– There are more kinds of soy-based protein products out there than I could have ever imagined. And many of them are pretty good. And Ithaca produces at least half of them.
– Along similar lines, vegetarianism doesn’t mean rice cakes and spongy tofu. Thank goodness.
– With some practice, I, too, can learn to walk up hills without fearing heart attack. Particularly if I have to sprint 90 steps up the side of a gorge every day I teach (nothing like running late for motivation!).
– If I force myself to take regular walks I will get to the point where I need them, prioritize them, and look to them for relief from migraines, desk-restlessness, and other problems. And I’ve learned that I can walk in Ithaca’s coldest weather, even if it’s less pleasant than a dewy spring morning.
– That whole baby-backpacking thing is great. Absolutely great. Here everyone does it, whether a hippie or no. I realize it’s not for everyone, but it has really worked for our family and will be a lifesaver as we move to England.
– To appreciate beautiful areas by getting out and using them, as much as life allows, and not just take a peek when we have company . . . and also to use company as an excuse to get outside and enjoy beautiful scenery (yes, all of you wonderful people who have visited, only to find yourself being coerced up a gorge ridge).
– That the compartmentalized life does not pay off. I’m reminded here of some of the benefits of having work and home not complete strangers to one another. Our department secretaries knew we were expecting a baby, so they worked out a teaching schedule for us that wouldn’t have us teaching at the same time. I see my students around town and get to watch them grow up. And I take Katherine to campus frequently, both to make use of the lovely lawn and to make lots of students smile as they pass. It’s nice to remember, every now and then, the entire world is not populated by 18-22-year-olds.
– How to run the academic marathon, rather than burn out by treating it like a sprint. I’ve seen something of the long hours my professors work, but I’ve also seen them trying to live a little, and I’ve started to find my pace.
– Moving is hard, particularly when it seems that nearly everyone in your town is doing it, too, but it’s important to make good, deep friendships regardless of the short stay. Thinking transiently serves no one.
– The more people that cook in a family (and in a community), the better. There’s always plenty of it to go around, and it’s fantastic to share the enthusiasm with your family members. The only problem is the skyrocketing grocery bill, but in the scheme of things . . . It’s also been great to live with Christi and be able to swap recipes (and just have someone walk over with a steaming bowl of curry when you walk in starving).
– That I married an impressive shoveler. Sydney can clear the driveway in twenty minutes even after a sizable snow. I’ll make sure that we spend most of our lives in a place where I can make use of this skill.