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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Study Stress on the Homefront

TransitionalPTSPetya and I are experiencing a bit of stress this week. Final exams for a state archaeological certification program in a nearby state loom large. It all started because he was interested at the age of 15 and I was simply his driver to different digs, labs and field surveys. Then somehow, I became involved, attending lectures and working on excavations. In the final analysis, we both became students in the program… while simultaneously, he was an undergraduate and I was a graduate student at other universities doing different studies… while simultaneously, we both worked, as well.

Are you following this?

So, never mind our regular studies and papers due right and left,coastal_pot1 now we were studying for a multi-hour lab exam looming on the horizon. Including prehistoric pottery, historic pottery, glass, metals, lithics, archaeobotanical and archaeozoological questions, it was enough to make our heads swim.

And our family didn’t understand it at all. They just wanted to play. And have fun.

We were cast as the proverbial sticks-in-the-mud, with no regard to the pressure being heaped on us.


thMeanwhile, his job was heating up with the bosses placing on Petya more and more responsibility and office duties. They discussed additional hours and our son bringing home work to do at night. Understaffed in certain areas, he was willing to step up to the plate, but he was already standing on second base in more ways than one.

Things were heating up for me, as well. And it was all converging upon us during the week of part one of our final exams. In addition to our other studies and our jobs.

I studied dozens of projectile points, the temper, slip and glaze of every ceramic under the sun, wrought metalnails, cut nails or wire nails, which historic bottle shapes were used for what purpose, time periods and kiln firing temperatures, which specific animal bones were manufactured into which type of prehistoric tools. The more I studied, the more questions arose.

Chert, chalcedony, rhyolite…creamware, pearlware, whiteware with glazes pooling green or yellow, bluish, white… bones that were gnawed by another animal, bones that were intentionally cut for toolmaking or butchering, bones whose joints told the story of how old or young the subject was. We photocopied and downloaded and researched, checking and doublechecking our own photos of type collections. The two of us studied apart and together.

colonial_coinsMeanwhile, the rest of the family played or complained about us being killjoys. We had talked about supportive behaviors before, yet somehow, they had bailed on their side of the bargain, while our eyes became blurry and bloodshot.

Sleep. All we wanted was a main course of sleep, with perhaps a side of understanding for good measure. Instead, we kept studying.

Later in the summer, the written exams and essays would be upon us, so shrinking back now was not an option….


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