Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Three years in diaspora

The day before yesterday, at breakfast, Staffan said he was going to buy champagne. We have long since stopped celebrating published articles, book contracts, unexpected royalties and other work-related events; I was sure it wasn't my or his birthday or our anniversary, so I was a question mark. "Use your brain", he said. I did. Nothing happened. "Three years since I came to Cambridge", he said. It means today it is three years since I came to Cambridge. I am not sure whether it is an occasion for celebration or reflection.

The natural thing now would be to look back at these three years, but I won't. I can just read through this blog from the very beginning. This is exactly why I started blogging. I won't think about everything I left behind, because it is pointless. Instead, I am thinking about what my life might have been if we hadn't moved to Cambridge. And I am not talking about the serendipity of that dinner conversation in Barcelona, but about my conscious choice. I believe that human beings have a free will. But I also believe, at least a bit, in that parallel world in which I made a different choice.

What we had decided before I got the job here in Cambridge was that I would quit my job in Stockholm. So I assume that I would have done so. My idea for a living was to write textbooks. I have two textbooks on the market and get nice royalties, so if I could write a couple of textbooks every year we'd manage. I would also do workshops and advertise myself worldwide as guest lecturer. I would spend much more time in Finland and teach and supervise there. I wouldn't want to be without students. I would - as I actually do - teach online courses. I would continue on the ALMA jury. I would review books and do all those odd jobs a freelance academic can do. I could even do some translation.

I would possibly go to conferences, but I probably wouldn't be invited to many conferences without an academic affiliation. Or maybe I would. I had a solid reputation three years ago already. But I would have less time for academic writing if I were to write for my bread.

I would probably see my grandchildren a bit more often, but I am not sure. They are all very busy.

It would be very upsetting to think about everything I would have missed.

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