Saturday, May 26, 2007

May in Glasgow

Entry for 26 May 2007:

Once again, May is slipping by. May is my favorite month, largely because my birthday is at the end of it. I always think that I should take the time and savor it, but then it turns out to be busy with end of term work and conferences, and so it slips away, like sand between my fingers.

The streets were wet with rain this morning when I got up. Clouds mixed with sun throughout the day. It was cool and breezy but not cold, perfect weather for a long run along the canal. The canal waters were clear and only slightly rippled in the wind. I noticed how much the trees have leafed out along either side of the canal. It’s hard to keep a good running schedule when I’m so busy with conferences, so I’ve lost distance over the past month and now have to build back up again, carefully, because of my knee problems. So I was pleased to be able to do 7 miles this morning without any difficulty.

Diane has gone back to America to provide company and support for Kenneth, who has now finished his first year at university. I’m here finishing up the term, with piles of papers to grade and ever-mounting email, feeling a bit jealous at not being able to have a bit of vacation and hang out with my kids. But the solitude isn't bad either...

After I finished my run and ate a late breakfast, I took a bit of personal time to read the climax of Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, a near-future science fiction novel about the next 15 years of computer/internet development, which has some quite challenging ideas about the continuing pace of extreme technological, social, medical, and personal change. If he is correct, the new Jordanhill Building being planned right now here for 2010 will be obsolete before it’s even finished! Very thought provoking; it convinces me that my strategy of trying to stay on top of new technology is vital.

So life is basically good here: With each passing month, I understand more about the system and the culture, and my students and colleagues, and I feel more on top of things and able to function here. There are many challenges, but they feel like stretching and growing rather wearing away or draining. The work is meaningful, I enjoy my colleagues and students. Every week is full of new things. At this point, I’m feeling more grounded and effective in my teaching with students at various levels.

Yesterday, for example, the students in my supervsion group and I weathered a crisis that we were able to get through by doing our best to be open, caring, and self-reflective. It was an emotionally draining experience, but afterwards I felt proud that we had gotten through it in a productive, helpful manner, and realized that I am going to miss my intrepid band of supervisees when the course is over in a couple of weeks.

And so, as May winds down toward my birthday and June, I am happy and feel myself growing and moving on in my life and work. I feel pleased and grateful to have this chance. And May is a lovely time to be in Glasgow!

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