i am -as many of you know- optimistic about my current job prospects. despite the many cracks i make about how i'm afraid of the jobs i might wind up doing - there are bunch of openings i would be genuinely happy to start my civil service career in -chief among them being, of course, a defence policy job. this afternoon's chat with various people from various ministries -a nod to weineng for a much appreciated chat about his job and what life is like in the office, among other things- merely reinforced my optimism about said future prospects.
but an afternoon spent saying 'i did political science and economics at the university of chicago' and 'yes, i did take a class with steve levitt' as i brandished my freshly-reclaimed Freakonomics is apt to induce the odd flash of intense homesickness in someone who is just barely reconciled to the idea of not returning to college come the fall. it's not just the city i miss -not just having things to do and places to go and always ever the lake to see and marvell at- but also the academic life. the knowing that there is so much to learn from the Mearsheimers and the Levitts, and not being there to study at their feet. it's the Reg (i owe them tons of money, for some bizarre reason) -the Reg in the summer, when it is quiet, and filled with graduate students, and it is blessedly cool after the blazing heat that is a chicago hammer-and-anvil summer. it is the noise of moving in, and the crisp autumnal air, and the leaves falling to choke the drains and make the six block walk from apartment to campus a hop-skip-jump obstacle course, carrying eighteen books all vaguely to do with my BA thesis. it's waiting in the hallway yet again for duncan to show up -late- to another advisor meeting, gruffly apologetic and wanting to know what i'd been up to for spring break. (puerto rico, i told him, showing off my tan. four days in the sunshine and the pool and eating outrageous amounts in old san juan. very little rain, i said, and he murmured agreement that that made for a good spring break indeed.)
(here is that rain awaited by leaves with all
their trees and by forests with all their mountains)
now comes the good rain farmers pray for, e.e cummings
i never realised how much four years in chicago had changed me, until they were over, and i am here, and all that is left for me to do is look back longingly, and move forward.
I am a book of snow,
a spacious hand, an open meadow,
a circle that waits,
I belong to the earth and its winter.
Winter Garden, Pablo Neruda