Kittens, Caffeine and Conversation

I just realized today that it’s been months since I’ve updated anything on here. I initially started this blog to share some of my experiences and travails in the UK in 2015 while I attended graduate school. Thus the less than quippy title ‘Scones and Cream’. In short, since living in zone 2 near the Borough market in London, I have: Moved back to the US, started a job at my former Uni, lived at home, started seeing someone, moved in with my someone, adopted a furry friend, embarked on a less than enjoyable summer statistics course, grew in my job, visited old friends from London in NYC, visited family in San Diego, attempted unsuccessfully to reconnect with some of the former languages, and many more details that fall in between the routine bits of a morning french press, buttered toast, bike commutes and musical interludes that fill in my life.

Last september, around september the 2nd I was frantically and fanatically piecing together my dissertation in International Relations on China and tension between the market and the state. About a week after that chaos finally subsided I began my new position as a Program Coordinator at a Learning Community at my alma mater. Without going into specifics of the job, I can now look back almost 1 year from starting and say it was the best decision I could have made. In short, I work with an incredible group of students, helping find ways to motivate, educate and assist these students in their goals. What I didn’t expect was how much I would value seeing an output.

What I’ve seen in a year of working on a college campus is oftentimes, this place can feel exceptionally disjointed, impersonal and bureaucratic. For staff and faculty, the opportunity to talk with students, much less witness the affect you have on someone is rare. Most of us contribute to a swath of inputs, be it a one time meeting or interaction with a student. To feel that you have the opportunity to develop a sustained relationship is uncommon. In my role, I have the chance to not only see students enter as freshman but also witness and contribute to their development onto graduation. It is only now that I am realizing how much I appreciate this and how rare it really is. Beyond the tangible impact on students, I work with a fantastic team. While the college itself does at times feel like a tangled, political mess, our program has under 10 on staff and we are able to develop strong connections. I could begin to ramble about spreadsheet formulas, awkward and less than authentic greetings, on the spot introductions at giant events or any other sweat inducing uncomfortablisms of my job, but i’ll spare you for now.

Last september I was also living in my parents basement. It was as you would imagine a less than glamorous lifestyle but a practical approach to paying down some of my graduate school debt. Following that I, 1. met someone who is also working at UNL completing her PhD, 2. moved into her place and then later moved into a place together and 3. adopted a kitty who we affectionately refer to as Lucy or Lucifer for her sweet nature but unintentional, resting evil cat face. Lucy is 8, so not quite a kitten. But we both appreciate her less hyper tendencies. Although, she does have her quirks. So far, we’ve noticed, 1. a persistent licking of the blinds directly behind our heads. 2. Licking these blinds only in the evening when we are trying to sleep. 3. Exhibiting an odd curiosity that causes kitty to get very close to bathwater just to be reminded that water is foul, causing her to quickly sprint in the other direction. 4. Persistently crying. She is constantly trying to at the same time tell L (for anonymity sake) or myself a story, beg for a treat, or cry for some other to be discovered reason. Despite how different my life is, how much has changed, Lincoln is still the place I grew up (mostly).

It’s a nostalgic and bizarre feeling to be back here. I still gravitate to the places I used to go but their meanings have changed. In high school, I remember driving in circles around a roundabout for cheap thrills. In college, I sped down antelope valley on my bicycle, racing to class on some path I couldn’t really identify. Now, I have a slightly better plan but often still feel like I’m pretending to be an ‘adult’. The friends and relationships that once were are something else entirely. They either evolve as two people find ways to reconnect or they atrophy and drift further apart, hanging on a thread of memory that seems to hold together a relationship only by the things were in the past. Regardless, I try not to get lost in what once was. For this moment, this life, in all its kitties, conversations and caffeinated nights, has been incredibly beautiful.

 

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