That was then

January 15, 2007

Such was my former life.

Since my last post, Alexander found a job back home. I got pregnant on our last holiday in expat-country. We moved. It all seemed too good to be true. And of course, it was. We had a death in the family. I developed pregnancy-induced hypertension and got put on bedrest for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy.

Then in June, I got the most beautiful baby boy. He’s called Mio here.

And that’s when my new life started.


Step by step

January 27, 2006

Almost a month later, I have accepted the teaching job. I still don’t know exactly what I’m getting myself into, because I haven’t met Dr. Previous yet. She taught the course in the past and will teach it again in the future. I hope I can use at least some of her material.

I discovered one of the perks of teaching: free textbooks! So far I’ve only requested examination copies of the books I will actually use, but I must say I’m tempted to try for at least one more.

Yesterday, I went to the Science Library on campus for the first time – that’s what you get from working at an institution rather than at the university. It’s a beautiful modern building that houses all the musty outdated books you expect a library to have. Hence, I now have a textbook from 1980 and an atlas from 1990 to review my course material. I am eagerly awaiting my newly ordered books, but for now, these older ones have to do.

It’s not too bad, actually. I remember quite a bit of what I learned over 10 years ago, and I find myself making mental notes of things to point out and emphasize in class. I’m not confident I can do it yet, but I’m just a bit more excited than scared, and that’s a good thing.

All aboard!

January 20, 2005

Whee! This Friday, I’ve got an interview for the teaching job.  The course is going to be held on Tuesday mornings. This is good because it won’t cost me evening time, thus it would would theoretically be less stressful. It is bad because I’m supposed to be working on Tuesday mornings. I should probably discuss this with my supervisor before I go for my interview.

I had to reschedule my experiments because of the interview, and planned in some lab hours for Saturday. And since I’ll be there anyway, I might as well do A, and B, and a bit of C. Seems like I’ll be in all day. Sigh.

I also started my online course today. Can’t say much yet, it was all introduction. But it could well be good.

What I did on the weekend

January 17, 2005

I decided against applying for the German job. I will probably have one chance to go to Europe for job interviews and a family visit this spring, and I thought I’d better save that chance for something I really want. Like the Lay Science Magazine job…

I did send out an e-mail about teaching that course. And afterwards, got quite nervous about it. If I get the job, that would be very nice and all, but it would also conflict with our tentative plans of trying for a baby. This is true for any future job propects, of course, but this one is a bit more real than the others.

In an ideal world, Alexander would find a full-time job back home starting in the fall, and I would get pregnant somewhere in the spring or summer. This would enable me to take a year or so off, and to work parttime or freelance for a while after that. It would be nice to develop some skills / make some contacts in the meantime that would help me get further in writing/editing and keep me up-to-date in teaching. I am working on that right now with the editing course and the teaching job I applied for.

We don’t live in an ideal world, of course, and it much more realistic that I will look for a job and then take maternity leave. It’s just that I’d find it unfair to future employers who’d offer me a position,  only to be slammed with maternity leave right away. Also, I would like to have the chance to stay home as long as feels necessary, rather than putting a child in daycare too early.

But then we might not succeed in getting pregnant quite so soon, or not at all. It also puts a lot of pressure on Alexander to find a job, and I know that’s hard on him. I guess I’ll just keep looking and we’ll go with whatever happens to come up. Oh, and let’s not forget to enjoy life in the meantime!

Opportunities galore

January 15, 2005

I haven’t decided yet whether or not to to apply to the job in Germany. I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t want the job (location, location, location), but I would like to know how I measure up. Plus, a job interview in Germany equals a flight ticket home! The problem is, they ask for two references, and I’m not quite ready to tell my supervisor that I’m considering these kinds of jobs. I think I’ll put together an application on the weekend and then see how I feel about it.

But there’s more! Today I was talking with a colleague who moonlights at College Y, teaching evening courses. I asked him how he got into it – connections, what else. He told me he had just received an offer to teach a summer course in a subject he wasn’t too interested in. It turned out to be perfect for me: well within my area of expertise, but it would require brushing up my knowledge, and I would have to develop the material. A nice challenge! Of course, there are some drawbacks: it would take a lot of time, and I’m not even sure I’m allowed to do this kind of work. I might have to get my work-permit changed. Still, I’m going to write an e-mail to say I’m interested, and we’ll take it from there.

And there’s even more! I still haven’t heard back from Lay Science Magazine regarding my application. I’m pretty sure I won’t make it to their shortlist, but so far, no news is good news.

And more! Next week my editing course starts, which I’m pretty excited about.


Parts of speech

January 11, 2005

I’m reading up on English grammar, and I find it surprisingly difficult. I’ve been taught Dutch grammar in school, obviously, but in English class we only got very rudimentary grammar. Most we learned was by reading, listening and talking. So now that I’m faced with the exact definitions of participal phrases and adverb clauses, I find it a bit daunting.

Therefore, lest I forget:

– like verbs in that they can have different tenses, can take subjects and objects and can be modified by adverbs
– unlike verbs in that they only describe action, not express it.
– 3 kinds: infinitive, gerund and participle

infinitive: (e.g. to write)
– used as a noun, adjective or adverb

gerund: (e.g. writing)
– used as a noun

– used as an adjective
– 3 kinds:
a) present participle (e.g. writing) show action going on
b) past participle (e.g. written) indicate action in the past
c) present perfect participle (e.g. having written) indicate past action extending into present time (This I remember from high school!)

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of definitions:
adjective: describes or limits a noun or pronoun
adverb: describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb

Get it over with

January 11, 2005

If I seriously consider focussing more on writing and editing, the very least I can do is finish that abstract. It’s only 500 words. I won’t have time for it tomorrow. It’s on a very familiar topic. And other people’s blogs will still be there to read when I’m done.


update: done! And I got an immediate reward: I found an interesting job opportunity. ‘Medical writer’ sounds attractive. ‘Germany’ not so much, though.