22 January 2012


Gabriel's superfun aunt and uncle left this morning, after a great visit. It rained basically the whole time they were here, but we still fit in a lot of walking around Brussels and Leuven, and managed to include the real essentials for any local tour: Belgian waffles, Belgian beer, Belgian platters of meat, and Belgian chocolate (although I personally could only indulge in two of the above). Plus lots of relaxed hanging out, dinners at home, and solid nephew-aunt-uncle time.

We abandoned them for a little while yesterday to attend the birthday party of a friend's four-year-old, pretty much a selfish move, because I was hoping to expand our circle of acquaintances here in town. And so it was: we met a bunch of really great people, many connected to the university, most with small children. In short order, I was invited to join a book club, and was asked to be part of a small poetry discussion group with two theology doctoral students, their side interest being modern and contemporary poetry. I am SO excited about both of these, as much for the getting-to-know people part as for the getting-to-talk about literature part. (Especially for the poetry discussion: I am very eager to get to do more in-depth study of some of my favorite poets. We're going to start with Celan, and move on to Akhmatova and maybe Dickinson, then Vallejo, then Rukeyser... You'd think a PhD would have made me tired of all this but I'm ridiculously happy to get back on board! There are still such gaps in my knowledge, and I always want to revisit favorites, so this is the perfect way to read broadly and deeply.)

Then today we were invited to lunch at the home of a colleague of the Mister's, whose wife is doing a postdoc and has already published her dissertation (she studies literature too). So she had some good advice for me and has warmly told me to come to her with questions about the whole process of post-PhD next steps, which I'm sure I will. They are a cross-cultural couple, too (Irish and Portuguese), and they have a little girl, and she's looking for an academic job in the area, so there is much common ground and it's nice to have spent some time with them.

Plus, Facebook has reconnected me with a host of people: Bloomington folks, especially my mom-friends there and a strong parenthood support network, as well as long-lost friends from middle school before we moved away from Pennsylvania. It's so much fun to feel a part of things and see what people are up to.

All in all, the last few days have been more social than the norm (my norm, I should say), which is encouraging and makes me happy. Peering ahead into the newborn-stage wilderness (it may be beautiful, but it's also wild and wooly), I know that it helps ever so much to be supported and surrounded by community, and we're slowly building that community here in this new place.

1 comment:

Caela said...

I have been surprised at how motherhood has made me more of an extrovert. I used to keep to myself much more, but something about being alone with a young child has really made me crave connections. I wonder if this is something that happens to lots of people? I wonder if it will last? I am really happy you're making connections close to home and online!