As we’ve been making plans to wrap up our time here in Oxford, the kids have been doing their part. Nathaniel has recently taken to launching himself from his crib–nose-first. He’s apparently ready to fly.
Katherine has suddenly gotten quite curious about where we live, where we are going to live, and where her grandparents live–so I’m going out today to get a good map book for her.
Both kids have figured out that moving will have some advantages for them. They’ve been enjoying my cupboard-clearing efforts, since I’ve gotten a bit more creative with my cooking. And then there are days when Sydney decides to use up my stores of tahini by making hummus and halva (really? we needed something that looks and tastes like fudge just sitting in the fridge?), or opts to make a pineapple crisp for supper. As you might guess, the kids are enjoying the dessert-as-supper days. And as the weather has gotten a tiny bit warmer I’ve been trying to take them to all of our favorite parks and playgrounds in town.
After several years of living with the uncertainty of not knowing where we will be moving next, we are enjoying a great sigh of relief as we prepare to make a home in Kentucky. I’m joining the English Department at Asbury University, and Sydney will be doing what he does best–a lot of things at once. He’s going to be teaching philosophy at Asbury, continuing his research, and he has his heart set on a farm as soon as we find land that we can afford. There is a lot about our future there that we don’t know yet, but we have a chance to do what each of us likes most: I’ll get to throw myself into teaching and research and the life of a department, and Sydney will get to fashion his desired proportions of academic work, farming, and a host of other interests that have been waiting in the wings during our time in Oxford. I’m eager to see what he comes up with, if a bit apprehensive about the scale of his ambitions 🙂 The kids will be in preschool some of the time, but the administrators at the university have already made clear that they will do everything possible to work with us on teaching schedules so that Sydney and I can work out childcare between us. The university has been very welcoming to us as a family, and I think we stand a better chance there of being able to juggle family and work than in just about any other place that I can imagine.
We’re particularly excited about this move because, after three years of being largely on our own in Oxford, we’re now moving to a place where we have good friends: David and Lisa Swartz and their four children (two of whom happen to be roughly the ages of Katherine and Nathaniel). When I interviewed at Asbury last month, hugs from David between meetings (he also teaches as Asbury), and an early-morning walk out to their house to chat with Lisa, really kept me grounded–and sane. I also played games with the kids and realized that I should keep an eye on their oldest boys to get an inkling of what parenting will be like for us as Katherine and Nathaniel get a bit older.
At the moment, our heads are filled with the complications of what amounts to a Great Migration from England to Kentucky, but I know that, once we actually arrive in Kentucky, everything we do from there on out will be part of making a home and community, and that gives me great peace of mind. Just to give you a sense of our crazy summer, we’ll be spending time with both families (Nova Scotia and Iowa), I have two academic conferences (Virginia and Mississippi), we have belongings to move (from both England and New York), and Sydney doesn’t yet have permission to live and work in the US (U.S. immigration, you’re going to be hearing from me if it doesn’t happen soon). So, you will hear more on those fronts (relayed in, I hope, a spirit of adventure rather than complaint, but no promises) as the months pass. But it will be a short summer: Sydney and I have a lot of academic work to be done here before we leave, I depart for Nova Scotia with the kids in early June, and classes at Asbury begin in mid-August!