Earlier this month, on the first of December to be exact, I had a date with my son at a restaurant. We sat by the window on the second floor. He really enjoyed looking out on the street down below and pointing to every ‘auto’, ‘fiets’, or ‘bus’ that caught his eye. The food was delicious and we continued to the public library afterwards.
It was a bit slow to walk in the Centrum with my toddler, because he loves to suddenly stop and explore things, or change direction, but we eventually reached the public library nonetheless. During the cold winter, this is the place where my son goes to play, read books, watch videos, meet friends, and roam indoors. Both of us had a great time and enjoyed the day and I, especially, really cherish this kind of moments. My husband had a deadline and was unable to join us. He is an excellent cook, however, so when we arrived home, we had a nice meal too.
This kind of simple, everyday celebration is important to keep us happy and healthy and sustain our endurance in our long-term, exciting research project that has been coming along well so far. Overall, I encourage taking intermittent breaks, holidays or small celebration every now and then. It does not have to be fancy and you do not need any specific reason to celebrate. You do not need to wait until the end of your study to have a celebration. This kind of happy ritual is a good thing to counter the academic culture that encourages us to work overtime, or using one of my professors’ words: to be ‘systematically overworked’.
By now, most students and staff in Wageningen will probably be in the mood for celebration too. Take the master’s students for example: this may be their last day of exams and they are going to have a break until the first week of January 2017. Al of us might be ready to head off to go home, whether in the Netherlands or abroad, to meet family and enjoy the holidays together. Most of my PhD friends have already gone back to their respective countries. My family is also looking forward to go home, thanks to the secretariat of Sociology and Anthropology of Development: Diana Dupain, Marielle Takes, and Sanne Hannink who took care of our tickets. What a tremendous help!
See you again next year!