Sunday, September 19, 2010

Busy like a bee, feeling kinda homesick.

I've been working pretty hard and pretty long hours. I've finished the first 4 weeks of teaching, and while I feel I finally have a handle on the lesson planning aspect (I'm preparing 2 entirely new courses, one of which is graduate level statistics which is a bitch to prepare for), I haven't gotten much research done at all- but I keep becoming more and more efficient, and I've found a few shortcuts (like an awesome website at my university that has videos on pretty much every academic subject) so hopefully I will be able to fit some research in soon.

For about the past month we've been doing school- and neighborhood-related social activities nearly every weekend (new faculty events for 2 weekends in a row, a party that second weekend at a prof's house, a small gathering at another prof's house the weekend after that, and then a neighborhood block party last weekend- we also have a dinner at the school president's house this wednesday). This weekend I finally got to just veg for the whole weekend. Of course when I veg I get bored, and when I'm bored I get kinda lonely...while I didn't have a lot of close friends in the city I last lived in by the time I moved away (almost all my closest friends had graduated or just moved on before I did), I was only 2 hours from my "real" friends- my friends for life- the people I first met in high school and who more or less went OTD with me. I was also within 2 hours of several of the friends I made during grad school who had moved on. Now they are 10 hours away, and I've finding being 10 hours away from my friends a lot more lonely than being 2 hours away. The worst part is that my 3 closest friends in NJ (one of which is my brother) all live with their parents, who probably definitely would not welcome me for a sleepover, especially not with B, let alone our 2 dogs. They all used to come visit me cause I had a place everyone could crash at. But 10 hours is a little far for spur of the moment visits, and I'm really feeling that.

I also am far from my whole music scene, and the music here is not super great- I don't have any of my music friends who go to shows with me living close by (which is part of the reason I like going to shows so much- always seeing the same awesome people over and over again), and good music doesn't really come through the area that much-there's only a show I'd be interested in seeing maybe once a month or once every other month. In my old city I could go to shows by great bands at least 2-3 nights a week if I had the energy.

At least I have B though. When I first moved to grad school (that 2 hour move) I was completely on my own and didn't make any friends for about 5-6 months. Now I have B, and we go out to restaurants and such- we've been doing a brunch tour of our new city (we like brunch) and so far have tried out 4 different restaurants for brunch. We have a resturaunt guide and have basically decided we will slowly work our way through most/all the resturaunts in town. There's some pretty great food here, and we can afford to go out to eat fairly frequently now that I'm not a grad student anymore (our usual expenses haven't risen much at all- our mortgage + insurance + taxes is about 20$ more a month than our rent was before- but my salary has gone up)

But it would still be nice to have some friends beyond B...I've been kinda friendly with this one adjunct prof in my department, and me and B went to a gathering there on labor day, which we had a lot of fun at...but we are still colleagues, so there is still that professional distance thing I feel like is always there. I have no idea how I will meet any friend possibilities beyond my job though, as the only people I really come in contact with are my colleagues and my students. We've met a few of our neighbors at the block party- most seemed to be retirees or couples our age with kids, not a lot of other kid-less couples. Not that people with kids are uncool, just at a different phase of life than we are.

Anyways when I get homesick I cook comfort food, and I have a whole comfort food plan for the next week. Today I'm making my old favorite, baked mac and cheese (only fancier with 4 kinds of cheese including smoked goat cheese from the awesome farmer's market goat lady and lots of herbs) then I have a whole plan that involved grocery shopping, 3 days of eating a rotisserie chicken + brown rice for dinner, then using the rotisserie chicken carcass + some more chicken to make a ton of chicken soup (to mostly freeze, but also to eat that night). Might make some matza balls, if we can find matza meal at the local grocery store- but I doubt we will. I'm going to try to find some I can order online so that when we defrost some of the chicken soup later we can make matza ball soup with it.

While making the chicken soup I'm also going to make kishka from a very well reviewed veggie kishka recipe I found on and soak some beans and defrost meat for cholent, and then next day I'm going to make cholent with my mom's old recipe (which includes a marrow bone that I also got at the farmer's market) with kishka in it. At some point I'm also going to make my mom's meatball recipe- possibly after the cholent.

We might not have spoken to each other since her and B met at my PhD graduation in May, but my mom's food still makes me feel better, and it's been so many years since I've had cholent (and kishke!)- probably 6 at least- that I have really been craving some lately.

I've had pretty much no contact with other jews or jewish culture anything here since moving here, and I'm a bit nostalgic for it. It's especially noticeable now during the high holidays when my facebook friend's list is exploding in talk about rosh hashana, yom kippur and sukkot, while in my real life things continue on perfectly normally. Even in grad school I went to a school with a huge orthodox population in it, so even though I never participated in anything (at least for my last 4 years of grad school) there were still jews around, doing visibly jewish things, like a comfort blanket. Now I gotta make my own chicken soup and cholent with kishka it is! :)


  1. awwww! Wish I could send some of my Jewish holiday foods to you! Somehow we always miss mom's home cookin'.

  2. I feel for you, AE. I actually wrote a post on my blog in late July or August in which I talked about feeling homesick for my friends in GradSchoolTown now that I am married, living in NYC, and working as a postdoc. Many of my friends are nearby, if not in NYC somewhere, then in NJ or PA or whatever, but it's not the same as having everyone within walking distance. This is especially true since the mainstay of my social life (such as it is) has always been Shabbat. We joined a shul here, and it's very nice, but it's not like the community in GradSchoolTown. I don't have friends yet at my most recent postdoc, which I admit I started September 1. It helps a lot to have my husband here. I guess the point is that feeling homesick is only natural, not that knowing that helps much with the homesickness. Just know that you're not alone!

  3. I'm laughing that you are an member.


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