with former neighbors. Charlie the dog is sliding into mild senility at the perfectly appropriate age of 13. He doesn’t really seem to recognize me, which means there’s no angst about seeing him. He’s not bothered whether I’m there or not, but he’s perfectly happy with the attention.

Andi-cat is another story. She seems to be utterly furious with me. I’m not sure why, since she is apparently very happy in her new home. But she can barely tolerate my presence for 5 minutes before huffing off. It would have been nice to snuggle with her a bit, but I’d rather she be happy in her new home than pining for me. And her look of disgust when she sees me is priceless.


So I can leave her with a clean conscience, knowing she is not at all sad to see me go. 🙂

Other than being despised by cats, and spending rather a lot of time staring at computer screens, I’ve been enjoying watching spring arrive in the valley. Spring came rather too early in London for me to properly appreciate it, whereas it definitely feels like the time for it now. The earliest flowers are in full bloom.

If anyone can tell me what these are called, I’d be grateful.

The magnolias are just starting to arrive.

Although I only spent one year living here, it feels truly and deeply like home, and it’s been so wonderful to have the time to be here and reconnect with so many of my favorite people and places.

Tomorrow I’m off again. First to Boston to return the rental car, then to Columbia SC for 4 days to visit other friends/colleagues and stare at some different computers. Data awaits.



Filed under home, joy, my fabulous friends, travel

waffling my way along

I loathe travel planning. Not all of it, of course. The initial ‘ooh, I get to go to …’ is lovely, and it’s always fun to look up my destination on google earth, look up local weather conditions to start thinking about what to wear, start learning some basic vocabulary in the local language, etc. It’s all very exciting and romantic and makes a great distraction from whatever I’m supposed to be doing instead.

left luggage by flickr user paul_likes_pics

left luggage by flickr user paul_likes_pics

The part I hate is when I have to stop just thinking about it and playing around with various options and actually commit to buying tickets and booking accommodations. If I could possibly get away with walking into the airport with my luggage and buying the ticket at the counter then and there, I would. Having to buy ticket weeks and weeks in advance just feels so wrong and confining and frustrating. The upshot is that I often pay more than I should have for a ticket due to leaving it too late.

So I am very proud to say that I bought my ticket today for a trip that starts on July 22nd. That’s nearly a whole month away. That’s probably the longest in advance of a trip I have ever bought my ticket. I’m already starting to worry that maybe I should have waited a few more days, because what if I change my mind or need to do x or y or…

But the change fee is pretty high, so I am just going to have to make everything else work around it. I’m flying to Paris on July 22nd and coming home on August 13th. I still have to buy all the plane and train tickets that will get me from Paris to Dusseldorf to Osnabrueck to Berlin to Poznan, then two weeks later back to Berlin then on to Nijmegen, and back to Paris via Dusseldorf, but just having settled the transatlantic bit is a huge step for me. I feel almost like a responsible adult. 🙂

Of course I have barely thought about preparing my talks and lectures when I get there, but there’s still *lots* of time for that…

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Filed under travel