So, apparently I last wrote more than four months ago?! What? Okay. Judging by the header photo of that last post (and, um, the actual date which conveniently locates it in time, I guess), it was apparently early spring and I was coming off a busy week at work. In April. Well. Many things have happened since then! I probably don’t even remember half of them! Happily, I see that I had commenced drafting a post summarizing April’s events and it looks like all I was wrapping up there was adding photos, which is super good news for me, because I honestly don’t even remember the details of April. It had Easter in it, I think? I think I had a really nice Easter, even? Anyway. Perhaps, if this burst of motivation continues, I shall someday (soon?) finish that post and then you (the collective internet) and I will both know what happened in April.
Perhaps I will even claw some time out of my busy (largely self-imposed) schedule to post summaries of May, June, and July, too, but in the meantime, I am feeling a nice little list of accomplishments and major events coming on instead. If all goes well, it can serve as a friendly table of contents for upcoming posts containing additional details and photos and if not… well… at least some minimal record of these lovely past few months will remain.
Did I just call the last few months lovely? Do I sound slightly manic? Yes and, I imagine, probably yes (but I promise I am not suffering from any adverse mental condition. I’m just riding the high of having checked something exceedingly annoying off my to-do list (skip ahead to the last item on the upcoming list, but it will be hugely anticlimactic to anyone else; it’s only exciting to me personally). Anyway, though. Yes! The last few months have legitimately been lovely. You can click back a few posts to see how gloomy and burnt out and downtrodden I was feeling in the first few months of the year for contrast, but I am completely delighted to report that I started feeling better right around when I stopped updating this poor neglected writing space. I don’t know whether it’s because I slowly, slowly recovered from the mental beating that was 2021 and finally started to come out of my gloom in April, or whether that would have happened regardless because I love springtime and summertime and the sun and light and blue skies (<– okay, that probably did have at least some impact), or whether I started to physically feel better, because in retrospect, the first four months of pregnancy were physically quite garbage-y and I have felt much better since… but whatever it was, here we are. I’m happy to say that I have downright enjoyed these past few months, to the point where I am actually clinging to the last couple of weeks of pregnancy in a very I-wish-I-could-stop-time way, despite everyone and their cousin having informed me that the last month of pregnancy is a horror show. (It’s unwieldy for sure, but it is not nearly as craptastic as the first four, in my opinion.)
So, without further ado! Here is a brief summary, probably omitting half the important stuff, of the past few months (except April, because that already has its own draft post and I legitimately can’t remember it right now anyway).
Original plan: teach a last in-person week at university; then spend most of the rest of the month in the US with my parents to help with my dad’s next cancer checkup and also in lieu of a summer trip, since I would be too pregnant to travel intercontinentally by then.
What actually happened: taught a last in-person week at university; got covid (this feels like the story of everyone’s travel plans this summer, right?); still have a great time rest of the time in America with family, so honestly, no harm done. This included:
- Quarantining alone in a hotel while I had Covid. Lonely and a bit depressing? Yes. However! I used this time to accomplish a super annoying end-of-year task for teaching, which was to write all of the exams for June. Six full exams in total. Vomit. I hate writing exams.
- Lots of quality time with parents just doing our good old little traditional things/habits/routines/etc. Love.
- Helping both parents with some medical checkups. Happy outcomes: everything is looking good for both of them; also, selfishly, this helped assuage my impending guilt about not being able to go back for the rest of the year because of rest of pregnancy/upcoming newborn infant situation.
- Seeing a friend that I hadn’t seen since before Covid! Yay! She had a baby in the interim and shared lots of useful words of wisdom with me. Thanks, friend!
- Finally seeing aunts and uncles that I also hadn’t seen since before Covid! Since Christmas 2019, to be precise. I cannot express the delightfulness of this time, between finally seeing them and also having baby news to share. Yay!
- Returning to Italy on the 29th and rolling right into the first exam I was responsible for administering on the 30th, sleep-deprived but present and accounted for. Bam! Efficiency.
- A full day of university exam administering on the 1st of June. The good thing about this is… that it eventually ended. It was long and tedious and in a stiflingly hot room containing 60 computers, 60ish people at a time, and no air-conditioning. For an entire day. Fun! It also yielded some 200ish exams for me to correct. So very fun.
- A week of Getting Things Organized in between trips because after that the partner and I left for…
- 10 days in Lisbon, Seville, and Cadiz! Our first real vacation since before Covid! Only the second time we’ve been away for longer than a long weekend in the entire time we’ve been together! What! Yes. Actually the longest we’ve been away together in our whole relationship, I think (the other longish vacation was a week, if memory serves… in July 2019). And we’re having a kid together? Yes? Yes! Which may seem crazy, but I maintain that our relationship, built on the foundation of experiencing a pandemic together, from de facto moving in together during lockdown to shift after shift of pandemic ambulance service together, may be stronger than it would have been if it were just built on fun vacations. Anyway. That’s off topic. The point is, it was a great vacation! I *love* travelling! The timing of which reminder is comically ironic, since I’m about to be living that newborn baby life and decidedly *not* travelling. I assume.
- The rest of June passed by in a pleasant haze of catching up with friends I hadn’t seen since before the America trip, and also correcting all those exams. Got ’em done, though. Ahhh, that checked-off box feeling. So good.
- Also managed to squeeze in some minor and largely unsuccessful data collection for my master’s thesis. Did you forget I am technically doing a master’s program at the moment? Me too, pretty much. But it was at some point in May, in the relative calm of life at my parents’ house that I remembered and was like, hang on, self, you really ought to just wrap up those two remaining exams and that thesis. So I made a tragically mistimed effort at collecting data. Because collecting data with preschoolers is super inconvenient when preschools are closed for the summer. Ah, well. We’ll call it the pilot phase and try again in September.
- July started with a very concrete goal: prepare for and take those last two exams for my master’s degree.
- This goal was immediately impeded by an offer of a day’s work to go administer oral exams in a mountain town by the sea the first Saturday of July. Now, if someone offers to put you up in a hotel an hour away from the sea, on the weekend, and pay you a full day’s work plus two days’ per diem compensation for a mere morning’s work, are you not going to take it? Of course you are! So the partner and I headed up to this random (cute!) mountain town, I administered oral exams to some cute summer camp kids for a few hours on a Saturday morning while he hiked around the surrounding woods, and then we zipped over to the seaside for a delightful afternoon of beach time! Hooray! (Did not further my efforts to pass those exams, though.)
- Next: I did indeed prepare for and pass the first exam. 30/30. Bam! Yay! It was my only in-person exam of this whole master’s degree. Weird.
- It was also in Bologna and during the last remaining week that the partner had off from work for the summer (the first two were the Portugal/Spain trip). Anyway, you know what you hit if you keep driving along the highway from where we live, past Bologna? The sea! Yes! So the logical thing to do there was to spend the rest of his week off from work at the sea and it was glorious. There was reading to the sound of the waves, splashing around in said waves, eating nice fish, even a visit from friends, and just reveling in what was probably our last vacation as a family of two.
- I think used the rest of the month of prepare for and pass the other exam. Last one of this degree! 30/30 again. Win! Satisfaction! Yay!
- Things I conspicuously did not do in July, aside from updating this poor neglected space: start writing my thesis. Start writing all the exams I had promised for next year before going on maternity leave.
August so far:
- I have started to work on my thesis a smidge.
- I have started studying for a Possible Next Project. To be revealed at a later date, perhaps, but for now I’m holding it close to my heart. Sorry, internet!
- I have spent some lovely time catching up with friends. Really need to make more time for this in regular life – it sucks that it gets relegated to the summer, after all my responsibilities have been discharged.
- The partner and I have gone on another surprise beach weekend, at the partner’s suggestion, because he is a freaking saint. (He does not love the beach in the same way that I do, but very sweetly proposed that we go there for a day and a half anyway, because he knows how much I adore it and he wanted me to enjoy it one more time before the baby. Thank you, my love.)
- I have *drumroll* finished writing those freaking exams for next year. Six of them. Just this very afternoon. A half hour ago, to be precise. So… I guess I am actually officially on maternity leave now? Madness!
The rest of August:
- Well, Bean is due to be born in another ten days or so, so there’s that! I will write more about this at a later time, but I want to briefly record the fact that I have downright enjoyed the rest of pregnancy, since about mid-April. At first it was bizarre to feel him wiggle around in there, but now it feels quite companionable and I think I may rather miss it. I have enjoyed preparing our home and our hearts to welcome him, and all those intimate moments of the partner and I watching random limbs slide protrude bizarrely from my belly and speculating about what he’ll be like and what we’ll be like and what our lives will be like… I will miss this time of our lives. (I will probably super deeply miss it in just a few weeks when he is out in the world where in addition to wiggling he can make noise and demand things of us rather than just be a very heavy belly accessory, ha.) But anyway. Yes. I will miss this summer, I think, in lots of ways. This bears a lot more reflection at a later time and I have things! to! finish! today now that I’m free of those exams, so I’ll wrap it up here.
- I also hope to finally make some headway on my thesis and my other secret study project, again now that those exams have been lifted from my shoulders (to be clear, I could have achieved this weeks ago if I had just stopped procrastinating them).
- And… I guess I hope to just enjoy the rest of this time of just the partner and me living our lives as a unit of two. End of August feels like a very fitting time to have a baby, because after a summer of anticipation and living that summer life, I can feel the days getting shorter, and the air feeling different when I throw my windows open every morning, and that end-of-summer sensation creeping over the world. It’s the end of the summer for everyone, and for me, it’s the end of the part of my life where I wasn’t a mother yet. I just hope I can embrace this whole time as fully as it deserves.