May 29, 2009

My return

Category: Alzheimers,Puerto Rico — Biella @ 5:59 am

After a fairly tiring (though exciting) semester of teaching, I have packed my books, lots of files, and other things I Can’t Live Without, and shipped myself via Jet Blue to Puerto Rico where I will spend my summer. My reason for being here is simple: I want to see my mother who continues to live in a state of minimalism at a nursing home with Alzheimers. Coming home is never easy. Seeing her for the first time after an absence of months is especially hard and expect will continue to be as such, so long as I have periods away from her like I do. I never imagined that I would live between two cities as I do, but in general I am grateful I have a job that allows me to bridge these two places.

When I am in NYC, I am so ridiculously busy (being an assistant professor is not unlike being a medical resident and doctor except the tempo slows down during our summers, at least to some extent) that I don’t—for better or for worse—have my mother always perched on my mind. But being here is a different story. Not only do I have to structure my own time (so my mind can wander easily into those nether regions), but the house I stay in is nothing but filled with memories of my mom, most especially from the last 4 years she spent here with Alzheimers

Along with visiting my mom, most of my time will be occupied in front of the computer working on the first draft of my book manuscript, which is due on September 15, 2009, 2 days before my birthday. I think I can hack it given that I have lots of time on my hands and when I get into work mode I can get a lot done.

But the first month or so is going to be really really rough. I always find the transition into “stare at your monitor mode” for the entire day sort of tough. Puerto Rico also has a host of magnetic distractions like the garden and the beach, which I don’t love but in fact adore. I also don’t really associate the tropics/this house/the summer with mental work, but I will spend the next few weeks reversing that association or else I will be in deep trouble!

Right now I am setting up the office, struggling to find the right a/c unit for the space, and in a few days I hope to be writing away…

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