During the final days before Christmas I took the bus to Mrs S in Linköping. It was a cold and cute city to visit.
I started my Christmas celebration with a morning service on the 24th held by my friend K. in Björlanda church.
On the Sunday before New Year’s Eve I went to celebrate the liturgy at an Orthodox monastery located not too far from Borås.
On my last evening in Sweden I had drinks and dinner with the very lovely K.
Early on Thursday morning it was time to catch my flights from Gothenburg to Boston.
I was happy to start 2013 by reuniting with my fellow Shalamov scholars with whom I did two panels at the annual AATSEEL conference in Boston.
Of course I had to suit up for the conference!
I was very serious in the first panel where I was chair.
My mood was a little bit brighter in the second panel where I gave a paper.
On my last day in Boston – Sunday – we took a walk around the campus of Harvard. Now I can finally tell everyone I went to Harvard!
During my last days in Sweden I managed to catch an annoying throat infection from my mother; I kept it at bay while the conference was going on but when I finally made it back to Berkeley I decided that the bed is the best place for me right now. So I’ve spent two lovely days in bed while watching my favorite movies – of course I had to watch Legally Blonde for like the hundredth time after visiting Harvard [it was the movie that made me want to go to grad school and become something more than a Victoria’s Secret model in the first place] – and curing myself with plenty of hot tea and other medicines. After more than a month of sleeping in different beds and on various couches it feels so wonderful to finally be back home. In my own place, in my own bed, in a room of my own… I wish I could say that I’m really not going to go anywhere during the year of 2013 [which was kind of my New Year’s resolution] but I’m already going to a conference on dissident writing in Toronto in April. Also I’ve been personally invited to a Shalamov conference in Prague in September, and while we [the Shalamov scholars that is] were at the conference in Boston we were all invited to create another panel for an upcoming conference in the same city in November. I’m not sure if I’m going to do all of the above, but I’ve decided that I’m going to Toronto – because my paper for that conference gets me excited and because the boyfriend is going to attend the same conference with a paper of his own. Couples that conference together stay together, right? I wouldn’t mind visiting Prague again but I really want to use this year to get my act together and start working… It feels like it is time for me to get a fresh start and start doing the work I was supposed to do during a long period of time but couldn’t do because there was simply too much going on in my personal life.
Matushka mindset was something I told the boyfriend that I get into when I’m in public spaces – I especially prefer to be in matushka mindset while I’m flying or running through busy airports on my own [even though I hope I’ll be doing a lot less of that in the future] – and want to remember with what kind of person I am choosing to spend my life. It helps me remember that I’m following a man with a calling; not everyone can understand what that means but neither do they have to. I don’t have a calling myself but I think it is the most beautiful gift a person can be blessed with. The second best is to be with someone who has a calling. Some people say that is a ‘calling’ in itself but I’m not yet experienced enough to tell if this is right or not. Right now I’m just waiting for my man with a calling to get back to Berkeley – his flight lands on Thursday evening and I’m already so excited to see him. It has only been one month apart this time but even a day when we’re not together is too much. Maybe I can only realize this since I acquired my own matushka mindset – it is certainly something one must grow into. And learn to love, just as much as you love that man of yours who has been called to serve.