AND it was wonderful to have Pickle, my new-science-guy-in-the-office-next-door-turned-boyfriend-turned-fiancé-turned-husband there to celebrate with me. Thanks to Ohio University for my M.Ed., Mrs. and Ph.D. titles and all of the growth that has come with them - it's been quite the experience!
- Jamison Lorraine, Ph.D.
Grad week flew by! The first half of the week, we visited my mom at the hospital and my Mimi. My mom came home mid-week, and by Thursday, Kerry and Brad were headed to Columbus for lunch with Brad's fam and Pickle and I picked up his parents at the airport and headed toward Athens. We have them a quick driving tour around campus, and my father-in-law (who LOVES all things graduation...he was, by far, the most excited of all of us to be going to a commencement ceremony!) went with me to pick up my regalia. We met up with Kerry and Brad for dinner that evening at China Panda, one of Pickle's and my favorite places to eat (for genuine Ohio sushi at a Chinese restaurant!).
The next morning, we were up and at 'em early to head for the convocation center. I met my advisor, Teresa, and a few of my fellow PhD IT grads for some quick pics before lining up...
While I waited to head in, Kerry, Brad and Pickle entertained themselves by tweeting grad day messages to show up on the jumbotron...
Then it was time to walk. The entire ceremony was about 2 hours: here's the 4-minute highlight reel...
After the ceremony, I had a chance to catch up with my Master's advisor, department chair and committee member, Dave, chat a bit more with Teresa, and see some grad school friends at the College of Education reception. It was really great to see everyone in person again!
And, of course, before leaving Athens, we all took some more pics too...
After leaving Athens, we stopped in Columbus for a Smith Family get-together. My aunt had reserved a dining room for us, and my aunts, uncles, cousins and all of their families met us. I had SUCH a great time seeing my extended family for the first time in a year and a half that I unfortunately didn't even have time to take pics! My mom and dad had a special cake made for me though, and I did get pics with that before we devoured the peanut butter chocolate masterpiece.
I'm so glad that I was able to make it home for my hooding - it was a special way to celebrate the culmination of years of hard work and the end of a life-changing chapter in my journey. My parents were able to watch the ceremony from home via live stream, chatting with my sister and me on Facebook the whole time. I'm so grateful to Warren and Diane for coming all the way from K.C. for the occasion and to Kerry and Brad for coming from Texas. It was wonderful to see my family and catch up with everyone on such a happy weekend.
Well hellooooo there...'been a little while! I just logged in to see that the last time I posted was way back in March when we went to see Brian Greene - that seems like forever ago. It's been a bit of a whirlwind time though, with the rush to complete and submit final edits on my dissertation, a job interview (for a position I finally accepted this week - same school, just a promotion) and all of the Japlanning I was doing for our trip (which was SO much fun!!) We spent 10 crazy days in Japan, then came back for a brief two weeks for a workathon in which we had to catch up/work ahead before heading to the U.S. for my doctoral commencement ceremony. Then our quick, week-long trip back to the States turned into a month at home. I definitely want to write about our experiences in Japan, but I'll leave that for another post (or series of posts!) for now. Today, I thought I'd just say "hello" again :)
Our plan was to take a quick trip home so I could walk in my final (for reals this time) graduation ceremony. My sis and brother-in-law, Kerry and Brad, flew in from Texas for the week, and Pickle's parents, Warren and Diane, even flew in from Kansas City at the end of the week for graduation. My mom ended up having spinal surgery the day before I left, and luckily, in Australia, they are extremely supportive about family situations, so I was able to take an entire month of personal leave (I worked half days remotely on flexible hours) to stay and help out at home. Since the teaching portion of the semester had ended and students are out on prac (student teaching in schools), Pickle was able to stay and work remotely as well. I'm happy to report that my mom is on the mend, and, while she has a lot of recovery to go, she has a positive attitude and is definitely going to be far better than her pre-surgery state. The silver lining was that we were able to get a lot of family time in - something we miss a lot here on the other side of the world! I was able to visit my Mimi several times, including a couple visits with Kerry, Brad and Pickle and on Mother's Day...
We also got in lots of fluffy cuddle time with the Mika dog! I didn't really get pics, except for a few the first night/morning/day she slept in our bed (the jet lag was strong with us, and Mika is happy to nap anytime)...
Kerry and Brad had to return to Texas at the end of the week, but came back and surprised my parents the weekend before we left. We had a great time just bumming around the house and playing games. Kerry and Brad brought the Game of Things (a "guess who said this" game that could otherwise be a fairly innocuous situation if it wasn't our family playing); my dad hooked up the old Intellivision II game set (that's as old if not older than me) and traded off shooting each other with pixel clusters, and Pickle and I subjected everyone to a Russian Roulette cookie game we brought from Japan in which 2 out of 12 cookies are loaded with wasabi (we ended up getting the loaded cookies). A weekend of lounging and laughing with family was a great way to end an extended trip home.