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.