I am still waking up at 10 am. Which is not too terrible but still outside the range of normal for me. Was sort of waiting until I could write “Hey I am over my jetlag!” but figure I’ll just say “Hey!” The trip was a combination of good things and… less good things. The good things are probably obvious but you can also see my photos. Hawai’i is beautiful, fascinatingly different from New England, and as I said in the previous post, I didn’t realize how much it was good to be somewhere that wasn’t icy. My colleagues are gracious and warm people who deeply care about LIS education (as I do) and their hospitality was touching as well as enjoyable. There were all new birds which were a constant surprise and delight. I gave two talks (one in NYC on the way out to HI and one in HI) and they were well-received.
The less-good things were mostly a combination of my poor suitability for tropical living (both personality-wise and biological-wise: allergies and paleness and being a night owl) crossed with some environmental issues (noisy room, did I mention allergies?) that made the last part of my trip mostly happen in a groggy sudafed haze. I have only myself to blame for my inability to pack properly–“Oh it will be in the 70s there, that is jeans and t-shirt weather right?” (No, it is shorts and tank top weather)–but I made it work for the most part. I did bring my sandals to wear everywhere and it was great to have Sudden Birkenstock Weather. Thank you UH Manoa LIS breakroom white elephant sale and faculty thrift store donations for keeping me cool-feeling!
The parts that I thought might be hellish, long flights and one really long travel day, were not so bad. I like being in motion and I’m becoming a lot better at just staring out the window. Now that I can breathe through my nose again I’d like to go do it again with proper clothing, timing, and medicines. I wish I’d taken more photographs. In their absence, I’ll include this set of pictures from the last time I went, in 2006, where I met Drew, the LIS professor who would eventually become the person who would recommend me for the job I have now. Mahalo.
It’s amusing that I have come halfway around the world just to get some writing done but that’s what the trip to Hawai’i has been like so far and I am happy for it. I am here to meet my students and talk about library stuff and learn about local libraries. It’s been a busy few weeks (or months) at home and I have been stoically enduring it without really even noticing I was doing that. Being somewhere where the ambient culture is a little more chill and a little less wintery has led to the relaxation of muscles I didn’t even know were tense. I stepped in the ocean yesterday and got great tours of the local area, buildings, food, and people from two of my University of Hawai’i colleagues, one of whom I had never met before (but who was born in the same hospital as me… HOW).
So I’ve been catching up on some non-Hawai’i stuff (hello blog) because there is time and space to do more than just endure. More photos coming when I get home.
Because I am the relentless self-promoter that I am, I let my local newspaper know that I had won an award (and was on VPR – transcript now available) and they sent a photographer out to take a picture and put a little story on the front page (above the fold) which was immensely gratifying. It’s also been the source of some amusement as everyone in town is all “Oooo the famous librarian!” which is a name I’ve had on the internet for some time but not around here. These photos are great and I got to cut them out of the newspaper and put them in an envelope to send to my mom. My landlady always saves me a copy of articles about me in the paper to send to her.
Teaching has been going well though in my attempt to avoid terrible courseware I seem to have given myself a fairly chunky TODO list every week. I think this may be the secret to teaching: the more you can foist off on other people and systems, the less you have to do. Which is less of an incentive to a full-time professor than an adjunct who teaches a class here and there. It’s a weird decision to have to make, or even think about: the less I do, the higher my hourly wage winds up. I always design things that are easier for the students and possibly tougher for me and then wind up thinking “Why is teaching so hard?” when the answer is basically because I made it that way through sheer overcomplication. While I would have liked more complex classes in graduate school, I’m not sure that’s true for everyone. My students are a really interesting bunch of people and we’re entering the third week. Last week had Memorial Day. This week has Kamehameha Day which I have been learning more about. I try to learn a new thing every week I try to teach a new thing, seems only fair.