A Scampaversary

Today marks one year that I have been back in the States.

12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds.

Not that I am counting.

I actually cannot believe that it has been a year already. That means I have completed my dissertation. That means that I have graduated from the University of Edinburgh. That means I went back to Scotland to attend my graduation.That means that I am about 1/3 of the way done with my doctoral program. That means I am getting ready to take the qualifying exam to stay in the program. That means I am about to kiss my summer goodbye.

That means I have spent 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds missing Scotland.

One year later and I am still grieving the loss my life there. I miss the people, I miss the adventure, I miss the friends that I made there.

In one of the first classes I took at the University of Edinburgh we read an article about reverse culture shock. “Reverse culture shock is experienced when returning to a place that one expects to be home but actually is no longer, is far more subtle, and therefore, more difficult to manage than outbound shock precisely because it is unexpected and unanticipated,” says Dean Foster, founder and president of DFA Intercultural Global Solutions, a firm that provides intercultural training and coaching worldwide.   

I read the article, participated in the discussion for the class, and didn’t give reverse culture shock another thought.

Smash cut to a month ago when I finally figured out everything that was making me unhappy here.

I miss Scotland. I left my heart there, and despite the “on paper” appearance of everything being great here, all that I really did was put off actually dealing with being back in California. I came home and jumped into my dissertation. When that was completed, I started the doctoral program. After the first semester in the program, I picked up a third job. Somewhere in all of that, I also tried to find happiness with a boy. In short, I did everything but try to adjust to what life is now like for me here.

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In short, it sucks. I don’t fit in here. I will always be a California kid, but I no longer want to be a California adult. I make no secret of telling people that I plan to go back overseas the minute I can, and I am not kidding. Since I cannot pack up and leave tomorrow, I will console myself with trips overseas to see my friends when I can, and work as hard as I can right now to make myself a really good Kim for my next overseas adventure.

I will graduate in exactly 2 years from today. That is 24 months. 104 weeks. 730 days. 17,531 hours.

Not that I am counting.

The good thing is, I can, and plan to, get a lot done in that time.

The Scamp and the Travel Bug

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This summer there is an alumni event for the University of Edinburgh in Toronto. I am not Canadian, and the three days of Canadian alumni themed lectures and activities. There is no reason for me to go. I’d have to take two days off of work, miss one of the summer school classes, and would lose a day or two of studying for the qualifying exam.

There is also the small detail of paying for a plane ticket.

So why I am thinking about going? Seriously, seriously considering it. One of my good friends lives in Toronto and would be down for a visit, I’ve never been to Canada, and I am feeling restless here. This weekend will mark my one year anniversary of being back in the States, and I have yet to really readjust to the life I have here.

So while I should be studying for my last final of the semester, I am looking up flights to Toronto and trying to figure out if I can really afford the trip both monetarily and in terms of time.

 

A Scamp and Summer School

Today was the first day of my Ed.D program….I know, who wants to start school on a Saturday? I dragged my tired butt to CSUF at 8:30 this morning and got to spend the day learning how to write. I learned what a topic sentence was, how to properly use examples and evidence in my work, and what it means to write a “scholarly” piece of work. I got a lecture on how to pick the appropriate loan, and why it is important to use APA citations in my work to demonstrate my brilliance. I will now be reevaluating my teaching style and classroom activities…..since many of my lectures and activities are similar to the ones I did today, and since I wanted to gnaw my own leg off during some of the lectures, I am sure my kids want to do the same when I am in the front of the room.

As long as the day was though, it was nice to have this as a trial run for getting back into the swing of being in the classroom. While it has only been a few months since I was in the classroom, the last couple of weeks have really pulled my focus from my research and from the academic mindset. I also got some very useful tips on writing a literature review, and since that is what I am about to start making an outline for, I feel that I will be better equipped for writing that section. I have a homework assignment to do that will force me to write in a scholarly manner, and I am hoping that that little bit of writing will help me get back into the swing of my dissertation. The children’s literature has been sorely neglected for the last few days.

There is another reason that I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of school though. Lately with all of the late nights, and constant socializing with family and friends I have found myself slipping back into my old negative ways. I’m stressed, and with that has come a hostile attitude that is causing me to flip a shit in public. In the last two weeks I have been in two altercations, one of which I shoved a woman into a chair at a baseball game because she was being bitchy and wouldn’t get out of my way. I haven’t gotten arrested yet, but I do feel like I should not be allowed in public (or at least around drunk people) for a little while if I want that record to stay untarnished. I have been home long enough now that I can no longer use the “I just got back to the US” excuse to justify why I haven’t gotten anything done, or why I would rather sleep in the sun instead of sit at my desk and read articles.

Seeing as I sat in a classroom and had a lot of info thrown at me today, I think I will start the “good student” routine tomorrow.