Graduate student + mom : the disadvantage

Instagram / @gradlifemcgill by @fanidee

Instagram / @gradlifemcgill by @fanidee

 

While I love being a mother-graduate-student (and I will later write a whole post about the advantages), sometimes, it is quite difficult. Here some of the reasons:

  • I am very lucky because I got a couple of months of paid maternity leave for each of my child. But not all graduate students can say the same.
  • I hate pumping my milk every day (and I don’t want to give baby formula milk). I am lucky to have an office, because Thompson House is kind of far.
  • You know this crazy lecture with a superstar scholar? If it’s in the evening and my partner is not at home this day… I will miss it.
  • Since most of the academic activities (GradLife meetings, parties, going out with friends) are in the evening, even if my partner is at home, I will be absent. Taking care of two young boys and putting them to bed alone is quite a challenge, so their father and I try to be together with them most of the time. I am going out sometimes with my old friends, but the problem is I don’t really have the time or the opportunity to make new ones at McGill. It is not because I don’t want to know you, guys!

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Writes of Passage

"Poetry Reading"  from www.analogartistdigitalworld.com

Café Mariposa is a tiny place located in Notre-Dame-De-Grace. It’s not very conspicuous and from the inside looks like a cozy room crowded with colorful objects. Paintings of a nude woman, with an overtly protruding bosom line the walls of the place. Inside, several tables are assembled together to increase the surface area of interaction for the guests of the Quebec Writer’s Federation Schmoozer. The focus of the event is to celebrate “Montreal Writes” – a writers’ group formed during a workshop by the QWF ten years ago.

I walk into a loud scene of people chatting animatedly, half-full glasses of drink and there is a foot-by-foot area by the door where a piano stands next to a microphone. A guitar is hung on the wall behind the mic, presumably for people who wish to do improv on open-mic nights (I had previously read that this place is notorious for open-mic nights for musicians). As I take a seat far removed from the crowds on a bench, I wait for someone to approach me and ask if I had come for the event but everyone seems so engaged in conversation. Where were the organizers? It suddenly dawns on me that, for the first time in my life, I am at a social event where I literally know nobody. I pull out my cell-phone and pretend to do something important. Occasionally, I glance up to see if anyone had noticed me.

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Jumpstarting your social life in Montreal

We usually gather in really nice venues!

So you just arrived in Montreal a few months ago and you’re overwhelmed with the amount of stuff you need to read, write and do for your grad studies. And it is starting to get cold outside (not today in particular, but still…). And you realize you barely had time for some fun. Don’t panic, there is a way out!

As one of the thousands of expatriates that arrive in Montreal each year, I moved to the city a couple of years ago without knowing anyone. Having known InterNations before, I looked to see whether there was any event going on so I could mingle with fellow expats, but there were no activities in Montreal at that time. After posting some messages in the local forum asking for it, I was invited to organize the events in Montreal and become the city’s “ambassador”.

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Balance

Demonstrating the art of balance. Source: Wikimedia Commons

So far it seems that I am having trouble being as prolific of a blogger as I would like. I have a swarm of topic ideas in my head right now, but the problem is that to do justice to the awesome intellectuals who might read my post, I would have to do a substantial amount of background research to avoid embarrassing myself. So instead I was waiting for something interesting to happen to me so I could blog about it. (more…)

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