Friends, Travel, Mischief

It’s almost the end of July — almost the end of the summer. I kind of can’t believe it, mostly because in Zembla the summer doesn’t start until June 16th and doesn’t end until September 30th or thereabouts (this is just due to the differing schedules at Zembla University and Wordsmith). July just doesn’t feel like the end of anything for me. July should be a month spent in flip flops, working on my tan and sulking that I have nothing to do. The horrible knowledge that I will have to deal with school starting up again in about three weeks (THREE MOTHERFUCKING WEEKS) is, haha, mildly terrifying.

Another reason the end of the summer seems to be assaulting me with such force is that in about a week or so, half of my Very Good Friends from Wordsmith will be leaving town, moving far, far away where oodles of money and possible tenure and teaching and/or publishing glory await them. Out of the dozen or so people who got hired along with me, these six of us have become a very close group, and we’ve built a lot of fun memories in the past year. I am in complete denial that three of them will be gone so soon. (What? Leaving? LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.)

Their success is a truly happy thing, though: they’re all brilliant and talented, and it would be a travesty if they hadn’t been able to find such great positions, even in the admittedly slim job market. It also gives me hope for finding a similarly great job opportunity for myself in the next couple of years. Of course, it’s also incredibly good to have friends with good experiences on the (terrifying) job market who are always offering to help with practice job talks, mock interviews, and reading/reviewing articles. There’s a closeness and collegiality in this department that was sorely lacking among the many rank, festering assholes by whom I was surrounded in Zembla. Um, what? I never said that TO THEIR FACES.

So, anyway. Three of my good, good friends are leaving very soon, so we have been trying to spend as much time together as possible before that happens. Yesterday, we saddled up and rode out into the country in search of good barbeque, music, and general festivities. On the way we passed many a ramshackle house and many a herd of goats (also: donkeys, horses, and cows — this was the COUNTRY, people!). We found the barbeque and ate so much we declared ourselves pregnant with giant pig babies — man, can I tell you how much it hurts when those pig babies start kicking with their many little hooves?! — but wound up forgoing the music fest (too expensive) in favor of coming back to New Wye and spending the evening floating around the pool and drinking wine.

Tomorrow we are driving to the city in my friend B.’s sister’s minivan (we are just that fancy) to pick up my friend D. at the airport. She’s returning from a summer at home in Germany, and then she’ll be leaving town again in the next week for her new job. While in town we’ll visit the twin meccas of IKEA and H&M, and, although I plan not to spend any (much?) money, I am quite excited to admire their cheap and fashionable European-style wares.

There’s plenty of excitement afoot here in New Wye, but much of it is so bittersweet — knowing that these three women who have become such good friends to me over the last year are going to be gone so soon casts a bit of a shadow over the otherwise fun activities. If I think about it too much I’ll just start to get all misty, and we can’t have that, at least not yet.

In other fun friend news, the great Suomichris (grad school and Stupid Bank colleague from Zembla U.) will be visiting this part of the country next week! We’ll be hanging out with our mutual friend W., who lives in another college town a couple of hours away from me, and I can tell you that we will likely get pretty effing rowdy. I haven’t seen him since I returned to Zembla to defend my dissertation back in November, and haven’t seen W. since some time before that. I suppose it’s comforting to know that, despite cross-country moves (something to which all of us academics in the U.S. have to steel ourselves, like it or not), good friends can still find ways of coming together, and of not losing touch. This is a good thing.

In the midst of all this, I have got to be planning my curriculum for Fall Semester and getting my second article out to the Journal of Awesomeness, but I think I’ll find a way to clock the necessary hours at my desk in spite of all the plans that will take me out and about, across the region. If I can’t manage to nourish my friendships at the same time as my career, the career doesn’t really amount to much, does it?

So how do you find the balance between your friends/family and your job/school life?

3 thoughts on “Friends, Travel, Mischief

  1. melanie July 21, 2008 / 8:39 pm

    i’m sorry your gang is splitting up. i know that’s no fun. it’s good that you see the silver lining, though. and who knows where you may end up! (i mean that in a good way, not in an ominous way.) balance is difficult. i always feel like i’m forgetting someone or something. and then, if you do manage to fit everything in, you’re so busy that the time totally flies without your noticing. so i’m not sure which i prefer; i think i’m okay with sussing it all out in due time. when in doubt, revert to the scarlett o’hara “i’ll think about that tomorrow” method. after all, someone has to represent the dirty south.

  2. Julia July 31, 2008 / 11:37 am

    I know exactly how you feel about the friends situation. All of my friends are about to leave for college and I’m in complete denial about the fact that we’re about to be separated. It’s so sad.

  3. Alfina the Vague August 1, 2008 / 8:52 pm

    Thanks for the sympathy, you guys. It’s good not to have to think about this stuff in a vacuum.

    (Also, it always takes me three tries to spell “vacuum” to the satisfaction of Firefox’s spell checker. Good gravy! Maybe I should just start using the word “void” instead, huh?)

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