Sunday summary: Exhausted but happy

It’s unclear whether the dominant factor here is jet lag or first trimester fatigue, but either way, somewhere on the scale between tired and completely exhausted seems to be my default setting these days. On days when I’m just peaceably working from home, mostly on my own schedule, this feels highly manageable if slightly unpleasant, but on days when I’m working in person, I find myself wondering how on earth people with full-time in-person jobs handle the first trimester of pregnancy… to say nothing of people whose jobs are inherently physically taxing!

Monday I had a full morning of exams to administer at the uni, followed by an hour-long lesson online, and my main memory of the experience is fervently wishing it would just end so I could go home, put on more comfortable pants, and not be standing up. Blargh. I mean, I got through it, but how do people do it when their job is standing up the entire day? I feel unspeakably privileged in this regard, and also pretttty guilty.

Tuesday and Wednesday were work-from-home days, and as usually happens after an in-person day, I felt extremely lucky to have them.

Thursday included item #3 on my Back-to-the-real-world list of goals for this January/February time: re-learning the oral exam procedures for an English language testing company in preparation to administer some oral exams… in preparation to be monitored and deemed either satisfactory or not. I’d already been through two rounds of training + examining + monitoring, and so was starting to get a bit discouraged about ever getting the hang of it… but I’m happy to report that this time I passed. Phew. (Observation: students are usually pretty nervous about exams, and I was certainly no exception… but it never once crossed my mind as a student that the professor/teacher/instructor might also be nervous about their examining techniques. And yet, here we are.)

So, all’s well that ends well there, but I have to admit that the day itself was completely exhausting: this whole procedure needed to take place in a testing center in Milan, which is about an hour and a half away by car. I’d usually take the train (speedier and more environmentally friendly!) but since the boyfriend had the week off, we’d decided that he would come with me, we’d drive, and then we’d either keep driving afterwards (maybe to the Aosta Valley) to get away for a little weekend adventure or we’d take advantage of Milan’s airports to go on an adventure slightly further afield. This was a great plan, but I was honestly already exhausted by the time we arrived in Milan… and at that point, I still had hours of training and then two hours of examining ahead of me! After that, I made it back to the hotel we’d booked for the night dragging my feet, and we ended up ordering pizza to the hotel room because I couldn’t even muster the energy to go downstairs to eat sitting up at a table.

Friday dawned with a headache (sigh) but I managed to fight it off with Tylenol and coffee in time for our arrival in… Vienna! We spent about three hours sitting on the sofa together on Wednesday afternoon scouring the internet for good flight deals to nearby cities whose covid situation was at least not worse than our region of Italy’s (so, London was out, for instance!) and ended up finding an excellent deal for Vienna – excellent both in terms of price and flight times. Hooray! Sometimes things do just fall into place! Quite uplifting to observe, after the last year.

The weekend was lovely despite being quite short: we arrived in the center of Vienna (via a lovely, clean, and straightforward airport train) at around 4 p.m. on Friday, and needed to leave for the airport again at about 8 a.m. on Sunday, so we really just had an evening and a day available… and on top of that, I needed a rest time both upon arrival and at about the same time on Saturday… but it was still heavenly. I truly had forgotten the feeling of being in a new, foreign-to-me place just for the joy of it. The wandering around, listening to people speak a language I can’t understand, looking at buildings in a style different from what I’m used to, exploring new foods… I just adore it and I haven’t had it since… I don’t even remember. Sometime in 2019, I assume. I’m not even going to go back and try to find out because it will just be depressing. Anyway. In conclusion, despite the potential covid risk and despite the exhaustion before, during and after, I am so glad we went on this little adventure.

The city is a delight to walk around, the food was delicious, and the whole weekend was just very life-giving. Hooray!

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