Sunday, September 21, 2003

Help! I have too much work to do. I swear, every time I look inside my notebook, a new homework assignment has spawned. I don't think they should be allowed to breed like that. I wish things in my life would even out. I spent all last year wishing I had more work to do; now I wish I had less. Why can't I exist in a happy medium?

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy to be in school. I like the classes that I'm taking. Every time I read a new chapter for Second Language Acquisition, I end up thinking, "Cool!" and pondering how exactly I want to further specialize my studies from here. Take today, for instance. I read the chapter on child language acquisition, and noticed how it said that childhood second language acquisition, (to be distinguished from first language acquisition and simultaneous bilingual acquistion) has been understudied. My first thought was that this could be applied to my mother's research in early intervention for children with autism. I'm a linguistic geek. I dig this stuff.

But I've also got to teach my Level 1 international students for two hours, four days a week, and preparing for that is eating my life. I end up doing all my actual homework in about 2-3 stolen hours a week, generally just the night before class, because all the rest of my time is given to thinking about how class went, considering what the students need to learn, looking through the textbook, trying to think of activities to engage them, grading their homework, making quizzes or tests, grading the quizzes or tests, printing things out, making copies, and on and on and on. I don't think my TAship is really supposed to take over quite this much.

And of course, there's also the fact that the apartment is still not completely organized. We have stuff sitting all over the living room as we try to put it back in the study room/office in a more efficient and organized manner. I actually sort of like doing that. I spent one very enjoyable evening putting all of my notes and papers from all four years at Grinnell into a filing cabinet, organized aphabetically by academic department and course number. I love it when I can get things extremely organized and put away, perhaps because it happens so rarely. But it's going very, very slowly, because I hardly have any time to do it. In the meantime, we have to pick our way across the floor from the couch to the TV, and wend our way through the path from the front door to the rest of the apartment.

What's more, the shipping people who are supposed to be getting me my stuff from Japan are being exceptionally irritating. I paid a company in Japan to ship my stuff to Detroit. That seemed very straight-forward and simple. Except, that company doesn't actually ship within the US. The ship to California, where another company picks the stuff up, (for an additional fee, of course,) and ships it to Detroit. Once it gets to Detroit, you must fax the holding company an itemized inventory to give to the customs people. Of course, once the customs people inspect it, it's not over, because the company in CA is still waiting for that cashier's check before they will fax the people in Detroit a release notice, and until you have all of that done, your stuff has to stay in Detroit, for $10/day. Then there's always the problem of finding time to go to Detroit, about 2 hours one way, to get the stuff and bring it back. Hopefully, they'll let Mark get it when he goes into Dearborn for work on Tuesday, otherwise, I may never get it, especially if they're not open on the weekends. I hate shipping companies.

So basically, I feel like I'm always running behind and going quietly insane. I really hope the entire semester isn't like this. I wish I'd had more time to get settled into any kind of routine at all before being thrown into work and school. If you have tried to get in touch with me via email, I'm sorry if I haven't responded. Right now, though, I should no doubt go to bed, since I'm being observed by my practicum supervisor tomorrow during my first teaching hour. Good night.

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