picture showing Fall foliage

Lincoln Gap Road, Green Mountains VT

…and I will be back to Real Life. This includes: an ongoing online course, a conference presentation next week, couple of important meetings related to a program proposal, finishing an IRB application, writing handouts for labs, developing a set of lecture powerpoints, and getting serious about my grad student’s project.

This vacation week was planned months in advance, with the Vermont Fall Colors in mind. While we were told to be a tad late, I was still blown away by the explosion of colors. Since my Swedish days I had not seen so many hues of green, yellow, and red; resulting in hundreds of pictures of trees and forest paths. I had bought my first nice lens (35 mm, f1.8) for my camera, and am still learning its possibilities. Besides foliage I have tried my hand at covered bridges and quaint white churches, cemeteries, waterfalls, and art exhibits. Add family visits, eating, drinking, and playing board games. This is all very relaxing.

Except it is not 100% vacation after all. Emails still roll in vacation autoresponse notwithstanding, and I still answer them as some are time sensitive. Meeting invites come in. Official matters submitted weeks ago start getting responses.

Many have written about how difficult is for Americans to let go of work, and how common it is to check emails and keep working even during vacations. I am guilty, but I cannot really help it. In a way, being an early adopter of technologies has been very helpful in my professional development, and this includes being, if not “on top” of everything, but being “aware” of what is going on.  That said, I am not happy with the nagging sense of bad conscience when I see my virtual colleagues actively involved in discussions such as the Scientific American blogging/harassment fiasco or the debt ceiling debacle and its implications on scientific research.

I am trying really hard to forgive myself.

Just sent an email to my students. I feel better now.

Time to go for a hike 🙂

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