I am fully aware this is coming four months after my last post, when I'd originally said I'd try to write every two weeks. Grad school can be like that sometimes. I promise there's been great tales of adventure and loss, raucous nights of drinking, cafe philosophizing, museum openings, crying in exhibitions, sleep deprivation, high anxiety, days I lived on coffee and ramen and wondered why my face was bloated, trips to disappointing cliffs and beautiful, gentle lavender fields and more. I performed all of my case study research. My family came to visit for a golden week of shenanigans and I cried harder than I have in months when they left. So much has gone down. But right there's 100% cloud cover outside, I'm recovering from a nasty burn on my leg (from spilling boiling tea on my thigh at a friend's going-away party), I just applied for a job at Princeton after fuming over US jobs in general, and I have a second to write something down.
To be honest, I'm tired. Down in my bones, to the edges of my soul. I'm grinding through dissertation, applying for jobs (!), work part-time, have to move to a townhouse south of the River in less than two weeks because uni accommodation is kicking us out, still helping out at my museum, and today instead of receiving the small canvas backpack I'd ordered to use for travel and work, the company sent me a glittery purse in the shape of a panda head. I'm not making this up.
I also realised something kind of worrying. I'm still very American...but not quite. I've adapted something of the other, enough that I felt like an outsider listing my qualifications on the American version of my resume. That's another thing. I have different versions of resume/CV depending on which country I'm applying to.
I've been writing for a British audience for months. Even though auto-correct still reverts it to American English on my social media and messages to family, I've been collecting extra u's and s's instead of z's for months now. I write programme, not program. If I see a date written the American way, I do a double-take. While my voice and turns of phrase (last night I said, 'Oh snap, did he bounce?' about a customer who left everything at the till without paying and my Italian and British coworkers lost their damn minds) are still distinctly, colloquially American, I was writing a supporting statement for an American job today and had to root out all the British spellings and nuances. And there were a lot.
The other week, my mom had asked what I would do if I moved to smaller place or a city in the US because of all the foods I eat, a ton of which is international and would probably frighten some of my relatives (like tempura-battered seaweed and fried squid tentacles...even zucchini freaked one of my sisters out). I still can't believe how cheap fruits and vegetables are here, and friends were aghast when I admitted I don't live in a place where mangoes grow locally. I've become a coffee and bubble tea snob. Because of my part-time job (and my flat), I know enough to be picky about vodkas, beers, and soju. The fridge in our flat is almost always brimming with Ossau-Iraty cheese and kimchi, so much so we really should just make both of them ourselves by the barrel. A few nights ago I tried to figure out where on earth you could even find kimchi remotely near my hometown. I still haven't figured that one out. Might have to make it myself.
I'm currently applying to jobs within the UK and the US, so hopefully I won't have to figure out the answer to that too soon. I won't say where because it'll jinx it, but there's a place up north I'm very much hoping to get into. I've been applying to places in between everything else and praying something sticks.
Next month, my programme comes to a close and I can't even begin to fathom how it passed so quickly, or how I can walk at night through this place with the stone beneath my feet and the light of cabs and buses so familiar I could move through the area with my eyes closed. I am nowhere near the person I was when I signed in here in September. And I don't know where I'm going next. I'm happy to close the book on academia and actually begin my career--on the other hand, it is sad to think that I'm done. I've made my academic decisions and now have to utilise them to the best of my ability.
Because it will be sad when this ends. I am horrified for the day when we turn in our dissertations and everyone scatters like dandelion fluff--some because they never wanted to stay in the first place, those returning to boyfriends and girlfriends, those who have to get right back to jobs. Sadly, most of those are far away across oceans and continents, not very close to London or my home at all. One night maybe a month ago, my flatmate described those of us attempting to get sponsored for work in the UK as crawling around on the ground, clawing at the earth to stay put. She had a fair point. We'll see what happens.
Official website of Rachael Kosinski, 24.
Pen for hire.