I’m once again in Utah for the summer, teaching and mostly enjoying it. Anyone throwing a bloggersnacker? This is the only summer ever that all three of my brothers and I will be on campus together. I’m teaching, there’s a freshman starting, one graduating and moving to DC, and one in the middle. It’s great fun. On the other hand, my wife hasn’t been able to accompany me here, and that’s not so much fun.
Last Monday, one of the faculty sat in on my class to evaluate me. I went back to his office afterwards, and his positive evaluation made me quite happy. On returning to my cubicle in a state of jubilation, I learned that my cousin Allison, previously diagnosed with leukemia and doing quite well, had died suddenly following a major relapse. She leaves behind a husband in law school and a 1-year old. I cried.
Tuesday I got sick. I canceled my two classes and stayed in bed until 2. Between the death of my cousin and probably stress and sleep-related illness, I’m not sure my students got anything coherent out of me on Wednesday and Thursday.
Thursday my family arrived. My cute nephews make everyone smile, and my family always has a good time together. We went to the viewing on Friday night, and the funeral on Saturday, and spent a good bit of extended family time. The occasion was sad, but it brought us together. Thanks to Mom and Dad’s financial contribution, we were able to get my wife out for the weekend as well.
I recently heard that I did not pass the retake of my comprehensive Akkadian exam. This was thoroughly disheartening, as I had spent a good bit of time and work preparing, and felt fairly confident. Once again, I simply ran out of time because I can’t read the $#!@! chicken-scratch script fast enough. In spite of that, I hoped that what I had been able to accomplish would be a sufficient demonstration of my Akkadian skills, since I’ll never work directly from cuneiform in my academic career. I have one more chance to pass the exam, in December. If I don’t pass that, then it’s only taken me 6.5 years to get a Master’s Degree, and I’ll probably end up looking at a new career path or different PhD programs. I think failing out of the program would really affect my self-perception, and I frankly don’t know what I’d do with myself. I’m simply going to study hard and hope they finally cut me a little slack.
In August, my wife and I are moving to Urbana, IL, where she will start a graduate program. The university there has a Religious Studies program, and I’ve been in contact with someone invovled with it. They’re trying to have me teach a Hebrew class in winter. I’ll also probably be teaching Institute once a week or so, while studying for my Akkadian exam and then (God willing) writing my dissertation. I’m excited for the new experiences. We’ve been in our current ward for six years, and though we love it and our neighborhood, we’re ready for a change. It’s all been working out well. We found someone to sublease our condo to, an LDS MBA student. My brother-in-law and nieces live in Urbana, and we’ll even be in the same ward.
Life unfolds in unpredictable and sometimes bittersweet ways, with the pleasant and positive often tempered with the negative, the unexpected, the unpleasant, and sad. But I am, overall, glad for the experience.