(I've changed the name from "Rants" given that I can't really rant about many things that frustrate me here, at least not without getting into some sort of trouble. As such, you'll have to wait for the book.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Flashback to the holidays…

It already seems like it was a long time ago. In a way, it was. Every December as the holidays approach, I’m usually at some particularly high level of stress and fatigue. There are a lot of practical reasons for this and though I’ve often entertained the illusion that the next year will be different, I should know by now that it won’t. Like an inoculation, it’s better to simply brace yourself and just do it, all the while knowing that the pain will go away.

Some of the reasons why December will always be December are the fact that many of our grants begin in January. This means that you are simultaneously closing one (with all that it entails) and applying for new ones (with all that it entails). There is also the flood of activity as people try to complete projects and meet deadlines that were unable to be done earlier. Everyone is imposing deadlines on each other since it all needs to be done by the end of the year.  

On top of that were the activities I mentioned in my previous blog. These are things that were also influenced by the “need to be done by the end of the year” phenomenon but were somewhat excusable given the circumstances.

As such by the time I left, the whirlwind of activity had not abated. My travel was a bit earlier than in years past since I had some vacation days that I needed to use up (we’re only allow to carry a certain amount). Nonetheless, the time had come to leave and I felt that I had a solid team who would do great work in my absence. The back-up plan would be a daily, early morning, hour or so check in to follow up on things and intervene when necessary. It’s not great to do emails during holidays but for me it’s better, and less stressful, than to not do it. It’s just an unfortunate consequence that it always falls on my time in Indiana since that it where we begin the holiday.  By Christmas Day calm usually sets in and even some of the most fanatical staff generate less email traffic.
opening gifts

In southern Indiana we more or less took it easy with family. It’s a great way to start a vacation. We tried to get in some early shopping since I hadn’t begun to start that. By the third day, however, I had already come down with the flu. It ended up hitting me pretty hard and I wasn’t worth much most of the break. It last all the way through the return to Burundi. While I know there was a decent flu outbreak going on in the US, I also attribute it to my increasing lack of resistance to American bugs. I’m quite certain there is no scientific basis for such a statement but I’m okay with that.
not sure why my charms are not working on this guy??

We did make it to the Louisville Slugger museum. I’m not the baseball fan that I was as a kid but it I have to say that I found it quite entertaining. Priya’s brother Steve talked us into taking a few swings in the batting cage. It reminded me why I chose to pursue basketball in college.
hard to believe this package was delivered to us 18 months ago

Otherwise, Christmas was calm and wonderful. We were smacked by a big snowstorm that night and the next day we were greeted with a little obstacle for moving cars around and getting on the road to the airport. Fortunately the roads were clear and we were able to get to arrive at our check-in on time in preparation for our flight to Idaho. Or so we thought.

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