Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Davis Project

As it often happens, everything is coming together really nicely!

We have a house in Davis, a sublet from a lovely couple that gave a really good deal we think and this is all due to Mike's cousin who went to see the place and talked to the owner. She sort of made a case for us as visiting scientists, and the owner decided to reduce the asking price also based on the fact that her husband is three quarters Irish and one quarter Italian (the American way!) so he thought we would have been the perfect tenants! We are delighted, the house has a lovely, secure, and shaded garden, it is close to the University and shops and has space if my sister and parents are coming to visit.

Next we sorted out also childcare. After thinking a good bit and thank to my dear friend Rain we decided to look into small day cares and we found this amazing one called Magikal Child, only 12 children, running since 1999 and of Waldorf inspiration. I skyped with the owner twice, she is so lovely, a yoga teacher and the place looks really nice. She showed me the rooms, the lovely children, and it felt just right. It is only 10-15 min cycling from the house so we hope we can leave the car at home most of the time. Again she gave us a very good deal, it is unusual to have children staying only a few months and summer is quiet for them so again we felt really loved by everyone.

And yesterday we celebrated our 8th anniversary! Onwards and upwards!

Monday, March 9, 2015

#MicroblogsMonday: Bad news, Good News, Good News

No Fulbright for me. Gutted to say the least, not sure what I could have done differently as the interview went very well, so hopefully I will get a better idea when I get feedback in April. Maybe there was just a better candidate!

Meanwhile I had also been shortlisted for internal funding through my University to sponsor the trip the the US, I went for interview and I heard just last friday that they funded me! They did cut the budget (expected) but it's still better than nothing.

Both Mike and I will retain our salary for the duration of our stay (we have booked the flights, 29th of May-24th of August) which is great news and we have probably also found a house to rent in Davis too!


Monday, February 2, 2015

How it went

I think it went well!! Of course I started nursing a cold from hell on Wednesday evening, headaches, stuffed nose and even dizziness, the works. By Thursday night I could barely breathe and work had been hellish. On Friday morning I woke up with a headache, I had a 9am lecture just before the interview and just felt like crawling back into bed.
But a couple of aspirins and three coffees by the time it was 11 and I was much better!
I left the interview very pleased with myself and sure of course I'm second guessing some of the answers I gave there and then, but that's part of the game isn't it?
I will know in March. Fingers crossed!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

#MicroblogsMonday: Oliver's sleep, dry nights and Fulbright


Oliver's sleep has much improved. We went to visit FIL this weekend and Oliver seemed very very happy to share the room with Martina. In fact he insisted to sleep in the same room as her. Didn't wake up till 7.45 am and it was the best weekend away we ever had from that point of view. When we came home on sunday night we moved Martina's bed into his room and again there was not a problem. Maybe we found a very simple solution? Maybe he was just lonely? Time will tell! With proper sleep and proper routine he is back to be a lovely child 99.5% of the time and we are all much more relaxed.

Another thing I didn't update the blog about was the fact that while Oliver has been dry at night almost always, we would have had accidents happening every so often and so we kept him in a nappy just in case. When we came back from Italy he said: "Mamma I don't want to have a nappy anymore, I'm 4 now and I can wear underpants at night. I will not have an accident" and he never did. My big boy!

Finally, 4 days till the Fulbright interview. A bit nervous, mostly about the fact that this week is so so full in work I won't have time to pee and I'm afraid by the time friday comes it'll be a miracle if I can put two sentences together....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Please, sleep!

Thank you so much for the kind words about MIL, we appreciated a lot.


This post is going to be about Oliver. As always going on holidays has a lethal effect on this boy's routine. The last couple of night in Italy he just didn't seem tired at all and wanted to be up and chatting till all hours. He probably was up with my dad till about 11.30 pm. In the morning he had no problem getting up at his usual 8.30. Not good. He was cranky and hyper all day. By the time we got home we had to go to my in laws for the funeral and again he was still totally off form, in that kind of way that makes you going demented as he is pushing buttons I didn't even know I had. Next we started reinforcing a proper routine and he is just plain resisting. He answers back, he is rude to us and just seems to want to scream his head off all the time at the drop of a hat. We are tip toeing around him. We tried to be strict, we wrote rules in lovely colours we all signed but it's not having any effect. Some days I actually worry he is on the spectrum. The other days I'm telling myself I'm as usual over reacting and he is just a 4 year old. He doesn't want to go to sleep, he wants me to read a book, then tell him a story, then lie down on the carpet, then in his bed. This last night went on for over an hour and I was so so tired I had to go to bed and get Mike on the case. He doesn't want daddy, only mamma. He ended up staying up till 10.30 when he then fell asleep on the couch and Mike brought him up to bed. He was up at 4.30 and in our room (which has been happening since we have come back) and wanting to sleep with us. Which means I no longer sleep at all as he is poking me in the back, wants to hold my hand etc. And I have to get up at 6.45 to be in work for 9 am teaching. I am a walking wreck. And while I tell myself it's a phase, deep down I wonder "is it really?". And what about Martina? She can sleep for Ireland now, it's a pleasure putting her to bed (which I never do because Oliver would throw a fit) and at least so far we had no regression.
Rant over, dreading the night ahead. Any advice welcome.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Mother-in-Law: the final chapter

And then it happened. We were in Italy and on New Year's day Mike got the call that MIL had been brought to hospital with (yet another) infection. She was unresponsive like every other time she went to hospital with an infection. We didn't think too much of it, this has been a regular occurrence certainly for the last 2 years, who would have thought...on Jan the 2nd Mike got a missed called on his phone from the hospital, he tried calling back but never managed to be connected. He called his sister and she told him that they were called to the hospital because MIL's blood pressure was very very low and they thought she may not have long to live. By the time the got there though, the pressure had picked up and it was no longer so critical. She was on IV antibiotics and the doctors said they were going to treat her for 5 days and reassess the situation. I asked Mike if he wanted to go home, we could find a flight etc, but no, he didn't think it was necessary. So we waited and every day there was no news. On the 5th Mike's sister called him to let him know that the doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do, they were suspending all treatments and upping the opioids to keep her comfortable in her final days. They thought it could have been a week, maybe more. This was the toughest moment for Mike, it was real, his mom was dying and this was it. We were scheduled to fly home on the 6th and Mike didn't want to rush home earlier, nothing he could do and MIL was unconscious anyway. Unfortunately she passed away on the 6th early afternoon. Her twin sister from California arrived on time the morning of the 6th so she was there which was nice. For us it has been rough. Flying home on the 6th, very very late (we were in bed at around 2am) and got up and ready to drive down to Mike's parents on the 7th, children very wired up with all the changes etc. But then we were there, I mentioned before about the Irish funerals, they are something else. It was so so nice to see so many friends of Mike driving over 200km to pay their respect on Wednesday night (they had the wake at the house) and driving back later on in an appalling weather. The funeral was on Thursday and it was a lovely ceremony (the little I saw due to Martina not really cooperating). And so now we move on and stay close together knowing how quickly things can change. And you are never ready, even when it was so long coming.


Our last memories of her are beautiful which is so nice. Mike and Martina went to them for Christmas, I had cooked homemade lasagne and they loved them. I stayed home with Oliver who was sick and in fact started antibiotics on Christmas day. I would never have forgiven myself if we had all gone down and she got sick afterwards. MIL phoned me on Stephen's day to thank me about the lasagne and how delicious they were, I told her we were all going to visit them early January as soon as we were back from Italy. And we did, only she was no longer with us. Everyone is putting on a brave face you know? Nobody cried or was upset, everyone knew she had no quality of life at all an at least she is no longer suffering etc. But still. I wrote many times about how inspiring she was and how dignified she was. I will keep her alive in our hearts and talk often about her to the children. they won't remember her I know but at least they will know of her through our own memories.


May 2015 be happier from now on.

Monday, December 22, 2014

#MicroblogsMonday: Fulbright shorlisting



I have been shortlisted for interview for the Fulbright Scholarship!!! Oh my god I'm so so happy!! It's a VERY long shot, there are just a handful of these awards every year allocated to Ireland and I made it through the first round of selection!! I don't know how many have been shortlisted, could be 20 people or more for a few places, but still! It would still be for Davis but for summer 2016!!
Interview on the 30th of January, send good wishes my way!