Sic transit December

It was a hard fall and it ended hard.  Every semester feels difficult, but this semester was significantly harder than most I have had in a long while.  I was teaching two sections of a new course, which means that I don’t have the routine down yet and I had to do a lot of adjusting on the fly.  (I’m generally pretty good at adjusting on the fly, but it still takes its toll.)  On top of that, one of those sections just didn’t work very well.  There were a lot of good students in there, but as a whole the class never really came together with a sense of its own identity and purpose.  There is a palpable moment that tends to come three or four weeks into a class when everyone seems to come to the realization: “We’re really here, and it’s a lot of work, but we’re in it together and we’re going to see it through to the end.”  After that sets in, even difficult classes get easier to deal with.  That just didn’t happen in this one and they remained difficult right through to the end of the semester.

 

The winter weather has set in, and the theme of the season so far is: dark.  Not terribly cold, no real snow to speak of, but just day after day of heavy, oppressive cloud cover.  I appreciate not having the clear the driveway, but it’s been hard to live through.

 

Christmas, though, was great.  E and I had our traditional “Finnish Christmas” at home on Christmas Eve.  I cooked ham, carrot and rutabega casseroles, peas, Christmas tarts, and cinnamon pulla.  We ate very well, then opened our presents around the tree (this year we took a young pine from out back; it’s a little funny-shaped and scrawny, but it’s nice and green).  On Christmas Day we drove up to Maine to be with my family for a couple of days.  That was lovely and relaxing.

Now we’re home, just waiting for the year to turn.  We have some big projects planned for next year, but I’ll write about those as they happen.  Until then, Happy New Year / Hyvää uutta vuotta to everyone!

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