Archive for August, 2018

Peace and Quiet

August 31, 2018

Finally – at home alone, no appointments, no interruptions, no big errands to run today – just a couple of phone calls – and it’s Friday so I don’t have to think about dinner and packing lunches for tomorrow, hallelujah and hurray.

We’re getting our sea legs for this school year, still. A good first day, but when the adrenaline rush was over Illyria especially has been depleted, worn out, and cranky. She possibly has an ear infection, something anyway, which we’ll get looked at tomorrow morning, which I can only assume is affecting her energy and mood (no pain, no fever, but hearing is reduced). But Oz is having a lot of fun; his biggest complaint is that I don’t salt his lunch enough.

I’m focusing a lot of energy on improving our eating habits. We all gained weight while in the US, as we always do; now we are walking a lot more again, and I started using a mindfulness app to launch myself into what I hope becomes a steady meditation discipline and practice. Illyria was so down on herself yesterday; just so much negative self-talk – wishing she was somebody else, somebody thinner, older, cooler – it hurts my heart, and so acutely reflects my own inner monologue… I want to help her get out of this spiral too. So grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking and packing lunches has consumed more of my time than usual. What I’ve been doing is doubling amounts of what I make for dinner and packing half in their lunch (they have access to a microwave if they want to heat their lunch at school).

My intellectual side feels a little starved. I haven’t done any serious writing or reading in too long. I’m dredging up the dormant projects, looking to see what needs to be prioritized.

Meanwhile, perfecting my breakfast muffin game.




Mother, Scholar, Witch?

August 27, 2018

When I put the purple witch’s hat on my head, I knew it was mine. When I added a black costume cloak I felt a surge of contentment and happiness for the first time since arriving in Virginia this summer.

I don’t think I mentioned it here, but we moved back to Albania a year ago, with a “let’s see how this goes” mindset, and by spring realized that all our conversations about “next year” presumed staying on. Yet the day we left was one of the worst days I’ve had here; I got into a shouting match with our landlady’s son (who lives on the floor below) about who could have access to our flat while we were gone – about a 2-month time span. Ugh, I won’t go into the whole play by play but it was awful.

We spent two weeks in Colombia then, reconnecting with people and places – prioritizing what had been important in our children’s lives. The trip was for them, not for us. Then on our last day there, my daughter had a playground accident which landed us in the emergency room for 5 hours. She got four stitches in her heel and we were cleared to fly the next day, but it was traumatic.

So our “home leave,” vacation, summer month in the US was colored by all these things, and then Gimli left us in the basement of his parent’s retirement cottage (sharing their kitchen and car) for two weeks. I had insomnia; the voices in my head when all was quiet were unbearable and I’d web surf for hours until I just couldn’t stay awake anymore. I didn’t want to see anybody, do anything. I was walking on eggshells trying to learn all the house rules while processing the intensity of all the transitions going on.

The local library had a Harry Potter birthday party, so of course we had to get costumes to attend – it was really fun and I revelled in it.


When Gimli came back, as soon as he was more or less recovered from his jet lag, we dragged the kids north to our grad school institution; we got an AirBnB with backyard chickens and spent two lovely days seeing a few of my favorite relatives, long-time grad school friends, and my academic advisor and her husband – who took us on a walk to the nearby falls and it was like being with family; I don’t think we even talked about academia much.

That trip re-fueled and refreshed me more than I can say.

Which got me thinking – what was it about those two moments that made me feel so much myself? What has been missing that has made me feel not-myself, and if not-myself then who is it I’ve been pantomiming?

I was thinking about this again today, through the idea that we are people through other people – what was it in those moments that made me feel seen, known, understood for who I fully feel and believe myself to be? My aunt in upstate NY pulled out her genealogical charts and stacks of old photographs while we were there; perhaps that was the moment that I began to feel the unfurling of a dormant sense of self start to emerge again. These are my people; this is who I come from.

But her pages do not represent all my people; speaking Spanish with my advisor (who is my mother’s age), celebrating books and reading and waterfalls with my children and husband; being able to wear a purple witch’s hat and fitting right in… all these things mixed in together somehow.

I don’t really know quite how to make sense of all of this, just that I realized in the finding of that feeling of being myself that I had lost it prior, at some point. And I really want to hang on to it now.



August 24, 2018

So I finally hit on a new blog name that I like – “Movable Type” (see above). This is my third iteration; the original blog, titled “the I Word,” was on Blogspot, and the name gestured towards my inability (or unwillingness) to talk publicly about my in/subfertility. But family members found it, so I moved to WordPress and changed the name to Project Progeny (gesturing towards my fondness at the time of Project Runway).

Movable Type is about writing and publishing, but it’s also who I am – I am a movable type of person. I see myself as a global nomad; I was raised interculturally and come from generations of migration and intercultural marriage. I’m an anthropologist studying migration; I’m an expat; with my even more nomadic husband we’re raising our kids interculturally as well.

I feel a lot of different ways about this.

So the url here won’t change; Project Progeny and The I Word are all here in the archives. I haven’t updated my blog links in the sidebar in literally years but I’m looking to get back in the game.


August 23, 2018

I’m thinking of re-titling this blog Write Space. It’s what I really want from it – a virtual space to write in. A web-log of life.

I’m pivoting, slowly. It’s been a weird summer.

A while ago – I can’t even register how much time it has been – a year? Two? – I interviewed scores of people who have participated in a church-based exchange program for young adults, from different regions of the world. The oldest was 72, and had gone from southeast Asia to Indiana half a century ago. The youngest was 20, and had returned just four months prior. The main focus of the research was to assess notable impacts of the program in the lives of participants and in their communities. One pattern that emerged for me as I listened to story after story was that it took participants about five to ten years to really get a grip on what the impact of one year abroad had been for them. It took that long for people to be able to look back and trace the line from experiences they had had then, or people they had met then, to who and where they were now.

I think about that as I struggle to assess what the last few beats in my life have meant – achieving a doctoral degree, living and working for five years in Colombia, the return to Albania – this summer weirdly compressed all those aspects of the last decade of my life into an incredibly short time frame and I…. did not handle it well. There was drama. Add to it a tween daughter who finds me and her beloved grandmother mortally embarrassing to be around… and let’s face it, the current political climate in the US is nothing short of stressful… (blue voter here, just for the record).

So I’m trying to pivot. I have an idea for the next phase of my life; I’m just trying to dredge up the courage and self-discipline to see if I can make it work.

Fork in the Road

August 5, 2018

Welp, it’s been a while. I’m still here. I’m thinking about a rebirth for this blog; “project progeny” continues in terms of parenting my now 10 and 8 year old kids, but my life is no longer focused around procreation and as blogging genres go, it’s just not what I’m writing about here anymore.

I think I’ve pretty solidly hit midlife, with all the introspection and angst that goes with that (not that introspection and angst are anything new to my usual mode of being, I’ve just felt unusually stuck recently), and the themes of work and career as they intersect with identity are foremost in my mind. I have a lot of thoughts and I think I’d like to chronicle them – process on the page – a bit more.

So, I don’t know if I’ll keep this blog but rename it, or just start a new one with an entry here serving as the jumping off point, but I’m leaning towards the latter. It’s so easy to set up a new blog…  in terms of creating space to write, it’s also something of a symbolic step.

Don’t know if anyone is still reading… but anyway, here goes.