This is my second Independence Day here in T-town. And it is just as rainy as last year’s.
Last year, J and I were recovering from the trauma of my mom’s dramatic visit. We were invited by our dear friend B-bear to his place for 4th of July dinner. That was the first time I told anyone about what happened during my mom’s visit. And of course, I did not mean to, but as insightful as B-bear is, my cover-story did not pull it off. He gave me some pretty good advice, and during the conversation with him, I found myself become very objective about things happened between my mom and the reasons to why they happened. Now, a year has past, I feel like I am doing better than I was, although the progress is not remarkable, but it is there.
This year, we are dealing with the advisor-crisis. Let me just start with saying J’s PhD advisor is a difficult guy, and that is probably the nicest thing I can say about him. I have never known anyone who is more unworthy of the title “Professor”. Google defined the word “professor” as “a teacher of the highest rank in a college or university”. So no matter how advanced one is academically, when he is a professor, he is first and foremost a teacher. And a teacher is somebody who teaches and there is a whole lot of moral responsibilities attached with that job profession. J’s advisor does not teach and he does not care. All he does is exploiting his students, and of course, for his own good. As a teacher myself, I cannot disagree more with what he does as a teacher, and I believe it is people like him that make people think teacher poorly as a profession. And when you have somebody like that in your academic life, it is hell.
J has been working for his PhD degree for a full seven-year now. And it is still not finished. I have to admit his professor and J are both responsible. But if only he were a little bit more supportive than he always has been, J would have graduated already. I have learnt early since I started dating J that his advisor is a selfish prick. But what he did recently is just unbelievable. How could anyone tell his student he will not be having time to read several pages of his student’s work in the coming 25 days? Oh yes, he said t-w-e-n-t-y-f-i-v-e days. Especially when his student is rolling off credits to get an extension with the graduate school and hanging on a thread hoping to graduate in September??? He is the one who has the final say of whatever J writes. It’s not like we are asking him to read something J wrote for fun. It is his dissertation for crying out loud!! And while he won’t be having any time to read these pages in the coming 25 days, he will be busy traveling Europe with his family. I understand how difficult it must be traveling with his all-happy-about-life wife and two very obedient sons for 25 days in beautiful Europe, but he can’t squeeze out twenty minutes to read J’s writing? I am calling it total BS. He just doesn’t want to! What is the worst thing that can happen if J does not make it in September, huh? Well, J won’t be having more credits to roll off and will lose his PhD degree which he worked for the past seven and a half goddamn years. I am so crossed.
After the initial anger, I had an emotional break down in front of J. I felt like a failure. In Chinese culture, the success of being a woman is usually reflected as her husband’s achievements. And I had a feeling that I am failing J for not being able to help him graduate. I felt hollow inside. I am already a trophy wife, and now I cannot even help my husband. I watch him getting bullied by this awful advisor, and there is nothing I can do. I hate it. I hate the fact of me being incapable.
As always, J calmed me down with his gentle words and kisses. I felt a bit better after the toxic emotions washed out by tears. I started to prepare for dinner as a way to channel my energy. Shar and Big-P, our wonderful neighbors, invited us over for dinner right before the dishes were done. We gladly went and brought the baked summer squash and tomato, and the steamed eggs. They made hot dogs, burgers, and apple pie. I ate the most among the four of us. I had 2 hot dogs, 1 burger, and 1.5 slices of apple pie. This is a new record for me.
At the end, 4th of July turned out to be fine. I enjoyed the company of our great neighbors. J’s once again proved himself with his big heart. I wish one day I could be like him, and I am just so happy to have him in my life.