The very bored-looking customs agent just perused my passport and told me, “You really get around.” I’m still trying to figure out what to make of that.
It’s not yet six in the morning and I’m waiting at my gate in the Halifax airport for a flight to Virginia. This weekend I’m going to a workshop with a pile of Faulkner scholars and I’m really excited: I’ve been looking forward to this conference for almost a year. We’ve all been working in pairs and trios to put together maps of Faulkner’s short stories for use in the classroom, and this weekend is our chance to hash out problem areas before we start tackling his novels. It will also be a great way to get my Faulkner brain back into action before next weekend’s major Faulkner conference, at which I’m giving a paper. One of the highlights of both Faulkner events is my chance to meet up with a friend, Dotty, whom I met at last year’s conference. She and I are working together on this digital enterprise, and we’re part of the same panel of speakers at next week’s conference. She is also living abroad with two small children, and she’s just finishing up her dissertation. We’ve had a lot of correspondence about Faulkner, children, academia, and life abroad. It will be wonderful to connect in person after so much writing back and forth.
I’ll be catching a late-evening flight out of VA to get back to Halifax before midnight on Saturday, so that I can be back for Nelson’s wedding on Sunday. My future sister-in-law, Kira, and I have worked the farmer’s market together a few Saturday mornings, which has given me a chance to get to know her, and I am incredibly excited that Nelson has made such a good match. Smart, level-headed, and easy-going: she’s the exact opposite of a bridezilla. I’m so excited to see things unfold on Sunday.
Earlier this week, Nelson, Sydney, the kids, and I headed to Halifax to buy the guys black suits (Sydney’s only suit is from our wedding, and it’s a dark grey), and to pick up a tux for Nathaniel. Nelson seemed reasonably okay not only with being on a trip to a mall, but also with having two small children in tow. Kudos to him on both accounts. Nathaniel looks like a doll in his tux, and he clearly loved the attention he got from the sales ladies, so we’re eager to see how he does on the big day. Katherine knows that I’m going to be away for a few days, but that I’ll be back to encourage the two of them down the aisle. Everyone in our family is participating in the wedding: I’m corralling the kids and reading a short passage during the wedding ceremony, Sydney’s standing up as Nelson’s best man, and the kids are the flower girl and boy–or, “flower children,” a term whose hippie connotations makes me feel like I’m still back in Ithaca.
On Tuesday we are all headed to the airport: Sydney to fly to London for his visa interview, and the kids and me to fly to Iowa, where the poor Birdsong grandparents are currently recovering from their recent moving adventures. Earlier this week, Mom, Dad, and Adam drove our truck full of books down to Kentucky, where David and Lisa appeared like the welcoming committee–with lunch and a pile of moving volunteers from their church. Good thing, too: I think all three of my family members were tired out. Mom and Dad are still recovering, and I won’t be surprised if Adam sleeps for three days straight. I’ll be sorting out exactly what went wrong with the moving companies we were working with (sigh), but for now, all of our things are safely tucked into the house we’ve rented from Asbury, and my family came away with a very favorable impression of the place where we’re going to be moving in less than two weeks.
When I look back on all the major moves that we’ve made in the past few years, I’ve thanked my lucky stars each time for our amazing friends and family. They’ve always been there to pitch in and do some ugly, sweaty work, and I am not sure they’ll ever know how grateful we were for their help getting us get to our next adventure in life without crying or falling apart from trying to do it alone. I’m so glad that you find yourself in the same sitution with your families and in Kentucky too!