I've been really busy - spent the week before last in Madrid, first attending CONEXT, then taking the weekend to explore w/ Linda. It was a really excellent time, perhaps at some point I'll write a post about it. I got to see my advisors for the first time in half-a-year and spend some time with each of them, which was really nice. Linda and I were welcomed by a very warm Madrid Jewish community, and we slept, wandered, ate great food, and just generally enjoyed being with each other somewhere new. It was our first trip since we've arrive in Europe. Really low key. Which I needed b/c the rest of the time I've been working - at least as much as I can which goes to the second reason.
I've been ill. I really haven't felt well since leaving India. I've done two rounds of antibiotics - first for my fever illness and then more recently for Bronchitis. I'm now a bit better, but still a couple of weeks later am not very strong. Just took a flu vaccine which I think wiped me out further, but at least that's one less thing I'm likely to catch. My immune system neads a rest. Being ill of course means that I'm generally less productive, end up working fewer hours, and can't excersize. All of which tends to add to my stress level which leads to reason three.
I've been stressed. I spent my time in India really opening up to new experiences, going with the flow, staying incredibly engaged, and just not worrying. It was amazing, transformative, and I'm so proud of myself. But as with all things elastic, if you stretch your personality radically, there tends to be a bit of bounce back. Since I've gotten here, I've been worried (about work, future, money, health), distracted, and generally down. That's not to say, I'm not happy to be here, but just that it hasn't been easy and luck hasn't been with me. Although more truthfully, I left myself open to much of the "bad-luck" - worrying isn't good for the immune system and not paying attention to the task at hand made it possible for the laundry machine to break. Oh, the epilogue there is that I'm listening to the new machine whirl away and do my laundry. I had to replace the machine. The total damage to my wallet was 425 EUR (about two-and-a-half times the high end estimate from the fellow in the store). At the time the unexpected expense freaked me out. The truth is, I was being an idiot. It was not pleasant to have to spend the money, but it wasn't nearly worth the amount of emotional energy I lost on it.
I've been foggy. I just haven't been focusing well. Not on my work and not on being in-the-moment. That of course is wrapped up in all of the above. But also I've been trying to figure out what this whole trip means. What I want to do in the future. Whether I'm good at what I'm doing. Whether I'm living my life in the most meaningful way that I can. And I've only just started to take the time I need to quiet my mind and let some of this play out.
I've been a bit socially disconnected. Oddly we've had a harder time making friends here than in India. We've also travelled much less, which enhances the feeling of isolation. Thankfully my colleagues at Thomson are a wonderful bunch and likewise for Linda's classmates at pastry school. We've also had the company of my friend Jen and her husband David. But aside from that we haven't really connected here. I tried going to the nearby shul. No one was unfriendly.
Many shook my hand and said "shabbat shalom", but not a single person, including the Rabbi asked me what my name was or where I was from. This was accentuated when we visited Madrid where the first words out of the Rabbi's mouth upon seeing us was an invitation in hebrew to stick around and join a shabbat dinner for 20-30 somethings (the security guard had previously let us know about this when we first showed up).
I'm also down at the moment, b/c I received two paper rejections this week. So both disappointment and additional work should I resubmit. Mostly because rejection is rejection. Never a fun feeling.
So right now I'm trying to find my way out of all this and get back on track. It will probably be slow, although I'm so looking forward to the arrival of my brother and Mia this Thursday. It will be so good to see them! I'm also trying to be more focused on the moment and engaged with whatever it is that I'm doing. Trying to let go of worries and think more about process and less about result. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.