I spent the end of November on the East Coast, first attending the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion in Baltimore and then spending some time with E. in her new environment in College Park, also in Maryland.
AAR was great, because it’s not that often that I get to spend time with people that work on religion and attend panels that are actually relevant to my dissertation. I attended some pretty good sessions, most in the realm of Mormon Studies, but managed to include one on the global impact of Pope Francis. An impassioned nun gave a speech on the need for feminism in the c/Church. She got a standing ovation and it was well deserved.
Obviously seeing E. again was great (no surprises there!). I hadn’t seen her since she left the Netherlands in July, so a visit was long overdue.
We made sure to make time for:
–trips into DC that include coffee houses and book stores (and the buying of books, even though we’d sworn we were too broke to do so)
–a visit to her lab and wonderfully cluttered office (and can I just say, the U is arguably a prettier campus than Dortmund, but Maryland has that old world academic charm going on. I’m jealous)
–baking pumpkin pie and sweet potato cake for Thanksgiving, both Smitten Kitchen recipes (of course). The sweet potato cake needed a blowtorch to caramelize the frosting. E. and I thought we were out of luck, but luckily her friends are awesome and E. managed to borrow a blowtorch from one of their labs. (How come we never have cool gadgets in the humanities?)
–having to walk on the shoulder of the road to get to the grocery store because why would you want to use a sidewalk? Don’t we know we’re supposed to be in a car?
–reuniting with Dino, who we temporarily lost but then luckily turned up again and now is seeing what Utah has to offer extinct and/pr stuffed dinosaurs. He’s very excited for the snow that is apparently coming our way.
–sadness when I had to leave, but tempered by the knowledge that I’ll be back in December. Our entire family is coming over to DC for Christmas (two whole weeks. That has to be the longest we’ve all been together since what, 2002?). Being away from my family actually has me looking forward to it. (I did, however, find a conference I “have” to attend the second week, just in case all the family togetherness kills me.)
–oh, and do you know how I know I’ve gotten used to Utah? I kept looking around College Park and DC and thinking, ‘where are all the Mormon churches?’