As I recently told one of my friends, my appetite has suddenly returned. With a vengeance. Up until about a week ago, I would never get hungry. Meal times would come, I would look at the clock and—as happens so often in my life—I’d say to myself, “Okay. Time to eat.” And then I’d force down some food and continue on with my life. Now? Now I’m hungry all the time.
I attribute this to stress. As far as food and stress go, I can swing either way on the spectrum. Sometimes I stop eating altogether and sometimes I eat all the time. However, judging by all the late-night trips from the Science Center to Fourth Meal or DeCafe while I was at Oberlin, I’d say that, more often than not, I tend toward stress eating. There’s nothing like a good batch of mozzarella sticks to get you through a long night of over-analyzing the white space in your lab report.
But I digress.
About a week ago, my teaching load suddenly increased. Not significantly, but the change has perpetuated no end of lists and schedules scribbled in various notebooks and on my computer. The extra classes aren’t really that concerning. I can handle them. What’s more concerning is the reason that I’ve suddenly received them: because of a family emergency, my senior fellow has had to return to the United States, at least for the time being.
I’ve told various permutations of this story multiple times—sorting out things in the departments where I work, explaining to my friends at dance why I look so out of it. Depending on the situation, everyone gets a different story. For the departments, it’s the facts and in English. For my friends it’s, I’m tired, and in Indonesian. You can tweak the details a bit depending on who I’m talking to, but this is the basic idea.
Which is why I surprised myself on Thursday by saying something in English that actually strayed into the realm of emotions. English was for getting things done. Indonesian was for emotions, although not many since my Indonesian isn’t really up to much emotional depth.
“I just didn’t think I’d have to be the responsible one this soon,” I said.
I got an encouraging comment in response, and I know I’ll be okay. My senior fellow is awesome and has taught me well, and I can handle things. Nevertheless, it’s weird to suddenly be the one in charge. It’s not that I feel as lost and confused as I once did. Yes, my language skills aren’t where I wish they were, but I can get by. No, I don’t always know who I should be talking to, but I know where to turn to get advice. It’s just strange being in this place all of the sudden, but then again all adjustments are strange.
And I guess this means it’s time for another list of goals.