Ten years ago – in 2003 – I celebrated my first birthday in the US: I turned 18 somewhere in Tennessee. When I was 18 I thought the scant outfit above was appropriate for wear in public but that’s not why I’m bringing up this birthday. When I came of legal age, my father gave me a card with 30$ in it – he didn’t understand why I was disappointed even though we all remembered my brother had gotten a car for his 18th birthday a year and a half earlier. Whenever anyone speaks about Sweden as leading in equality I relate this event which will one day – unfortunately – become emblematic of female narratives.
Be that as it may; ten years later – the year is 2013 – I celebrated my fourth birthday in the US: I turned 28 in northern California. After a cloudy day spent enjoying art at Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the fiancé took me to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory where I realized my mouth is not big enough for American burgers. I’m glad I lived long enough to acquire this knowledge.
When I wrote the past entry here on the blog on June 3 I did not intend for some seven weeks of silence to follow. I suspect it is the longest hiatus from blogging I’ve had since I began chronicling my life for the public in 2006… But when I quit smoking in May – the only pastime I have fully devoted myself to – many things started to transform because of it. My life used to be made up of evenings writing and smoking alone. Not anymore.
So what have I been up to instead of blogging? Working. In May I was naïve and thought I would finish this requirement my PhD program has – to turn in a publishable paper after the third year – by June 1. Instead, I spent most of June working on something that I thought was pretty good… until it turned out to be just an initial draft with which to begin working.
Then in the middle of June I caught a bug. This picture was taken in the beginning of my weeks [!] of sickness; I’m happy because I don’t know I’m going to be seriously sick soon.
This photograph is historic because it was taken on Friday June 21, the very same day that I developed an ear infection three days before I started teaching a summer course. I’m happy here because I do not yet know the struggle that awaits me: to teach elementary Russian with partial hearing. That’s right – I lost hearing on my right ear for about ten days.
Life with a partner is blessed – for many reasons, but also because nobody but your partner takes pictures of you when you have fever. What is love baby don’t hurt me no more…
Be that as it may, I stuffed myself full with pain killers and got to work: eight weeks of 2,5 hour evening classes every day except for Friday awaited me.
Slowly my hearing returned and we celebrated July 4 in San Francisco: first, dinner with our spiritual father and then fireworks!
With two fully functioning ears I tried my best to entertain myself while working very long days – doing research and planning classes during the days and then teaching at night.
Of course there was more paperwork: since I submitted the paper in mid-June I’ve managed two re-writes after two sets of readers’ reactions. Now I guess it’ll soon be time to start writing that anticipated fourth version…
I must confess I do not work ALL THE FREAKING TIME, although my initial reaction when I bought Mindy Kaling’s book [she is my hero] was to grab a stack of post-its in case I’d come across something I’d want to cite at a later point. Of course I never put any post-it in it and oh is that an engagement ring on your right finger? Yes. [See what I did there?]
I will not show you any photos of our engagement [for obvious reasons] but this one of me jumping off some train tracks in California perfectly captures the feeling. On June 28 2013 the boyfriend got down on his knee on Highway 1 a little south of Carmel and asked me if I’d marry him in three languages. I said ja, yes, and da. Since then he has been my fiancé and will thus remain until January 25 2014 when we’ll tie the knot.
To sum things up: this is 28!