Many of you will have already received this as an email, but I wanted to share it with everyone else who I don't necessary have addresses for. I passed my viva, with minor corrections-- which means I have a couple of things the examiners want me to do before they say it's officially done. I have til 1 January to get them done, but they will be done before then. I'm not sure yet whether or not I'll be able to do the graduation ceremony in November (stupid univeristy contradictory rules), but either way, I'm practically done already.
Doing a PhD is not something that anyone can really understand, unless you've been through it. I can't explain what it's like, how horribly difficult a long, long slog it is, with moments of amazement, gratification and joy. Even being done is not all happiness and light-- but I am proud of myself, and glad to have reached this point. These are the acknowledgements printed in my thesis, and I want to share them with you. Please find yourself in their lines, and thank you.
Although I am passionate about this topic, and it has grown largely out of my whole life experiences, it has been the case more often than not that I despaired of ever finishing this thesis. The fact that I have made it to this point means there are several people who deserve recognition of my undying gratitude.
Thank you, God. There is absolutely no way this would ever have happened if it weren't for You. Everything good in it is praise to You; anything not good is down to me.
To the Theologicans, past and present, your support and fellowship on this long, dark road is most appreciated. I can't wait to celebrate with all of you, as well. You know who you are....
Thank you especially to Carolyn, Barb, and Lynch. More than most, you have been exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. I have no doubt that you were God-sent to me, and my life would be far less without you in it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To my friends on both sides of the Atlantic and, indeed, around the globe, thank you for encouragement, conversation, interest in my life and my research, and Facebook fun. Wherever I am, you will always be welcome.
To my family, thank you for your part in making me who I am. That is part of what has brought me to this point. Especially to my sister, Jennifer Balazadeh, thank you for having the two best children in the whole entire world, so that I can be Cool Auntie Amie.
To Brian Brock, my supervisor—thank you for knowing those things I didn't even know I didn't know about the process and the system, for encouraging me in the worst times, and for getting me to this point. If there were times you thought I wouldn't make it, you never said it, and I appreciate that. I thought it enough myself. I know how truly I have been blessed to have a supervisor about whom I have no complaints.
To Kenny Thom, my long-suffering and very gracious flatmate, I would not have made it in Aberdeen for very long if it weren't for you. You have become like family, and have been better to me than I deserve in more ways that I can name, and I owe you far more than I could ever repay. Thank you.
To the families who have taken me in and loved me like family, you have saved my life—or at least my sanity. To the Cornells, the Kelly-Johnstons and the Beckers particularly, you and your children have made my heart glad when everything else felt miserable. Thank you, and I love y'all.
To my church family at Crown Terrace Methodist, thank you for always remembering me, being interested in me, and loving me--whenever I happened to show up. Thank you for being the friendliest church family ever.
To the Aberdeen Book Club, over the years-- there were times when you were my only and best social interaction, and I thank you so much for the friendship and the chance to read good books together. You've helped form me in my years here, both by the books you chose and your time with me. Thank you.
To the coffee growers and cafés, the chocolatiers and wineries of the world, thank you. Without you, I would not have made it through. Zeste, especially, thank you for your customer service with a scowl.
To all 'my' kiddos—Machias and Semiah, especially—it is largely for you I have done this. I hope it is worth something. You are the best things in my world, and I love you more than I can possibly express.
Finally, to the men in my life who have helped me become the person I am today: Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, Charles Wallace Murray, Will Stanton, Merriman Lyon, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, and, especially, Aslan.