Exciting trips which nonetheless take personal space away
Friday, Mar. 29, 2019 - 7:10 pm.

Three things. 

First, I submitted my thesis last Tuesday!

Frankly, it left my hands and consequently my soul the previous Friday. By Tuesday I was just happy to know it was on its way to my examiners. My work schedule was the same as before my submission for the rest of week, so people kept asking what I was doing in the office. Even my supervisors advised a celebratory break. My second supervisor bought me a cake in the form of a hedgehog and we ate it during our lab meeting; she's so nice. 

I wish I'd had the chance to take that break and work on my book this week. I'd have finished that draft, but I have a few papers that I want to publish, too. I have the remainder of my stay in the UK* to at least get them ready for submission to journals. Who knows what's coming after that, and if I'll have the chance to get back to this piece of work. Plus, you start to forget how you did everything, and that's something that must be reported.

*I did get sad when I received my thesis package for submission. It felt like the beginning of the end of my life in the UK. 

So I didn't take a break immediately after submission. I've researched too hard to leave my results at the back of a file drawer. So this week I managed to submit the paper I'm working on with Brother #3 (outside of my PhD), and I finished the draft of one of my studies for another journal. Then I have two more papers from my PhD studies in mind. It's great having time to do these things, "hashtag blessed" indeed. 

Second, I'm seeing most of my family in May. 

Andrew and I are going to the US in the second half of May. One week in New Mexico with Brother #2, one in Houston with Brother #1. I was so looking forward to sharing with Andrew the places and experiences that made me so happy growing up. These include having my brother's house to myself during the day, while everyone is off to work or school, just to lounge around in peace in a pretty house. 

That won't be happening, at least not as I envisioned it. This week I learned that my parents will be joining us for. The. Entire. Trip. I was angry and frustrated when I found out. I love my parents, but I've lost practice in being around them, their relationship dynamics are more unnerving as they've gotten older, and I'm not quite patient to begin with. Less so since I came out of the closet. But for the record, I am going back into the closet around my family. Thankfully, I don't need them to know.

Anyway, yes. I was very angry and frustrated. I thought of asking my siblings (they were the ones buying their plane tickets) to reduce my parents' length of stay, so I could have a few days alone with Andrew. But in any way I wrote that request, it sounded really shitty of me. My four siblings look after my parents one way or another throughout the year, one way or another. I don't. I just call them once a week.

I also thought that I should feel grateful that I'll get to spend time with them. They've both been through cancer (and died a few times in my head) multiple times since 2011, and yet they're still around, relatively healthy. Look, I *am* grateful. After the initial anger and shock at the news of their trip, I genuinely started to feel grateful for the chance of being with them.

Plus, I think my sister is coming, and Brother #3 might join in, too. Brother #1 is turning 50 the day Andrew and I arrive in the US. That sounds like a celebration, and hey, I've spent several holiday seasons heartbroken over not being with them. So it does feel wrong to complain, and I actually don't feel like complaining anymore. 

I am wary, however, of exposing Andrew to my family for so long. Oh, Andrew. My poor baby. Two weeks of being around his in-laws. Two weeks surrounded by my parents and siblings and their partners and children. They're all fond of him and he gets along well with them, but I know it'll be exhausting for him. I'm willing to give him all the space he needs, and of course make some time for just the two of us. And generally speaking, my family are pretty sensible in regards of each other's personal space, so it might not be that bad. 

Third, Andrew and I are going to Iceland on Monday!

We haven't prepared at all, what with our running around this week with our theses (he finished his draft today), and various social engagements. 

Right, so for this trip, we're looking at six days in a camper van, driving around with two friends from Chile, a married couple. Not the ones that came to visit a few weeks ago, another couple. The guy is Andrew's long-time friend. I really like them both, and they've been amazing to us on several occasions (just this week, they received a box with 34 of the books I bought here, which they will take with them back to Chile). But, as with my family, it can get become too much.

I curse the moment in which I could have said but did not say "let's no get ourselves in a camper van with two other people to be on the freezing road for six days", but I honestly don't know when that moment happened. Now I'm restless. I've had the privilege of personal space pretty much of all my life, and I'll sorely miss it this week. I'll miss having a fucking bathroom, and eating something that is not canned food, and not being outside with snow and negative temperatures. I don't do adventures, they're not my thing. 

Yes, OK, I'll have the most breathtaking views in front of me, so it'll probably be worth the sacrifice. Of course I'm taking my camera. But I also bought a Moleskine notebook which will be my refuge. Andrew has to do some work on his thesis, so thankfully we're taking my laptop too, and maybe I'll get the chance to work on my book. I hope nothing happens to my laptop. I hope the trip goes well. 

Wait, one more thing.

Today, when I was supposed to find myself out of the European Union but didn't, I saw three road-related incidents. A squashed animal (a hedgehog, a squirrel, a fox?) down the road near my house. A car which made a loud noise and stopped next to Andrew and I in the city centre, and we realized the tire had exploded. Another car which hit another car, again right next to us, when we were walking up the hill to our house (less than half a block away from the squashed animal). It's probably a coincidence, I hope it is, but put together, it's all exceedingly weird. 

Ok, so I'll write again when we're back from Iceland, hopefully, after next weekend. Be well. 

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