January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I am doing the new year’s thing, taking a quiet few minutes to look back over my blog from the past year (sparse as it is), reflect on the year that was and think ahead to the year to come.  

From my 2008 New Year post:

So what about 2008?  I’ve not made any resolutions or non-resolutions this time. To be honest between being a mum, working and planning a PhD  I haven’t had the time or head space to think about it.  Any goals I have for them moment revolve around the PhD.  I have set myself the somewhat ambitious task of getting through the first year’s work (full proposal and literature review) before September so that we can go to Honduras to do a Spanish school and attend a conference.

This means I will be working very hard for a while.  But not at the expense of my family.  I guess my real goal for the year is to get this PhD underway while continuing to be the best mum and wife I can be.  Lets hope I can be at least as sucessful this year as I was in 2007- I can’t afford not to be.

So how did 2008 measure up?  Well I certainly didn’t complete the full years work before September (that was overly ambitious!) but I have done a fair chunk of it and was able to get to the conference, do a couple of weeks of spanish classes and even start some early interviews and data collection.  The study is very much on track.

Although I don’t think I blogged about it I was quite worried going into 2008 about how my daughter would handle the changes- moving towns, Mummy doing full time study, starting childcare and travel.  But she was amazing.  We had a few hiccups settling her into childcare (“I want Mummy to stay with me…”) but she’s now going happily 3 days per week (4 days from next week…).  I do find I need to work on the balance and make sure we have plenty of Mummy time, or she gets very clingy, but overall we seem to have found a good balance.

I’m not sure if I have found much balance with my long-suffering husband, and feel like I failed him a little this year.  Once again health problems have limited his ability to complete his studies or find regular work.  He is a wonderful Dad and I honestly don’t know if I would have made much progress on the PhD if he hadn’t been available to pick up most of the childcare and home responsibilities but thinking about that too much only makes me feel more guilty. I really hope this year is the one in which he finally is able to make some progress on his own dreams.

So what are my goals for 2009?

Obviously I want to make significant progress on the PhD- complete the confirmation procedures in February which means finishing the proposal and literature reviews, and then get into the data collection.  This will require about 6 months in Honduras, as well as significant amounts of online research.  By the end of the year I’d like to have the data collection completed, analysis underway and be thinking about some serious writing.

This means another year of hard work and travel.  It also means another year of changes and instability for my daughter and makes things tricky for my husband.  While there is not much I can do about his health except hope and pray, I approach this year more cautiously as I am much more aware now of just how messed up things can get.  I really don’t have any answers and can only keep trying to support him in the best way I can. I suspect this year may become one of investigation and planning as we think about where we want to settle and what we want to do as a family long term.

2008 was also year of spiritual exploration and contemplation as I strayed far futher from the faith I grew up in than I would ever have expected.  I am long past searching for definative answers but will be continuing the journey in 2009.  While much of my life seems set to follow I predictable plan this year this is one area which remains quite blank. Which is very exciting and a bit scary.  

Finally, this post also marks the 2-year anniversary of this blog!  While I haven’t always posted regularly (being a Mum and a PhD student doesn’t leave much spare time for writing blog posts), I like having the outlet to share the things that are on my mind. So, if there are any readers left out there, thanks for reading.  I wish you all the best for the new year, and may this year be one where you too make progress towards reaching your own castles in the sky.


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