Post-holiday blues

This was my first day back at work and I am sad. It’s not work in itself really. The bubble of the holidays has burst on my face and I feel like a child whose balloon has just unexpectedly popped. Scared, confused, guilty, but mainly sad that it’s gone.

It doesn’t help that I am slightly jet lagged. It doesn’t help that I am tired as hell, every bone in my body is complaining and it’s sleety in Glasgow.

Less than four days ago, this was a typical breakfast.

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Now I have barely seen the light of the sun (if there has been any at all) and when I went to get lunch this afternoon, the wind could have easily blown me all the way to Edinburgh.

Whilst I was having a coffee rest at the veranda last week, I jotted down a plan that I want to action for the next three weeks to bring Chapter three into a close and write it once and for all. I wrote down what I needed to do every day of this week. This morning, however, and all day today, I have been wondering what I am doing here.

Was I seriously doing a PhD before I left on holiday? What was it about?

I needed a full pelt break because the work-work-life balance was totally running me into the ground, but now I feel I am so detached from things I can barely make heads and tails of what I was meant to be doing. Today, tomorrow, and the rest of this week. I suppose it is a combination of massive travelling plus many days away from work plus the shock of the first day at work, but my head can’t seem to find the information it requires from its cabinets. In that coffee break I wrote down I want to rewrite the entire chapter – but what was the chapter about?

I am sure I will eventually come back from my holiday brain freeze (the weather outside is not really helping) at some point, but I have so much to do that it better be earlier than later. Maybe I will use the prodigious annoyance of waking up at 5am inadvertently and put it to good use. Here’s hope!

Holiday packing for Mongrels

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Sitting at my office space last night, I didn’t do much work – my head is already on holiday. I think everyone feels a little bit like that. I look at the screen and see the words I should be writing, but all I can think of is food, and free time, and eventually sun and heat. In an unprecedented move, we are going to Barcelona for Christmas to visit my family (and eat my body weight in prawns) and then to Adelaide to visit the wife’s family (and get a tan, and get all sorts of Port Adelaide gear, and eat my body weight in prawns). We are flying in three days, so no wonder my mind is already there.

We have a friend staying over until Friday morning, and then we will be going crazy about packing and cleaning the house and all that stuff. Yes, I have not packed. I have not even given myself time to think what I want to pack (and I might need to, cause I have a ridiculous baggage allowance this time). We have not decided what bits of the house we are going to leave uncleaned. I have not decided what I want to wear. I don’t own a bikini, so I don’t even have gear to survive Australia (living in Scotland really reduces the amount of summer clothes you buy by 150%). I have not purchased 50 factor sun screen. I don’t own a pair of sunnies. I am still thinking of some Christmas presents and doing absolutely nothing about it. I haven’t yet thought of what I want to visit in Adelaide (other than the aforementioned Port Adelaide store in Alberton). I have no idea of how we are going to spend our days in Spain. I feel I literally know nothing.

Well, not nothing. Important stuff, I happen to know.

I have an appointment to renew my Spanish ID card and I have penned myself for 2 full days of research at the Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya, perhaps the most decent library there is in Barcelona, and the source of most of my original sources. Source of sources, yeah. I have been eyeing this book that the wife got me that she thought would be “right up my alley”, Helping doctoral students write by Barbara Kamler and Pat Thomson. So that is in the suitcase. And I have spent the last few hours of my life scanning as many articles as possible and transferring them into my Dropbox so that they are accessible on my tablet, with the typical PhD saying of “just in case”. Which really means “I will have them accessible yet not access them at all and then feel guilty about it”. But it’s always good to have them as back up plan in case mingling with the family gets utterly annoying (“oh sorry, I have some work to do, I can’t play bingo with gran”).

If those feel like some terrible priorities, we have also shortlisted every single sausage joint and churro serving cafeteria between here and Adelaide and that will be the basics of our diet: German hot dogs and Spanish doughnuts.

Fatty foods and the occasional reading. My kind of holiday.