Looking back on 2019 (1 of 2)

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January: As a part of the journey to the Ph.D., I spend four weeks a year in California. Two of those weeks are in January. It’s a great time to escape the PNW for warmer weather and sunshine! Being a doctoral student is hard, being a doctoral student while working full time and being in a new job, at a new institution, across the country from friends and family is also hard. What makes this journey sweeter is the people that are along this journey with me! From trips to the beach to coffee shop study sessions to hiking in the canyon–what happens outside of the classroom is as much a part of my education as what happens inside of the classroom.

February: It snowed! Real snow! Enough to close down the town! I even had to purchase a snow shovel and salt for my steps. It was a blast! I haven’t had a winter with snow as an adult since I lived in Colorado the year after college (which was a long time ago for those who don’t know). Annie was so curious about all the white fluff on the ground–it was adorable to watch her explore her surroundings. I remember asking folks about winter before we moved here; most replied that it hardly ever snows. Well, it did in 2019, and for that I am grateful!

March: After our first cold and rainy winter, we took advantage of every chance to get out in the sunshine and play. We spent lots of time at the dog park in March. It was a good reminder not to take the things (people, places, experiences) for granted.

April: I was not prepared for the flood of colors that would usher in Spring here in the PNW. It was the coldest and wettest winter, I’ve had in a long time, and that really took it’s toll on both my mind and my spirit. I remember asking a friend who has lived here a few years longer than I have about how she gets thru the winter and she said you just have to go out and play in the rain anyway. Another friend who grew up here suggested having things scheduled in the evenings, so you don’t retreat in the dark evenings. Well, I didn’t listen…and it was a hard winter. So when Spring finally came with all the blooms and colors and sunshine, it was amazing! My whole back yard was full of blossoms from the trees above and the bulbs below. Annie and I spent a lot of time in our backyard in April, especially as the days pushed longer into the night.

May: The months of May and December are quite busy for those of us whose lives revolve around the academic calendar. Working at a college and being a student has compounded that busyness to a degree that is often unmanageable. One thing that has always been soothing to my soul is the water. It has been from a very young age. The ocean brings back memories of Nantucket, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Florida with family. It’s easy to forget that I live about 30 minutes away from the sound and a life-giving source for me. I made it a point to get there a few times in May to feed my soul during a time when the calendar was asking me to give a lot of myself to other endeavors as well. Self-care is important! And, Annie loves the water as well 🙂

June: It was a full month! From handing in a paper that could be the start of my dissertation proposal to having a week of class in and around Cape Town to going on a safari…it was full of new and awesome and things I am still processing. It also landed me sick in bed for a couple of weeks after I got back from traveling. If you would like to see more pictures of the safari, check out this post from last week.

More coming soon about the rest of 2019!

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