24 January 2011

2011 has arrived

Johnson family on Christmas Day.

Burgess family on Christmas Eve.

Burgess family jr. the week before Christmas.

Bonjour à tous!

Unfortunately, my blogging is only getting less frequent, so I'm sure what few readers I had have since found another, more interesting and more updated individual's live-journal. However, I am currently enjoying a glass of wine when I should be reading (not a minute goes by when I can't say to myself "I should be reading"...even if I already AM reading!) and so I have decided to finally update this thing!

In just three and a half months, Lord willing and my brain withstanding, I will have a Master's in French from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I will be living WITH my husband in Georgia, where we will have just shy of two years to finally settle into a more domesticated life, before... Who knows what! During that interval, I hope to recharge a bit after over 20 years of schooling. How that will happen exactly, I am not completely certain, but one of my ideas recently has been to write a book about Michael's and my last 4.5-5 year journey. Collectively, we have been to war twice, [will have] graduated twice, studied abroad once, moved three times in various capacities, and been married! I don't know if I'll be successful, but I'm hoping, with perhaps a bit of dramatization (we were blessed to have a less tumultuous relationship than Noah and Allie), so give James Patterson a run for his "The Notebook" money. Maybe an indie film crew will even pick up our story for a film. If I don't write a book for cathartic emotional relief, I will certainly be spending lots of time with my goddaughter, Jasmine, and look for translation and/or short-term teaching work for French. In Georgia, I think I will be a bit less "common" as a language commodity, and while French isn't necessarily the #1 second language down there, there are several large companies who call it their home, so we'll see what happens.

In the meantime, I have to annotate approximately 12 primary texts (i.e. novels from various periods of French literature) and finish annotating about 35 secondary texts (these are articles, chapters, books that are mainly literary criticism focusing on a single work or theme which pertains to one of my three exam topics), write two exams, and sit one oral exam. Oh, did I mention the two regular classes and teaching one section of French 104? Not to be too overdramatic, but it is quite a bit to chew on this semester. The annotating has started off well, though, and I have just shy of five weeks to complete those. After submitting that information, I have about a month to review and reread before the first exam on March 28th. Spring Break is the week directly before the first exam, so I will spend it in GA reading and studying during the day, and resting and enjoying time with Michael in the evening when he gets home from work. Until May, we will see each other just about once a month, which will be a nice consistency considering the amount of work I have in the next 14 weeks (not that I'm counting!). He's also studying to go to the promotion board sometime in February or March, so luckily I'm not the only one who is busy.

For most of the summer and through the fall, I had stopped attending Willow Creek church here in Chicago. A couple of weeks ago, I resumed going and am so thankful for the weekly fellowship. I only know a few people there (and the Chicago campus alone is about 1,000 attendees!), but the consistency and short time of escape from "real world life" each week restores me to face another 7 days. I've also been committing a time to God each Saturday, either in the morning or after lunch, so spend time in prayer, writing, and reading the Bible. I find that, while I have little energy during the week to pray a full list of individual peoples' needs without drifting off to sleep, it is very important to have a specific time devoted to that, no matter if it is structured or not.

The winter is holding fast here in the Windy City. Last Friday we had a low of -1, which "felt like" -18. I've never been in cold like that before, and I truly hope that I never will be again. Unfortunately, anything under 40 seems to feel relative here, where the wind really is brutal and unrelenting. I'm blessed to live so close to the lake when it is 60 degrees and sunny and I have nothing to do but to go for a walk or a run, but right now I'm wishing I lived in a forest somewhere! However, that being said, I am blessed to have a roof over my head, warm clothes to wear and the funds to pay for heat and food.

It's time that I go get ready for bed and some reading before heading to sleep. May this find you and yours safe, sound, and thankful to be together.

Que Dieu vous bénisse!

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