Hello? Anyone out there? *crickets*
C'mon, y'all. I can see the three of you. Hello! Echo...echo...echo...echo.
Ha. I'm such a joker.
Faithful friends and readers, thank you for not giving up on my entirely. If you are reading this now, you've at least not deleted me from your blogroll. Thank you for that. I have had loads of things I've done that I wanted to write about, and loads more things that I *should* write about... but I just haven't had the energy or presence of mind to actually sit down and write. Maybe it's just a by-product of being done with the thesis-- I have writer's block now. Better now than then, anyway!
Anyway. I just sent out this letter to all my email contacts, so if you're already read it, please feel free to skim or ignore or whatever. But I just wanted to update everyone on what's going on and what's going off and what's coming up and all that jazz. So here's the short version of my life right now:
I realise that I haven't written an update in years now. I also realise that I've been very, very remiss in emailing pretty much at all. For that, I do apologise. It's not that I don't miss you or think about you or pray for you... it's just that I've been very bad at letting you know that. Partly I blame writing a PhD thesis. Partly I blame Facebook (which is where I mostly keep up with people, so if you're on there and want to keep up with me, please find me!). Partly I blame the time going by faster and faster as I get older so that I hardly notice it's past. Mostly, though, it's just that I've gotten really bad at taking the time. I am sorry.
This note, however, is to let you know that I'm actually finally nearly done with my PhD! I know, it's been six years. You can hardly believe it. Me, neither. I submitted the monster of 100,000 words (give or take a few) on 2 August, and my viva (defence) is in ten days. TEN DAYS!! That's 20 September. Thank goodness it's not the 19th, as that's 'speak like a pirate day'. I'm betting that would be a little awkward. ;) So yup. A week from Monday at half ten in the morning my time (so the middle of the night for most of y'all), I will meet with two readers-- one from my university and one from another university-- to find out my fate. I'm nervous, of course. Who wouldn't be? But it'll be fine. I keep telling myself that, anyway. It'll be fine.
What happens after that, however, God only knows. I have hoped to stay in the UK and work for a year or two, and then figure out where I want to go next-- that plan seems to be in some trouble, thanks to the UK bordery agency still not having dealt with my visa extension that I applied for back in April. Technically now I'm illegal-- but they've had all my documents and application (and my passport, of course....yikes) since then. I'm not sure if they'll count that against me since it's not my fault or not, so I'm trying to find out whether it will be a total waste of my money to apply for the post-study work visa once the university cuts me loose. If I haven't heard back from the original visa application by then, that is. I really want to stay here a while longer... it's home now, after so many years, and I love it. I have been more myself here than probably any other time or place in my whole life. I have friends here who are more like family. I have an unlimited cinema card, and I don't have to have a car. It fits me, and I'm not ready to leave. However, I do realise that I might have no choice. I might get my April visa denied, in which case I won't be able to apply for the other from here. They might not accept my new application because of the delay in the other, but still would keep the huge application fee. Financially, it seems safer to just come back to the States... but that's not where my heart is.
Friends and family, would you please pray with me? About my viva, that it goes well and I'm not so stressed out that I burst into tears? Because that isn't unknown. I know, you're shocked. I never cry at anything. =D And about what happens next, mostly-- not for any specific outcome, but just that I would have a peace about whatever it is that I should do next. Because right now, I don't have peace about any of my options, for different reasons. I have no idea what to do next, and I don't feel like I really have 'choices', since so much of what will or won't happen is constrained by things completely out of my control. I know that God is in control, and that things will work out-- I just don't know how. And I've been in the dark on this for a loooong time. I'm really struggling with that now.
Thank you all so much for your support, love, and prayers over these past few years in Aberdeen. It has been hard and not always pleasant, but it has also been wonderful and challenging and surprising. I have learned a lot, about my research, of course, but also about myself. I can't believe this road is almost over. I seriously doubted over much of the past two years that this day would ever come. It felt impossible-- yet here I am. Thank you for walking it with me, even when you haven't heard from me. I would love to hear how things are in your world, though, and if there are ways I can be praying for you, please do let me know.
I'll let you know what happens in ten days. =D