Wednesday, August 8, 2012


A friend of mine once said that he hated having too many keys on his keyring. Each key represented a responsibility to him. He couldn't drop them and go travelling whenever the urge took him.

I was 19 and the idea of travelling was appealing. Three years later, when I graduated from college and changed continents for the first time, I found myself keyless for several month. I flipped out. For me, it would seem, a house key represents stability and community.

I am currently in the middle of my fourth transcontinental move, and my unease at not having house keys has only diminished a little. This is not an unusual situation for academics, and PLS and Dr. Becca have talked about their feelings on this recently.

I'm trying to put a positive spin on things right now, so I won't focus on the fact that I miss hanging out with Epsilon's friends' parents, or the problem of being science lonely, or the difficulty meeting people without a cohort of gradstudents.

Our last major move (to First Postdoc Town) was when Epsilon was -.25 years old. As my partner pointed out, it is a lot easier to meet neighbors with a 2.75 year old than with a -.25 year old.

My partner's department has a lot more people with kids Epsilon's age than my postdoc department did. This means there is a real chance of making friends with people with whom we share more in common than our kids.

One of my partner's colleagues is a friend of his from grad school. He has been in this department for longer, and is a very social person. He's taken it upon himself to drag my partner out to meet people. As a result, we have a bit of a social network set up near University E already.

When I move to University F, while I'll have linguistic difficulties in meeting people outside the department, I've heard rumors that it is a very friendly and social department. This means that there is some hope that I can knock on office neighbors' doors and grab people for lunch. If the main social activity for the department is drinks/dinner after speakers, Epsilon's sunrise wakeups won't keep me from attending.

Its a plan. Not a great one, but a plan. A friend of mine wrote me when I was complaining about this move
Moving only sucks for a few weeks! You've had an amazing adventure with your family that most people in the world would never be able to have!!
She dreams of picking up her family and going backpacking through Europe. I dream of PTA meetings and watching Epsilon's friends grow up. She's right of course, about the adventure and the privileged position we are in. I'll feel better once I have two sets of house keys in my hand.

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