Kimine and Riyad are an interracial couple with two trilingual kids – 10 years old and 5 years old. They met at University of Toronto, where they both earned their PhDs. Kimine is the editor of this website. Riyad is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University (MSU) and a certified coach for National Center for Faculty and Diversity Development (NCFDD). While they both advocate for slowing down their busy lives, they are acutely aware that it is easy to succumb to a fast-paced and tech-savvy lifestyle. Their life project is to slow down the world and/or help those who want to slow down as a means to advance social change and healing.
Our academic journey
Both Kimine and Riyad have experienced the academic environment physically and intellectually at different levels. First, they were both doctoral students. After attaining a PhD, Riyad went through a post doc position, a visiting assistant professorship, and unemployment before securing his current tenure-track position at MSU. Kimine continued her PhD program till 2011. In the meantime, they also had life transitions, uncertainity, and hardships. To make a long story short, they experienced marriage, travels to see families around the world, a childbirth, cross-country/state moves (one time we had to move back to Canada from US in two weeks!), the end of contract without the next job, depression, miscarriages, visa applications and more. When they moved to Michigan in 2011 for Riyad’s new position, Kimine, who was pregnant with their second child, lost her father in Japan. It was a huge transition for all the family members (including their four-year-old son at that time). The relationship between the couple was sometimes fragile. Luckily, Riyad came across the NCFDD’s Faculty’s Success Program (FSP), which shifted their lifestyle towards more work-life balance. FSP was definitely their life saver. Since then, Riyad has become a coach for FSP and still receives a lot of benefits through his coaching work.
What we are up to now
Kimine is amidst transitioning her life paths. She was planning to pursue a career in the academy. She worked on academic papers to be published, attended conferences, and searched for an academic position for the last few years while she was staying at home with her kids. But after much reflection and soul searching, Kimine recently changed her mind and decided to explore a different ‘uncertain’ path based on her passion. Her passion lies in writing as a tool for self-healing and personal growth. Kimine wishes to inspire and be inspired by people through blogging. Since she also enjoys being with her kids, she has realized that the academy is no longer a right place for her to nurture her zeal for life (It took her a while to figure that out!).
On the other hand, Riyad started liking his academic job. He is a passionate pedagogue who pushes his students to push their boundaries of thinking and ways of being. While he is a productive scholar in his research, he enjoys his work-life balance. He believes that work-life balanced lifestyle is the key to good productivity in his profession.
Two important sources of their inspiration
Riyad published an article entitled, “Being lazy and slowing down: Toward decolonizing time, our body, and pedagogy” in 2014. In it, he problematizes the concept of time that he argues is derived from the Eurocentric linear outcome-oriented thinking, which makes the body invisible, while centering the mind. This piece has been downloaded over 1000 times by public readers over the past year. The article was one of their motivation sources to launch this website. Given the popularity and positive feedback of the article from students and academics around the world, Riyad and Kimine realized many were interested in slowing down.
The other source of their inspiration was Kimine’s article “The tea ceremony as a decolonizing epistemology: Healing and Japanese women” published in 2006. In this article, Kimine emphasized the importance of the process of making and drinking tea rather than the tea itself. She stated, “Although we human beings nowadays are busy and constantly rushing toward something, this tea ceremony slows you down and allows you to reflect on what is surrounding you and how you feel about it through all your senses” (p. 11).
As mentioned earlier, Kimine and Riyad are an interracial couple. Riyad is a Bangladeshi descendant and Kimine is Japanese. They have two trilingual kids, a 10-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. Both kids speak Japanese, Bengali, and English. All three languages are often used in their family. There are definitely challenges stemming from “difference” and cultural politics. But there are a lot to celebrate and cherish about them such as cuisines, books, and holidays. They are also foodies. They are definitely the types of people who live to eat, not eat to live. They would say that Riyad’s passion for food leads their whole family to trying various types of food by cooking and eating out. They also like to travel both within the US and outside. They recently started liking road trips too. The kids are their speed bumps. The kids often remind Kimine and Riyad of slowing down and being in the moment. As a family, they also like to watch movies and do funny faces.
Kimine and Riyad felt energized when they thought about collaborating as life partners on being lazy and slowing down the world. They are not perfect on being lazy and slowing down. But, it is something they truly value and strive to cultivate through their daily life. They wish to share their journey with the audience through lessons (the good, bad, and ugly) that they learned by embracing their vulnerability.