A summer away from my family

This summer has been rather…interesting, and I’d like to take the time to share what I did, since it was quite an unconventional way for a wife & mother of a 1.5 year old to spend their time. (I should probably say that this YEAR has been rather interesting but more on that in future posts).

I spent six weeks during the summer in graduate school. Yes, graduate school. Cool, right?

Such a gorgeous campus.

I was accepted into a prestigious program that works with my currently hectic life the best way possible. In four consecutive summers, I take a full course load of rigorous graduate classes in order to obtain my Masters in Spanish. It is a bit lengthy, however, it is a much better option than trying to work full time, go to school full time, take care of my daughter/family and my house for two years straight. For six weeks each summer, I pack up my stuff, leave my family, and head to Middlebury, VT to work and to learn. My time is still hectic because I am committed to working full time for my online teaching job year round; but then again, it is less chaotic than if I had to balance everything else for two years straight.

what a great study location

So what did I do with my young daughter?  My husband, who was extremely supportive of me continuing my education, cared for her full time along with my MIL.

Shoutout to my husband for doing a superb job taking care of our daughter for six weeks! The real MVP along with my MIL!

Surprisingly or maybe unsurprisingly I got some mixed reaction when I told people about my summer plans.  I would say that many were either skeptical or discouraging of my grad school goals (6 weeks away from home):

  • “Are you sure you want to do this? You should really think about Ava. She is going to be so sad without you.”
  • “That program sounds so amazing! How did you even find it?”
  • “That program sounds nice…maybe you can just do one summer now and then continue it when Ava is older.”
  • “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

So I decided to stop telling people and to keep my plans quiet. Hence my radio silence on all social media platforms for several weeks.  Well, that and I was insanely too busy to keep up with Facebook & Instagram.

And I get it…6 weeks is a long time to be away from one’s family. But it is a month and a half out of the whole year. It’s not like I want to run away from my family. Here is a look back to something I wrote the night before I left for Middlebury:

It’s 11pm. Late. Well, late for me. I spent the whole day running around, packing, cleaning, seeing family. I should be tired. But I’m not. I’m having a flashback to when I was in high school–the night before school started. I wouldn’t be able to sleep. It seems so dorky to admit (who cares, I’m a well adjusted 30 year old now), but I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before school started because I was so excited to start school. What were my teachers going to be like? With whom would I have class? What would I learn? Would I finally like my Spanish teacher (I didn’t like a lot of my Spanish teachers–how funny)?

Well tonight is like that. Because tomorrow, I begin my journey north to my grad school program. I will be doing my Masters in Spanish, over the course of four summers. I am pretty darn excited.  I’m finally going to focus on a subject that I’ve always loved.

But I’m also petrified.

The program is six weeks long. Six weeks of full immersion in the Spanish language. Six weeks away from my little Lima bean and hubby (and doggie). That may seem like an idyllic situation to many (vacay from the fam–woot woot), but I’m freaking out.  This is NOT a vacation. I literally can’t imagine my life without my little nuclear family. I can’t imagine not having them there, to hold, to kiss, and to tell them all that I love them. To kiss away the boo boos. To make yummilicious dinners that makes everyone go “mmmmmmmmmmh!”  Ava literally does something new everyday. Last week, she started saying “bubbles”–her first clearly pronounced word with intent. She gives kisses on command, whether in English or in Spanish. She gives big hugs. And when she thinks you’re sad, she goes up to you and pats your back.

How will I survive the summer?”

I missed my family (dog included) dearly during the six weeks. I probably talked about them way too much while I was at school.  But how empowering to take the reins of my life and to get up and to say, I will still work on my education and better myself, even though I am a full time mommy/wife/teacher (that should be a profession title. “What do you do?” “Oh, I’m a mommy/wife/teacher.”  “How fascinating.” :D). I’d like to think that Ava would be proud and understanding of the fact that I decided to get my masters in a subject area that I adore and to better myself in my knowledge of all things Spanish/Latinx/Hispanic. Also, the effect trickles down to her, since I am better equipped to teach her Spanish.

I felt a bit like a rebel feminist this summer all for taking classes as a married, working mother. I was one of probably a few students that I knew who was married AND a parent of a small child. But I made it! With less tears than I thought. And with all As!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

img_6942

the no sleep grad student, as evident by various under eye bags

The experience was worth it. The benefits outweighed the risks. This summer was so enriching. I felt “smart” for a change. Real life has no clear right or wrongs but the academic world does and I can navigate that world well. I usually feel quite lost and often insecure when it comes to the “real world”. But give me a book in Spanish and tell me to write an essay about it–I’m DOWN. Tell me to study a list of prepositions in Spanish that “don’t make no damn sense” and I’m already making flash cards to study them.

somehow, i understood these notes perfectly. #gradschoolflow #keepup #beastmode

two personal obsessions this summer: cuba & son cubano

 

 

Some other mommy friends thought what I was doing/did was inspiring. One person said, “you’re making me think about myself now. What is it that I want to do with my life?”

I’m still not sure what exactly is my next step in life.  Teaching online gives me the flexibility to do what I like but also to run errands and to care for my daughter. But I feel like there is a next step in my career.  Or that I’m supposed to be taking it up a notch. I’m just not confident in what that is.  But at the very least, I know that it will involve Spanish.  😃

Here are some more pictures from my experience, in no particular order:

 

The drive home.  An alleged 9 hours. LIES. It was 12 hours!

 

The PokemonGo bug bit me…

 

The sunsets were magnificent.

 

Last day of class silliness with Snapchat. 😛

“Please, Manolo, no more rules about the subjunctive! We will kill ourselves (/each other?)! We love you!” hahahahaha

Grammar class was always fun with this character!!! #lovegrammar #teamManolo

 

Even during a trip to visit family in Burlington, I couldn’t escape my Afro-Latino/Caribbean obsessions.

 

Oda a mis cafecitos: Queridos cafecitos, como les amaba  /  Sin ustedes, no hubiera aguantado / Todo el estrés que me pesaba.  / Los ensayos, las lecturas y mi trabajo. / Pero siempre estaban, dulces y calientitos / Mis amorcitos / tan ricos y benevolentes ❤ jajajajajaja 😀 (to say I loved my coffee is an understatement) 

 

The sky was more expressive and beautiful than any other sky I’ve seen.

Breakfast of…champions? Well, champions who want to gain several pounds by the end of summer 😦 Project workout has commenced to right all of my wrongs.

My fav. café

 

off to class/a clase

those clouds.  it’s like a painting.

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