I am so sorry that this poor little blog has been so neglected for a while now. It reminds me of so many plants that Iâ€™ve remembered just a little too late and discovered just a little too dead.
The truth is, though, I havenâ€™t forgotten Twirling Leaf. I have had to make the deliberate choice to let it fall by the way side since I went back to work (which only coincided with a certain sister of mine visiting town; it certainly was not causal. I say this to clear her of any and all blame).
SO these thingsâ€“work and schoolâ€“that have been keeping me busy deserve some description on my blog, I think.
Work has been really difficult. My heart is not in my job at all. This makes it really difficult to do it well. The only thing that keeps me doing the work is the fact that I know itâ€™s the best for our little family right now. Collin has helped to ease the burden tremendously by helping me with various projects when possible. Ultimately, though, it falls on my shoulders because I am the one employed by my organization. I am responsible for the work, and this definitely has bearing on how stressful I perceive my job to be.
One very bright spot in the world of my work is that Collin, Jessica, and Shane (along with Senya and me) will be working together at the APAâ€™s annual conference in Boston. It will be great to have such wonderful company for the whole week of work! I love traveling with friends; even if it is work-related, having a good crew of people surrounding me will make it fun. And SHANE! He will be back from South Africa so soon. This makes me very happy.
Another bright spot has been the recent return of my friend Erin to work. Erin had been on maternity leave the whole first month that I was back at work. Now that Erin is back it is much more bearable to be there three days a week. She and I share the same work schedule and we share an office. So, having her there is a major improvement.
School has been going well. I decided to take a bold step; I emailed someone who has become my personal hero in the world of HIV/AIDS research in Kenya. She emailed me back within a day! We have developed a great rapport over email, and she has been very helpful in giving me resources for my research trip in January. I am probably going to go meet her at some point to talk face to face about her research in Kenya. She lives in Windsor, Canada, so we have to wait for Senyaâ€™s passport to arrive before we could travel there together.
I am so impressed by this personâ€™s work. She and her fellow researchers developed an HIV/AIDS and sex education program that has been highly effective at enhancing adolescentsâ€™ self-efficacy in their ability to abstain or negotiate for safe(r) sex.The program has been so effective that the Kenyan government adopted her program as the national HIV/AIDS and sex education primary school curriculum. She was very encouraging about our project in the Kwale District, though, because she said that the need still exists there to customize an HIV/AIDS and sex education program. Kwale is culturally distinct from most of Kenya; I was happy to hear that someone who has done years of research confirmed that our efforts are not wasted at targeting this region with this type of intervention.
I am almost done my core requirements for my Masterâ€™s! In fact, my school life for the next 3 months is like this:
â€“finish up my fall classes in the next couple of weeks
â€“apply for research approval from the institutional review board by December 3
â€“take my comprehensive exams as soon as classes end
â€“go to Kenya for January
Right now, I am on vacation in LA with Darby, Jason, Lyric, Oliver, Collin and Senya. It has been so healing to my soul to rest and relax. I had a difficult time letting go at first; Jason remedied this by calling me â€œFeltonâ€ any time I was doing work instead of relaxing and having fun. Bam. That cured me.
Family Life: Senya is amazing. She is a gift, a light, and a beautiful person. I am so glad that I get to be her mother. I just LOVE being with her. Our time together is precious to me, and I love the addition of her to our family. Watching Collin as a father is really cool, too. Itâ€™s a new dimension of him that I have never known until now. Itâ€™s amazing to discover a completely new facet of the person that Iâ€™ve known so well and loved for so long. Sen and Zuri love each other so much, too. It is so cute to see how they relate to one another. Zuri definitely gets the most laughs from Sen in the family. Collin and I are both a little jealous about this.
So, thatâ€™s my update â€œstinkerâ€ post (a term coined by Jase for posts that are basic updates). Jase says that I should just post even when it canâ€™t be an essay with references or a fantastic story or whatever. I am hoping that this stinker post has now served to update my readers. Now maybe I can blog with some regularity without feeling like there too much to say.