Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

A day in the Middlebury life of Jeremy

Jeremy's office door in Middlebury. His name is the first line written on the whiteboard.

Now that we're back in Tucson (and I've finally accepted it, as my blog design suggests), lots of people are asking the fairly innocuous question, "So, how was your summer?" The problem is, they'll get very different answers from Jeremy and me.

If I'm the one to answer, I'll give them some cosy, feel-good answer in the manner of this post. It's the truth, certainly, but it's a different version of the truth than the one that Jeremy can give.

Because while Miriam and I were enjoying a dream-like fairyland of all-day outdoor play and no cooking, Jeremy was, well, working (you may recall that's the reason we were in Middlebury in the first place). My husband, poor soul, always seems to get the raw end of the deal - he takes our family to wonderful places all around the world and then has to be busy the whole time we're there. In Moscow, he worked in a windowless office in the Embassy from 8am to 6pm and sometimes didn't see the sun for days at a time. I, on the other hand, had, at times, two or three jobs going on all over the massive city and was having the time of my life.

So for all of you who are dying to ask how our summer was, and want to hear the version that has not been sanitized for public consumption during polite, brief conversation, here you go.

Many days, Jeremy was up and out the door before Miriam and I even woke up - class started at 8.30 and went all morning until lunchtime. If we were lucky - and we often were - we got to sit with Jeremy at lunch for at least half an hour or so. Of course, when you're sitting with your husband at a table with half a dozen students, and you're all speaking in Arabic, there's not a lot of familial chit-chat going on. But still, we were happy to see him.

After lunch, it was time for more classes, until late afternoon when he would come home (yay!) and grade papers or homework (boo!). At least we got to enjoy his presence.

Sometimes he had time to play with Miriam on our way to dinner, sometimes not. But we always got to sit by him for that meal (although in the same situation as lunch).

Hepburn Hall, home of most of the Arabic students and also Jeremy's office.

Most nights of the week, there was some kind of activity right after dinner, so Miriam and I would play on campus or head home alone. Also most nights of the week, Jeremy had office hours for his students from 8pm to 10pm. If he was able to come home right at 10, he still had lots of grading and preparation to do before...

...the next day, when all of this would repeat. You can see that it was possible (and indeed did happen) for us to not see him for what seemed like days at a time, except during meals.

There were always fun activities going on sponsored by the Arabic School, but such activities become less fun when they're basically mandatory for the teachers. So Miriam and I would go to, say, the soccer game with Jeremy, but then we'd spend the whole time cheering on our team in Arabic. Again, not a lot of bonding or catching-up opportunities there.

The saddest moment of the summer came one evening when Jeremy was leaving the house to go to a nighttime meeting (7.30 - 9ish, in addition to office hours) and Miriam burst into tears while saying, "Dada, I don't want you to go to your meeting!"

But he survived, somehow, and now I think Miriam (and Magdalena) and I are all driving him a little bit crazy since he basically hasn't been around us all summer. At least in Middlebury he had an office in a separate building so he didn't have to listen to all our noise. Still, I'm sure he's glad to be done with his intensive summer of teaching. His family is certainly glad to have him back.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention that Jeremy estimates that he only missed 2 hours of work for Magdalena's birth. Part of that was because Magdalena was born on a Sunday, but still. I wasn't kidding when I said the first thing he did after my water broke was to start furiously grading homework so he could get ahead.

If only I were making this up

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