Thursday, June 19, 2014

scout


Hey there, how have things been going?

I had a great trip to NYC last month. Stephanie and I had our customary lunch at Gahm Mi Oak. We went to Uniqlo and Muji, where I proceeded to buy my core summer wardrobe for $200. Skinny jeans, a linen button down, and a red oxford shirt at Uniqlo, and then a khaki skirt and cropped stripe tee at Muji. I highly recommend the Uniqlo shirts, and if you're looking for a pair of $40 no fuss, mid-rise skinny jeans at Uniqlo, I would suggest sizing down. I went with the 26s, and the waist stretches out after one wear. The Muji skirt is perfect for my cropped tees and blouses, and I feel like a proper scout these days.

We also went to Nepenthes and ogled their wild prints. It seems I'm on a skirt kick after many years of leaving them out of rotation. This one in particular has my name on it.


Anyway, things have been...complicated...these days. Aside from being busy teaching and commuting nearly 4 hours round trip once a week, I've been juggling 3 balls and 2 fire sticks for the past month. Being a contingent academic is hard. I'm lucky to be in Canada, where you can be contingent and still have social benefits like health care. But teaching 6 new courses in 12 months along with administrative duties has really taken it out on me. Not getting my dream job at a liberal arts college last year took the wind out of my sails. It would be putting it mildly to say that my past year was steeped in despair. A lot of good has come out of it, including an awesome new project, but I've also spent a lot of time angry and bitter.

Starting in September I will be single-parenting at least half the week, if not more, while Matthew begins his PhD coursework in Cambridge. It wasn't easy to decide on staying behind in Toronto, but my choices were frustratingly limited. We also decided to stay in our tiny 600 sq ft apartment for the time being. I've enlisted a friend to help me redecorate and organize the space, so hopefully I can share our progress in the next few months.

Anyway, I hope your summer has been filled with delicious and lovely things. We're going strawberry picking this weekend.


15 comments:

joyce said...

Your outfit is summer-perfect. Love that hat. Why is it so difficult to find a good sun hat?

Uniqlo jeans are great but they do run large. I'm looking forward to going there and a few other New York/Brooklyn spots next week.

erica said...

The hat is from Target. It's $12 and in the gardening section. I tend to stay away from the accessories section when it comes to proper summer hats!

Cyber Me said...

Erica, I really hear you on the harshness of the academic job market. I don't really know how to let go of the disappointment and pain that come with not getting the job you hoped for.

There's a lot to be said for living somewhere with a social safety net (I say this from the US!) -- not just health care, but child care. Were they no adjuncting opportunities for you in Boston? If they come up, would moving become an option?

Good luck as you navigate this. Staying positive is hard, but sometimes looking beyond the weird world of academia can recalibrate one's perspective (you know, where your value as a human being isn't determined by the type of faculty position you hold or don't hold!). I hope you keep posting!

Cyber Me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erica said...

Thanks for your comment, cyber me. There would be adjunct teaching in Boston, there always is, but a huge teaching load without benefits would really hurt our finances as well as my career advancement. I know it would probably be tough for a year, and then something more stable would line up, but I have a more secure set up here in Toronto starting this fall.

I don't think you ever get over that first major rejection, but at least I don't burst into tears at random moments any more! Learning that you're more than your academic position is a hard lesson, but I'm getting there...

Moya said...

Rejection is so hard and the academic job market so brutal. I almost think I'm inured to it by now but every season brings a new assault. I think you are right to stay where there is a safety net but please take good care of yourself. Parenting and academic work are a tough combination and I hope you have a good support circle. Those boys of yours are so adorable but you need to have some me-time especially so you can prepare for when that job finally comes along.

Jade said...

glad to see a post from you. i hear you on trying to recalibrate after a stinging experience, but it seems like you are getting there. hope things just keep going up. take good care of yourself.

Mona Vernon said...

I really like the Uniqlo lawn cotton shirts too. I got a plaid shirt that fits me much better than Steven Alan Reverse Seams.

Enjoy the summer and the precious time with your kids.

Sarge in Charge said...

Glad to see you back, Erica! I am sure I have said this before but I can totally understand your angry and bitter feelings. When I graduated law school the only jobs I could get for over a year were barely college degree required, much less for a JD. It made me so bitter because I had done everything "right" and just did not get what I expected (or what was promised!). I am happy some good has come out of it and that you at least don't have to worry about the basics like health coverage.

Also, we are twins... I have a draft post about buying a new summer wardrobe for $200! Why did no one tell me this was possible at Uniqlo?!! We don't have them in the Midwest so I was unfamiliar until I placed a massive online order.

erica said...

Yes to everything you just said, Sarah. It's sad to see so many bright and highly qualified people in less than promising jobs because of various structural issues. And frankly, those issues aren't going away. I have lots of thoughts about higher ed, but I'll have to refrain for now.

Uniqlo is awesome! I'm done buying basics at J.crew. I'm wearing their linen button down right now, and they truly are a gem at $30. I wish I had bought my jeans in a size smaller, but I'm loving the simple wash and higher rise. Yay for simplicity.

jennifer said...

The academic job market is just ridiculous. A few weeks ago, several PhD friends posted fb updates about how they were "breaking up" with academia after several unsuccessful years on the job market. The system is clearly broken.

But, I'm glad to hear that you're feeling a bit better. I hope you'll share more about your new project when you're ready! :)

julia said...

Oh man, that's so rough that Matthew will be gone a large portion of the week, definitely a tough decision. It sounds like you are juggling a lot right now, I'll be sending good thoughts your way. Jesse has been part time grad student for the past year, with the goal of moving and getting a better job at the end, but I'm nervous that prospects still aren't too good. The job market sounds crazy.

I'm glad you got to go on a trip to New york, it sounds like you had a good time! If you end up coming back here to visit for a bit let me know it would be great to see you!

erica said...

The system is broken, and frankly I'll be happy to see the end of the tenure system!

The job market is crazy, but I suspect it varies by field.

I miss Cambridge a ton, so if we can manage a trip out there, I would love to hang out with you, Julia!

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L said...

Hey, catching up on your blog. I just wanted to send a hug and message of support. I am dreading the job market this fall... but hope that you are able to find something soon.