I literally woke up this morning feeling the weight of the burden that I am imposing on my parents and crying as a result. I cried a bit in the shower. I tried to make sense of it but I didn't succeed. It is homesickness, but maybe it is more than that. Maybe it's some misplaced sense of guilt that I didn't spend as much time with them as I should have when I was in Singapore and Australia. Maybe it is a sudden realisation of the fact that they are ageing. I don't know.
On the bright side, the day eventually got better. I spent a few hours in the library re-reading for the nth time the Kymlicka chapter on communitarianism, hoping to finally understand why Dr P thinks it's useful, but I still didn't fully get it. More happily, I played tennis with Jay and it was pretty good. My forehand was dire, but the backhand was just so fucking on point. It connected with virtually every ball; it was great. We got chased off by an angry American woman after an hour, but we did exceed the time limit, so it was also our fault. It was funny though, the way Jay mocked her accent: 'Y'all need to leave!'
We hung out for a bit, talking about animals and zoos and his experience in a safari in Kenya. He's such a nice guy, and his girlfriend Elizabeth is lovely too. I'm glad to have friends who aren't at Cambridge; it's nice to have a dose of reality every once in a while.
John very kindly walked over to Magdalene from the law faculty to bring me leftovers from our conference yesterday. He informed me that he read this blog, months after discovering it (his interest in my life is staggering, is it not?). He spent some time lecturing me on the imperative of listening to the universe, which is basically telling me that I ought to be a writer. He also asked, 'What are you afraid of?'
I don't know. Stuff. Anyway, it was nice to spend some proper quality time with him. Quality time with John makes my day even if he spends some of that time being pervy. It was also exceedingly kind of him to walk 20 minutes to bring me the food, then walk 20 minutes back to the faculty to get his bike. What a great best friend!
So we had our legal theory workshop yesterday. To be honest, I was scared out of my mind about chairing a panel, so much so that I went back to the library after dinner with John and Raffael on Tuesday night and re-read the papers to prepare some questions, and find a generic question that I could ask all three presenters. I wanted to leave at 10.30pm, but I ended up leaving 10 minutes before midnight. I was exhausted. I didn't even finish re-reading one of the papers. I did come up with some generic question, but I wasn't sure how relevant it was to two of the papers because I made some loose connection between one paper that talked about the European Court of Human Rights as a mechanism for democratic accountability in a system of global constitutionalism, and the other two papers that touched on the democratic credentials of courts in constitutional review. It turned out that the question was most relevant for the ECtHR paper, and she was quite grateful, so that was good; but the other two...not so much.
I honestly am unable to think of things on the spot. I sit in a conference, listen to people talk, and things fly right over my head. I can't do what John does: phrase his thoughts in an eloquent and coherent manner. I was definitely the worst chair out of the three of us (me, John and Raff), but the point wasn't me; it was the presenters and the audience. People started asking question and it was easier for me from then on; all I had to do was to take note of who wanted to speak and make sure that I got the order correct.
Despite my trepidation, the workshop went really well. Lively discussion was had and the papers were all really interesting and diverse. Our keynote speaker was great too. I was just so amazed by the comments that he had for the presenters, so much so that I wished he would comment on some of my crap, too. I spoke to him briefly during lunch, mostly about my PhD, and he said to get past the liberal-communitarian divide, which I agree with. But I'll figure that out when the time comes for that.
I also talked to a classmate from the LSE who was in Dr K's Theory of Human Rights Law class. I'd never spoken to him before, but I thought he looked familiar when he turned up in the morning (I was the receptionist), and then he confirmed that we took the same course. He didn't remember me at all though, but that's to be expected because I didn't talk a lot in class.
Anyway, the workshop was great. I'm glad I did it even though I was stressing like crazy the night before, and basically the whole time before my panel. I think it brought back some of the motivation for the PhD, but I don't know. I don't know.
On a silly note, I may have a slight crush on someone. He was at the workshop yesterday, and although we'd briefly met at some point in a group, I'd never really spoken to him. We talked briefly during one of the breaks and again over dinner. I'd already noticed that he's really cute the first time I saw him in one of those PhD seminars, and he's also obviously really smart, doing Jurisprudence and all. But I was dating Dominic when I met him, so I didn't think about it further.
I still don't, not really. But he was surprisingly easy to talk to, and he arrived at the pub all sweaty and he had a good sense of humour about it, and he's just really good-looking. Like, crazy blue eyes, sharp features, whatever. He's on the short side, but most of the men I've dated and liked have been short anyway; in fact, I've only ever dated two tall men. And in all honesty, I felt an irrational sense of happiness for a few seconds when I saw that he sent me a Facebook friend request.
This is so bloody retarded. I am too old for this. I also don't have time for this. Above all else, it is bloody embarassing. John said I should make my move, but no! I have too much pride!