Sunday, April 30, 2006

For Celeste

Two years ago today I woke up in labor, but I didn't realize it. The baby, our daughter, Celeste, never had a chance to live, but we didn't know that yet, either. I was only 17 weeks along, but I'd seen her heart beating on ultrasounds and felt her moving a few times. Within an hour, it was all over and I was crying on the bathroom floor, unable to stop saying, "I'm sorry," to DT and unable to believe what had just happened. My second daughter was born that day, but it haunts me that I don't really know when she died.

I don't get to say these things in real life. It's uncomfortable for other people, and I'm not supposed to be grieving for her still. After all, we've "replaced" her, right? I have two healthy children. But the fact that I still mourn Celeste has nothing to do with my love for WonderGirl or Rocco. It feels like a political statement to even call Celeste "my daughter" or to say that she was born or that she died. Talk about making the political personal. I loved her, and I love her, and I miss her.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A notable Saturday morning

I am spoiled.

DT is an amazing dad. He is exceedingly good with children (it's an occupational hazard for him) and, while he has never managed to breastfeed, he does his share of everything else. I feel confident that if he could nurse, he would do it gladly, too. Because of this, I rarely feel like a solo parent, which seems to be a bit unusual when I look at our family and friends. DT's work schedule is more traditional than mine, so I often have both kids by myself after school until dinner, but that's usually as far as it goes. Like I said, I'm spoiled.

This weekend, though, DT has to work. This means he goes in early and comes home when he's done, which could be noon, could be 5pm. I dread these weekends because I'm very aware that my mental health hinges on feeling like I have a partner in crime, I mean, parenting. (I know it's a cliche, but I reallyreallyreally don't know how single parents, military parents, etc. do it. I. Do. Not. Know.)

Given that buildup and history, I have been pleasantly surprised today. When Rocco woke up, DT got him and I slept a few extra minutes. WonderGirl didn't wake up until after DT left, and the three of us had a relaxed breakfast. It was clear that Rocco was already sleepy by then, and I put him down for an early nap. There's a whole post on his sleeping issues coming at some point, but suffice it to say that if he sleeps longer than 30 minutes, it is only because pigs are currently airborne. This morning, he started whimpering after 30 minutes, but I left him in his crib for a bit, and after 10 minutes or so, he fell asleep again. It was wonderful. WonderGirl and I snuggled and read multiple books, then had a snack. Rocco woke up an hour later (refreshed for a change) and we all played and got dressed. We went to the Y for WonderGirl's gymastics/ballet class; Rocco went to the play center while I walked on the track and watched WonderGirl. They were having a health fair at the Y and the poor free-massage guy looked so lonely, so I got a wonderful 10-minute chair massage before doing some weights and then gathering up the chillun'. DT called to say he was done working just as we were leaving the Y, so we all met for lunch.

I feel like an actual competent parent. Both kids are napping again now. (Okay, fine, WonderGirl is just resting, but at least she's horizontal. Okay, so she wasn't horizontal until I just checked on her, but now she is.) They're both fed and healthy, minds and bodies stimulated and rested as appropriate. It's a friggin' miracle.

I am, however, still dreading tomorrow, when I will probably be revealed as a terrible mother and my children will eat processed foods and attack insects. But for today, we're all good.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Some advice, free of charge, because I like you

If you have a grad student in your life of the PhD variety, do not say, "When are you going to graduate?"

It seems to be fairly uncommon it is for people to understand how a typical PhD program works. Most people are used to the idea of high school (4 years), college (4 years), med school (4 years), most masters programs (around 2 years)... but it's difficult to comprehend why you would enter a program without having a defined timeline for leaving. The fact is, you finish a PhD when you've done enough new, at least semi-important, research. When you've contributed enough to your chosen field, you get a degree and leave. If you're a bit slow publishing and someone else "scoops" your findings by publishing first? Well, tough, and no, you don't get credit for it in some fields. I knew people who left programs after 5 years because they were scooped and knew they didn't have time to do another full dissertation's worth of work before their program kicked them out at the 7 year mark. Here, have a master's for your troubles, and enjoy finding another career.

For a lot of people, this is unsettling. (No, I'm not talking about the actual students. For them it's more nausea-inducing.) My father-in-law regularly is surprised that I don't know when I'll finish. I had thought it might be this spring at one point (HA! And I'll say it again - HA!), but then Rocco was conceived and born, and that slowed me down. When your biological clock's alarm sounds, it slows down your academic clock. That makes intuitive sense to me, so why does my father-in-law still think I'm on my way to mortarboard nirvana soon?

I'm a bit unusual, however, in that I'm not really rushing to get out. DT has a good, stable job, we're not sure if we want to move or not when I finish, and most importantly, I want to keep a good balance between my family and school. This means I'm watching newer students finish their degrees and go off for interesting jobs, but I'm happy where I am and generally happy to enjoy the process instead of rushing to finish.

That said, I would like to finish at some point, and that point seems to be moving further away every day. My brother once told me (while working on his own doctorate) that I shouldn't become obsessed with my research but that at the same time, "Every day you don't work is a day later that you graduate." Three years ago, that trade-off was easier to make. Now, I'm struggling more with how to prioritize as the years click by. I spent most of today on a field trip with WonderGirl, and I'm grateful that my schedule is flexible enough to allow that easily. However, I'm also aware that if I did everything her school requests (since I'm a student and it is therefore assumed that I have no commitments), I would have a hard time maintaining traction on my own research.

Someday, though, I'll be Dr. Ruth, I know it.

Wait, that's what I'm working for? Sheesh.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Four things

I was tagged by my non-blogging friend Patty...

Four jobs I've had in my life:

  1. running a carousel in the mall (Does that count as being a carny? "Carny" sounds much cooler.)
  2. library shelver
  3. bookstore cashier and stocker
  4. "The science lady" - outreach educator for a science museum
Four movies I would watch over and over:
  1. Red
  2. Next Stop Wonderland
  3. Zoolander
  4. Bull Durham
Four places I have lived:
  1. North Carolina
  2. Houston
  3. Richmond, VA
  4. Atlanta
Four TV shows I love to watch:
  1. college basketball in general
  2. The Daily Show
  3. Six Feet Under
  4. Nova
Four places I have been on vacation:
  1. Nepal
  2. Fiji
  3. Banff/Jasper
  4. NC beaches
Four web sites I visit regularly:
  1. CNN
  2. A Little Pregnant
  3. Bitch, PhD
  4. Duke Basketball Report
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. vegetarian corn dogs
  2. fried green tomatoes
  3. tequila (that counts, doesn't it? It's made from a plant.)
  4. strawberries, cheese and crackers (together, so it counts)
Four places I would rather be right now:
  1. on a bike ride (it's actually cool outside right now)
  2. eating lunch with DT
  3. at the beach
  4. sleeping, snuggled up with WonderGirl and Rocco and not worrying that it will teach them bad sleep hygiene
Four things I always carry with me:
  1. cell phone
  2. wallet
  3. breastpump
  4. secret decoder ring

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Friday, April 21, 2006

Buy! me!

Somehow my school email address has landed on a new spam list this week. Usually I just get 4 or 5 commercial spam emails a day (compared to 20 school spam emails, but apparently I'm supposed to care about those) -- this week I'm getting 40 or 50 a day.

It's generally not a big deal, we have very agressive filtering software that uncermoniously dumps them all into a spam folder, which I check daily and delete. They virtually never get through to my real inbox.

However, these latest emails are trying my patience. All the subjects end! in! exclamation! points! and as I scan the subjects before deleting, the words! end! up! in! my! head! and it's like grinding teeth.

I miss the Nigerian bank spams. The grammar sucked, but the punctuation was understated and spot-on.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

No snappy title, just frustration

Like many Duke alums, I have been following the lacrosse team, uh, situation? fiasco? freakshow? with a mixture of revulsion and dread about what else is going to happen. There has been a lot written, and I don't want to rehash everything, but a few points keep coming up for me:

  1. Given all I've read about the lacrosse team's history and habits, I am profoundly grateful that I didn't know they existed when I was there.
  2. As I read about the ever-emerging inconsistencies in the accuser's story, and the fact that she ID'ed someone with "100% certainty" who now appears to have a pretty good alibi, I am growing increasingly irritated that she is the current face of sexual assault. Reporting a rape is traumatic and frightening enough already. The publicity and (valid) questions are only going to make it less likely that the next woman who is assaulted will get the support she needs.
  3. Given 1 and 2, there is no way anyone is coming out of this smelling like roses. An awful situation all the way around. DA Nifong has encouraged a runaway train.
  4. I am embarrassed that I hadn't thought about this, but The Happy Feminist makes excellent points about the security guard who asserted that the woman wasn't raped. How is a rape victim supposed to act? As THF says,
    The guard's opinion is further fascinating to me because it illustrates very clearly the problems rape victims face. The guard for some reason felt herself qualified just by looking at Doe to determine whether Doe had been raped-- and felt no hesitation about essentially labeling her a liar.
  5. I am incredibly annoyed that I can't get any good offseason recruiting/NBA defection news for basketball because my favorite board is completely taken up by discussion of lacrosse.

Here's my real issue, though. I am frustrated that this case will now define Duke for many people. I grew up in North Carolina, and I was influenced from a very early age by everyone who told me that Duke was for people who were rich, Yankees, white, jerks or, usually, all four. I always cheered for the Duke basketball team (except for that one embarrassing year where I wanted to fit in at school), but I kept those Duke stereotypes anyway. When it was time for me to choose a college, I ended up going to Duke because I had a tuition scholarship there and I couldn't justify spending so much money on another school if I could go there cheaply. It would have cost more to go to UNC. So I went, and I spent my entire freshman year on the bus to Chapel Hill to visit my high school friends there. I believed that I knew what the typical Duke student was like, and I let myself begin to feel quite isolated.

My sophomore year, I became more involved in the Duke and Durham communities, began to make more friends, and was shocked (shocked!) to find out that all of the stereotypes I cherished weren't actually true. Yes, there were jerks at Duke, and yes, something like half the school bought into the fraternity/sorority system, but I finally realized that meant at least half of the school didn't spend their entire life at kegs. I became very involved in community service, found a major that I loved and met my husband and a close circle of friends who came from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Duke ended up being incredibly good for me - I was challenged academically, I began many transformative relationships and I found out how rewarding it was to give my time to help improve the city in which I lived.

Now, everyone hears Duke and thinks, "Rich white boys from the Northeast raping poor black mothers who have to strip to go to school."

One of the things that has made this such a flashpoint is obviously the makeup of Durham, and the fact that is equally divided between blacks and whites. I've always wondered if racism is more defined in the South because we all actually live together. It's easier to "see" less racism when cities are more segregated. There is also clearly building tension between the school and the town. When I was there, Duke students rarely moved off-campus, so when you did, it was because you wanted to be part of the Durham community. Now, apparently it's more common, and the students that are off-campus aren't exactly there as ambassadors, they're there because it's easier to drink. I hate to think that all of the work Duke has done as an institution to try to be a good neighbor and partner with the community will be torn down by a group of drunken idiots.

On a personal level, though, I hate knowing that the small-minded people who had me convinced I was going to a school full of one type of person are having those beliefs supported and vindicated by this story. Yes, the lacrosse players are Duke, but so am I, dammit.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My biggest challenges today

In the Parent of a Boy category:
Figuring out when Rocco was still awake as I rocked him and when he was truly zonked but doing that creepy sleep-with-your-eyes-open thing.

In the Parent of a Girl category:
Summoning the activation energy to give WonderGirl a goodnight kiss and actually leave her room after she told me, "Every time you kiss me on the nose, I'll wake up and have a bright, glittery smile. Like this."

In the Overly Advised Grad Student category:
Asking for help from both Dr. Nice and Dr. Brilliant without having each of them assume the other would actually provide the help. (Didn't do this one well, still waiting for a response. Drat.)

In the I'm a Person, Not Just a Parent and Student category:
Um, showering.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Easter

DT, WonderGirl, Rocco and I attend a Unitarian Universalist (UU) church. UU tradition is strongly rooted in Christianity, but it is a creedless church and pulls people from all sorts of faith histories. Just as an example, UUs are comfortable talking about Jesus as an historical figure but a mention of God in our church is usually either:

  1. qualified ("God, Creator, Spirit of Life, Instigator of Patterns...") or
  2. controversial within the congregation, leading to emails to the minister.
Despite these boundaries, yesterday we had an excellent, even spiritual, sermon on Easter. (In case you're wondering, yes, UUs do get dolled up for Easter, and yes, we did run out of seats in the sanctuary.) We read the biblical Easter story, where Mary Magdelene goes to Jesus' tomb and finds it empty, then mistakes the resurrected Jesus for a gardener. One point of the sermon was then that resurrection isn't the same as revival. It is appropriate in the story that Mary Magdelene didn't recognize her teacher; he was transformed.

The sermon, the beautiful weather we're having, WonderGirl's predilection for pretending to be a caterpillar who cocoons then emerges as a butterfly, Rocco's increasing engagement with the world and let's be honest, the wine I've been drinking every night on the patio, have all contributed to a sense of spring which I don't remember feeling for a long time. There is a transformational nature of spring for me this year instead of just the rebirth of the sun. Simply, it's good and I'm grateful for it. I hope I can hold it for a while.

In the same vein, a solution to our fertility problems was apparently right in front of my nose the whole time. An alternate view of Easter can be had via Overheard in NY:

Old man #1: Do you know why a bunny is connected to Easter?
Old man #2: No.
Old man #1: It's because Easter is about fertility and rabbits are animals that are always copulating.
Old man #2: Huh, I never heard about that.
Old man #1: Think about it. On Easter, you have the bunnies and the bunnies have eggs and the eggs have children in them.

--Penn Station

Overheard by: Amanda Matteis

Friday, April 14, 2006

Full of sound and fury

Right now, as I'm sitting at my desk trying to work, I'm listening to three of my officemates (oh, we are legion, the students in office 423! No matter how many you strike down, more of us will rise!) uh, sorry...

Anyway, I'm listening to three of my officemates talk to each other. At the same time. As in, all three of them are speaking at least 70% of the time - how do they do it? Granted, they're using a language I don't know - perhaps this language typically has a large number of placeholder comments, where they could all be saying "uh" the whole time, and only one is actually using unique words? I have a hard enough time following conversations with one person talking at a time. I'm so curious.

Uh oh, I just heard the words "office space" in English. This can't be good.

True dat

Okay, my husband did his homework and picked his nickname. Double True, but I'll call him DT for short. And no, I don't think I understand what he's getting at.

I do know that thinking of him as Double True is making that the old Spandeau Ballet song, "True" go through my head, so there will need to be apologizing (from him to me, natch) in the QoD house tonight.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I am feeling the need for pseudonyms.

It feels a bit awkward, writing about "my 4-year-old daughter" and "my infant son" all the time, so I have decided to take the plunge and name my family. Of course, it's been awkward for my kids at daycare already, as they're the only ones without names, so this is a bonus all around. I've been putting off doing this, though, because it's just so final. But here we go. Since PK (Pseudonymous Kid) was already taken, I give you... WonderGirl and Rocco.

Of course, my husband also needs a name, but I'll let him pick it and update you later.

I've also noticed that, although I intended this blog to be about a mixture of school and parenting, the parenting part is taking over the school part. After careful consideration (don't laugh), I believe that is because parenting is more universally understood and therefore much easier to describe. Graduate school, especially a very open-ended PhD program with a nontraditional advisory relationship... not so much.

In an effort to make it more likely that I will write about school, I'm also going to name my advisors. I'm in an odd situation of working in a field that's a bit of an offshoot from my actual department. Therefore, I have one advisor in my department, but who doesn't know my subject matter, one advisor from a different department in my subject area and one advisor from an outside agency. They are:

Dr. Heroic, in my department. Protects me from rabid dogs and people trying to usurp authorship, sees it as her role to support women in graduate school. Has no idea what I'm doing.

Dr. Nice, my true subject-matter advisor. Younger than I am (let us never speak of this again), still learning how to advise a student, very well-meaning, collaborates heavily with:

Dr. Brilliant, who came on as an advisor late, and I'm still not sure how it happened. Adjunct in my department, seems like a nice guy, but doesn't get that I actually have to think through issues and take time to do things. He apparently has no such constraints.

All this naming is tiring. I need chocolate.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Now I am the master

My advisor may have won round one but I've come back strong. After I fired off two content-filled missives yesterday (on a weekend!), rife with results and pink with future possibilities, my advisor emailed me tonight with approval and one further thought. He wrote at 9:20pm; I replied at 9:43pm.

Round two to Ruth.

Hopefully this makes up for the fact that I'm taking the kids to the zoo in the morning and won't be at school until afternoon.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Dear Mr. or Ms. Clothing Manufacturer,

Since you apparently have so many extra pockets floating around your assembly facility that you are forced to either sew them into infant clothing or throw them away, do you think, perhaps, you could PUT A POCKET IN A PAIR OF WOMEN'S PANTS?

I just feel silly asking my 8-month-old to carry my keys.

Yours truly,

Friday, April 07, 2006

Why I wrote the previous post

Obviously, with my two children, I am not the stereotype of a woman who has problems conceiving or staying pregnant. I have often wished that those of us who know how those things feel had some sort of aura, or gang sign, or secret handshake so that we could recognize each other easily. Before I had my son, that wish grew out of my need to remember that I wasn't alone, that other people had miscarriages and still had healthy babies later. Now, it's different. I am acutely aware that almost anyone I see could be dealing with infertility or loss, and I have no desire to play the role of the clueless fertile, or the mom with two kids who has no idea how it feels.

Twice today, though, that has happened.

My daughter's preschool teacher, a dynamic woman who is 35 and about to get married, told me that she has fibroids and "every time" she's conceived, the fibroids grow aggressively and she loses the baby. She won't be able to have children and is looking at a hysterectomy sooner rather than later. I was reminded again (though perhaps "reminded" is the wrong word to use when something is rarely far from your thoughts) how over-the-moon lucky I was to have a healthy baby before our nightmares started. People who have miscarriages before having a healthy child are forced to mourn the loss of a specific pregnancy and, at the same time, confront the fear that they will never know how it feels to be a parent to a living child.

The second incident was when we went to one of our favorite restaurants for dinner tonight. The last time we had seen one particular server was several months ago, when he held our baby and told us that his wife was pregnant and he needed practice. He had been so earnest and excited and, well, cute. Tonight, he was startled to see how much our son had grown, and when we asked how much longer his wife had to go, he smiled a little and said, "She couldn't go through with it." I have no idea if that means that she miscarried or had an abortion. We were both effusive in telling him we were sorry, but I knew that he had no idea that we had any clue what he might have been feeling. He played with our son an amazing amount for someone who had dealt with either of those situations. I felt completely helpless and awkward, which I never expected to feel in such a situation.

I often think that when my kids are older, I'd like to find ways to help support families who have suffered miscarriages. One of our hospitals has a perinatal loss department that helped me quite a bit, and I'd like to go thorugh their training. Experiences like the ones I had today make me wonder, though, if I should. I have rarely felt so impotent and so obviously mom-ish. I have a strange fear of someone changing the secret handshake and not telling me.

My first perhaps-overly-personal post

Bear with me, I'm about to write about something which I have promised myself I won't hide, but which can be difficult for me to discuss. This may not be graceful. (This is, of course, in stark contrast to my usual writing. Oh, humor me.)

I am, technically, a recurrent miscarrier. Actually, the medical term is "habitual aborter," or "hab ab" when you just don't have the time to really sock someone. My first pregnancy was my daughter and it couldn't have been more textbook. There was the little matter of not getting pregnant for over a year, then the Clomid, but that worked the first cycle. We were fortunate enough to have a perfect little baby - a girl with all ten fingers and toes, whose growth matched percentiles throughout my pregnancy, whose head didn't have disturbing proportions, whose amniotic fluid was lush and plentiful. I didn't even know to appreciate most of those things at the time. (The ten fingers and toes I did get. Insert inbreeding joke here.)

I was naive.

When we were ready for a second child, we tried again for a year and were thrilled when I got pregnant without using Clomid - how lucky! How miraculous! We were like everybody else! That pregnancy was my daughter, Celeste. For 16 weeks we thought everything was fine. For another week we knew it probably wasn't. I miscarried her naturally at home, early on a Friday
morning that I feel fairly sure will not fade for me in any significant way. We found out later that Celeste had triploidy - 69 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. I still feel strangely proud of her for making it 17 weeks with what had to have been an unusually confused host of cells making up her tiny body.

I got pregnant again the very first time I ovulated. Now we really were lucky, we thought - this would help heal the shock of losing Celeste, and it was only fair that after having a second-trimester loss, we would get pregnant again quickly. (Fair! Ha! Apparently naivete does not go gently into that good night.) At my 8-week checkup, the same ultrasound tech who had given us the first hint of bad news before seemed truly relieved to see us again so soon. It didn't take any specialized ultrasound experience to see the completely still, silent embryo on the screen, though. The baby was a boy, this time with trisomy 4.

I decided to consult a specialist. At the first visit, after hearing that I had had two close chromosomal losses, my RE told me that we'd never have another healthy baby if we didn't do IVF with PGD. (If the only acronym in the previous sentence familiar to you is IVF, count yourself lucky and go hug your kids.) We knew we didn't want to go down that path. I convinced the doctor to do a slightly-more-agressive-than-normal Clomid cycle (read: my husband had to give me a shot) and we were again struck by good lightning, in the form of my son who is upstairs sleeping peacefully as I write this. He was monitored so closely - I always win the "how many ultrasounds did you have?" contest - and I never fully relaxed, but everything ended well. We have two beautiful children, just like we'd hoped, and I have the freedom of knowing I should never have to do twice-weekly blood draws again in the pursuit of a child.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Things I Have Accomplished As Of 9:30am EDT:

  • Folded two (two!) fitted sheets in a manner demonstrably different from wadding them up.
  • Successfully moved my infant over the sink mid-vomiting process so that my shirt was saved. Sadly, his onesie was a loss.
  • Took a 30 minute nap after my normal wake-up time. (Thanks, love!)
  • Had my smug, self-congratulatory grad-student self smacked down. Yes, I may have sent a thoughtful and thorough email to my advisor at 10:35pm last night, showing that although I was home with a sick child yesterday and didn't work during the day, I still Care and still Want to Succeed in Graduate School, even if it means Going to Sleep Late. However, he sent an email back at 10:58pm, so I don't Win.
  • Almost finished my first cup of coffee. Yikes! Where are my priorities?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Home is where the boarding pass says

My father and his wife came to visit this weekend. They live in the Northeast, in a small town - okay, outside a small town - two hours from the nearest airport. We don't see them enough, and when they do come visit, he adheres strictly to the old Southern doctrine that both fish and houseguests start to smell after three days. Our visit usually feel rushed and a bit forced, especially in contrast to my mother-in-law's visits, which are more like mini-colonizations. But that's another blog post.

In any case, my dad grew up in yet another small town, a little over 100 miles from where I live. This weekend we went back to visit. We stopped by the house his parents built, where they raised their four sons and then lived until they died. The woman who lives there now (who used to live just down the street) invited us in to look around, apologizing for the mess, which apparently meant there was a speck of dust somewhere. It was eerie to wander through the rooms again where I'd spent so much time on visits growing up. We went through the breakfast room where we played pre-Atari bowling video games, past the space for the ping-pong table (house rules that if the ball touched the support pole in the basement, it was still playable), through the bedroom where we discovered my dad's old notebooks in which he scored every Red Sox game on the radio when he was growing up, when his admiration for Ted Williams was cemented.

My grandparents were both born in that town and both died in that town. We went past the house where my dad was born, which was less than three blocks from his parents' first house, across the street from the church they helped found and down the hill from the elementary school. Their furniture store was two blocks away and the house they built was less than a mile in the other direction. My grandfather died in his 90's from injuries received in a car accident at an intersection in the same part of town. My grandmother died of heart failure less than three weeks later - no one was surprised, and the same friend who sang "I Won't Have to Cross Jordan Alone" at Pop's funeral sang it again at hers.

My grandfather dropped out of school around 8th grade. My grandmother went to college but left after a year because she was homesick. Their sons all went on to earn PhDs, then they all moved away. My grandmother never got over that. Even as a kid, I thought it was strange and that she should have expected her sons to grow up and grow apart from her. Now that my husband and I are flying distance from all of our family and I've had to explain to my daughter that her grandmother doesn't live on an airplane, I think I get where my grandmother was coming from. She was provincial and fairly narrow, but that made it natural for her to understand something that too many people don't appreciate now. Visiting for three days just isn't the same.