Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On the Hunt

Since my semester is now over I can take the time to catch up on some of the exciting stuff I did this fall. One of my classes was the required Research Seminar, which this semester centered around the theme of biography.  I decided to continue my work on Josephine Foster, who I portrayed in our time travels to 1912 last spring.  I'd been through most of the sources available to me in Las Cruces - issues of the Rio Grande Republican, Republic, and the Las Cruces Citizen. I requested microfilm of the Raton Range through Interlibrary Loan, but received word that no one was willing to lend the necessary reels. Funny, since when I spoke to one of holding libraries on the phone, they'd been perfectly willing to loan one reel at a time.

Rather than continue wrestling with Interlibrary Loan, I decided the situation called for a road trip.  I made a couple of reservations, checked opening times, borrowed a couple of audiobooks and prepared to spend my weekend up north. The hardest part would be leaving my kitten behind. I adopted nine week old Manticora on October 13, just three weeks before my planned excursion, and I was a bit worried about leaving her for the long weekend. 
Manticora, shortly after I brought her home.
But, my roommate would be there to take care of her and the research needed to be done. 

I stated right after my Thursday afternoon seminar, getting out of Las Cruces around 5 pm.  Before too long I encountered the rather comical Border Patrol checkpoint, where all they did was ask if I was a citizen and waved me on through. That first night I made it to Albuquerque and stayed in a motel 5 minutes from the UNM campus. I ordered dinner in so that I could get some homework done and a good night sleep before the next day's adventures. I also prepared a list of files I wanted to see at the State Archives. I left the next morning before the motel's complimentary breakfast had begun, intent on visiting the UNM library.

Walking across the UNM campus in the pre-dawn darkness was pretty creepy. 
Creepy statues on the UNM campus.
I got to the Zimmerman library at about 6:45 am only to have a security guard bar my entrance. Apparently, since I could not produce a UNM student ID, I needed to wait fifteen minutes before he could let me in. At least I got to wait inside - it was cold that morning! I wouldn't have been able to start immediately anyway as the area I needed to access didn’t open until 7 am. Down in the basement I found two reels of the Raton Range in the microfilm collection, one of which covered the tail end of the period I'm interested in (1905-1910). Unfortunately, the UNM library appears to be several decades ahead of NMSU - rather than the microfilm readers I'm used to, they had these hi-tech USB readers attached to computers. A student working the reference desk was kind enough to log me in using his credentials and set me up. I guess the advantage of these readers is that you can create digital images from the microfilm, but I think the viewing quality is rather diminished. Since the image travels by cable to a computer monitor it degrades more than when the film is viewed directly via lenses and mirrors. In any case, my early hours at UNM gave me the chance to discover the end of the Fosters times at the Raton Range.
UNM's Zimmerman Library before dawn.
I think I made it out of the library by 10 am, at which point the bustling campus was unrecognizable as the deserted grounds I'd crossed in the dark that morning. My next stop was the state archives in Santa Fe, where I arrived just as the reading room opened at noon. They couldn't pull anything for me until 1 pm, but that hour allowed me to compile a specific list of boxes and get a feeling for the archives' holdings. I hadn't realized that the Historical Services division shared their microfilm room with the Southwest Room, otherwise I may have tried to come earlier. I could have started with those collections as early as 9 am!
NM state archives in Santa Fe
The problem with researching someone like Josephine Foster is that there aren’t any "Foster" collections which have preserved her or her husband's papers for future historians. Instead, I feel like I have to come at her sideways, looking through documents concerning journalism in New Mexico and the papers of New Mexicans with whom the Fosters crossed paths. My requests included the collections of former governors Herbert J. Hagerman and George Curry, records from Dona Ana and Colfax Counties, files from the Bowman Bank & Trust, and WPA  research on the history of newspapers in New Mexico. Quite an odd assortment, which unfortunately produced very little in terms of results. It was a little embarrassing when after the staff took about an hour procuring a library cart full of boxes, I finished going through the files in less than 30 minutes. The  microfilm collection was much more promising as it included all available reels of the Raton Range from 1905 to 1910. I kept at it until the library closed at 4:30 pm, but it was good to know I could find the Range closer than Raton.

Speaking of Raton, that was my next destination. Spending so much time at the archives meant more driving after dark than I generally do, but what scenery I saw before sundown was beautiful. I passed the current offices of the Raton Range on the way to my Bed & Breakfast. 
Heart's Desire B&B, Raton NM
The Heart's Desire Inn offered an excellent location from which to explore the old center of Raton and a delicious breakfast each morning. The Victorian Room was a bit overwhelmingly feminine, but the bed was very comfortable after long days spent staring at microfilm. 
The exceedingly pink and frilly Victorian Room
My lovely host - a local schoolteacher - directed me to a couple of local places that would still be open for dinner, Crystal Cafe and El Matador. I opted for Italian over Mexican, though both restaurants were almost empty. Apparently Raton is such a small town that everybody shows up when the high school has a football game.

After a hearty breakfast of waffles, peaches, and bacon, I set off in the morning for the Arthur Johnson Memorial Public Library due to open at 10 am. Only two blocks away from my B&B, I have to say this is one of the best small town public libraries I have ever seen. 
Arthur Johnson Memorial Public Library, constructed 1912
Their collection was both varied and extensive, while the large number of patrons I saw would indicate that the library is also well used. I asked for directions to their microfilm and was led upstairs to a back room with several computers and two microfilm readers. One was of the same model found at NMSU and the state archives, but I was informed that it was a recent donation and missing parts. The working microfilm reader dated to the 1970s, could not print, and did not even allow the user to zoom in on images. 
The library's ancient microfilm reader
I settled in with a drawer full of microfilm reels for the next few hours. When I broke for lunch, I got a lovely meal at Enchanted Grounds nearby and stopped in at the Raton Museum. I met the curator, but he had never heard of the Fosters. Funny, since the Range became the first occupant of the museum's building under their leadership in 1908.  
108 S. Second Street - once home to the Raton Daily Range, now occupied
by the Raton Museum
I returned to the library and continued staring at microfilm until it closed at 6 pm. As I grew tired of taking copious notes during my brief time with the reels I tried photographing the images on the reader's screen. This worked surprisingly well and significantly accelerated my progress through the Raton Range.
One of Mrs. Foster's poems, captured with my camera
Downtown Raton, New Mexico
The current offices of the Raton Range
Inside the Heart's Desire. Lately I seem to only stay at places inhabited by
Weeping Angels
Goat Hill and the old Seaburg Hotel, once home to both the Raton Range
and the Fosters
Since the microfilm collection in Santa Fe was just as complete as that in Raton, I decided to spend another full day at the archives. The drive back to Las Cruces would also be more manageable in one day. Archives are rarely obliging enough to open on Sundays, so I took the day to travel and go over my notes. I planned to spend Monday at the archives and then drive back to Las Cruces Tuesday morning. I booked a two night stay at the Sunrise Springs Inn & Spa and headed back south.

Sunrise Springs proved to be just as relaxing as I had hoped. While the spa was not open on Sunday, the Blue Heron restaurant had a delicious brunch and a greatly enjoyed walking the grounds. My pond view room was tiny, but didn't include the distraction of a television and allowed me to listen to the sounds of the fountain. The only improvement might have been a desk. The grounds were also home to at least 8 semi-feral cats who lined up outside the registration office for their dinner. I enjoyed their company, but was very glad that I'd soon be returning to my own cat. 



My tiny Pond Room
The delicious Blue Heron Restaurant 
A few of the cats line up to say goodbye
I spent Monday looking exclusively at the Raton Range, but even then I couldn't make it through the entire paper. Perhaps in an effort to increase the number of issues for me to read, the Fosters changed the paper from a semi-weekly to a daily in 1908. Those five extra issues each week really slow down the researcher's progress. However, the state archives did allow me to continue photographing the reader's screen rather than forcing me to pay for copies or write my own notes. As in Raton, this helped me get through a lot more film than I otherwise would have been able to.

Returning to Las Cruces on Tuesday meant spending five nights away from Manticora and missing one class, but it was definitely worth it. The Raton Range charted Josephine Foster's entrance into the newspaper business and established both context and precedent for her later career in Las Cruces. I've made a great deal of progress unearthing Mrs. Foster's legacy, but here are some records that continue to elude me:

In 1912, H. B. Holt sued the Fosters for libel, demanding $20,000 in recompense. I could find no record of the suit in Holt's collection at NMSU or in the Dona Ana County records in Santa Fe.

Mrs. Foster's personal relationships do raise some questions. Why did she and Charles Hague divorce? How did she meet Orrin Foster? Why did she and Orrin Foster divorce?

Equally mysterious is Orrin Foster's first marriage and divorce with Inez L. Foster.

I have an Ancestry.com tree for Josephine Foster and I would love it if I could track down a living descendant. I would also be very excited to find an image of Mrs. Foster or any of her family.
Manticora at four months old. She forgave me for my brief absence back
in November

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The National WWII Museum

Last weekend I took a much needed break from Grad School to visit New Orleans with Eric and the rest of the Russian House Exiles. One of trip's highlights was definitely our time spent at the National WWII Museum. As I understand it, this museum was originally founded as the National D-Day Museum, the brainchild of Stephen Ambrose and the History Channel, but was rebranded and expanded as the National WWII museum after Hurricane Katrina threatened to shut it down permanently. The museum's complex currently occupies two city blocks and is still growing. We had some trouble finding the actual museum entrance and had to ask for help in one of the three museum stores. We felt slightly better about this when we helped out several other visitors who had the same problem.

Once inside, is it sad that I was a little underwhelmed by their presentation of a C-47? Besides that, they had one Sherman tank and a Spitfire in the pavilion that holds the vehicle collection. That's a pretty sad assortment if you ask me. Even the Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums has a T-34. Expansion suggestion #1: This place needs a tank park.
Admission to the museum was a little steep. Our group lucked out since most of us had student and/or military IDs, warranting a decent discount. We paid $12 to get into the museum rather than the steep $21 for adults. However, the museum does offer free admission for uniformed military personnel and WWII veterans. Tickets in hand, we skipped the introductory videos and marched straight up to the exhibit beginning. The first display set the tone for the rest of our visit, demonstrating an aspect of museum work that this place really excels at: the visual display of information. You turn the corner into the Home Front gallery, where the story begins, and BOOM you instantly see the disadvantage of American forces at the beginning of the war.
Lined up in front of the corresponding national flags, little army men represent the sizes of the various armies. Pretty neat stuff and very easy to grasp the meaning without reading every little piece of text.This first section of the museum depicts the mobilization of the home front to support the war effort, including the development of industry and enlargement of the US army. It was a little strange to encounter the home front before the war had even started exhibit-wise, but I guess it allowed the narrative to leave the United States behind to focus on the fighting.

From the Home Front, visitors walk upstairs to the European Theater. Since this was previously the D-Day Museum, anyone familiar with World War II will be surprised to find that the exhibits start late in the war with preparations for the invasion of Normandy. The museum's mission statement reads that "the National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world- why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn." Very clearly, the museum strives to tell the American story of World War II, therefore all that stuff that happened before the US entered the war isn't all that relevant. They do follow the European Theater through the end of the conflict and they've added a section on the Pacific Theater, but US operations in North Africa receive almost no mention. Naturally, the museum omits the Eastern Front and all that stuff that happened before the US got involved. However much I might want them to tell the whole story of WWII, not doing so is completely in keeping with their mission statement.

So...maybe they should revise their mission statement.

Regardless of huge gaps in the narrative, they really have done some fantastic museum work. Here are some of my favorite parts:
This recreation allowed Tim and Eric to reenact The Longest Day complete with sound effects. I really enjoy it when museums are able to create environments within their exhibits that really transport the visitor to a different time or place.
 This was probably one of the best displays in the entire museum. The lines on the map connect an individual soldier to his location during the invasion. The inclusion of his picture with his story helps the visitor connect with him as an individual, and then there's an artifact that connects to each soldier. This is just so good on so many levels. I might have squeed a bit.
 Eric and I agreed that someday we want to decorate a nursery like this. Do you remember what I said about the visual representation of information? Well, there's the force attacking at Normandy. The visitor doesn't need to read anything to see the size and variety of the force deployed against the Nazis.
 Once you've landed in Normandy, this environment sneaks up on you. The ancient hedgerows in this area of France allowed German forces to easily conceal shooters, which is exactly what the museum has done here. One of the guns is fairly obvious to alert you to their presence, but then it takes a few minutes to find all the barrels aimed at you.
 These booths are integrated throughout the museum. Each one offers four two-minute oral history clips that connect topically to the gallery around them. It's a great way to add a personal dimension to the narrative without trapping the visitor for 15+ minutes or obstructing traffic.
 During my visit, our group got split up as some of us moved faster through the galleries. As explanation, I present the following exchange:
Evin - How did you guys get so far ahead of us?

Tim - We didn't have to read anything, we had Eric.
My husband Eric, the walking encyclopedia of military history.

The museum also had a special exhibit on entitled "Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race," sponsored in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It's so nice to see the various private museums working together.

We had lunch after our visit at the museum's restaurant The American Sector, which had a very tasty menu offering a mix of local dishes and items reminiscent of wartime rationing. They also had a pretty nice drink list. For a snack or a quick meal, the museum also houses a Soda Shop. The Stage Door Canteen offers live entertainment at Brunch and Dinner shows. Seriously, this place offers the complete 1940s experience.

On Sunday, while part of the group went to mass, Eric and I came back to the museum to see Beyond All Boundaries, "the 4-D Experience Featuring Tom Hanks." Eric just can't say no to Tom Hanks and I was curious. It was awesome and honestly worth the extra admission cost. Eric described it as "World War II: The Ride." According to the museum's website, they're currently hiring theatre and A/V technicians. Very tempting. Our return trip also meant that we got to check out the third museum shop. The three shops overlap in their stock, but they all carry a good variety of books, DVDs, swag, toys, and clothes. It was pretty cool that they actually had dresses from Stop Staring! on sale. Even cooler? GREMLINS!!! How had nobody ever shown me Gremlins before?!?!?! To prevent you from a similar catastrophe, I offer the following: [EDIT: "Gremlins from the Kremlin" is no longer available, but here's another Bugs Bunny cartoon with a Gremlin.]

One thing that was also clear from the museum was that they have a very strong volunteer program. Members of the Youth Victory Corps (middle and high school students) were stationed throughout the galleries with artifacts that you could touch and play with. Also, the museum is taking advantage of one very important asset that won't be around forever: World War II veterans. 
Right near the front entrance, this set up enables veterans to come in and volunteer to share their experience of the war. We didn't get the chance to talk to any of the volunteers while we were there, but the program offers a great opportunity for both visitors and veterans.

Overall, this museum has some great things going for it that make it well worth the visit, even though the narrative skips over some important aspects of the war. Like Africa. Or the Eastern Front. If you don't have an Eric with you, allow 2-3 hours for the exhibit galleries. If you have time, definitely check out the movie and grab a bite to eat!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Real World

It's now been a month since I left the Falkland Islands and my time there still feels like a dream. It was shockingly easy to fall back into my normal life - so different from my daily experiences in the South Atlantic. Here it feels like the sun never stops bearing down on you, the heat is oppressive, and there are people everywhere. The final account for my work at the museum came to 14.8 hours of new interviews collected, 22.4 hours of interviews transcribed, and a manual for continuing work on the collection. Once things here have settled down a bit I'll do some more of that work myself, but I hope the museum can find enough interested parties to continue the project.

Things I miss about the Falklands: my friends, the museum, dancing all night, walking everywhere, penguins, the beauty of the land, the lifestyle.

Things I don't miss about the Falklands: living alone, being cold all the time, wearing a ridiculous amount of clothes, constantly slipping and falling on ice, the limited variety of food.

A couple of people have mentioned to me the rather large amount of drinking I've mentioned on this blog. I'm generally the sort of person who will tell you something straight up and I did drink a lot in the Falklands. Back in my normal life, I don't have more than one or two drinks a week. However, in Stanley, most socializing took part in the pubs and drinking was part of the culture. It even came up a few times in the oral histories I collected and transcribed. I heard it said several times from those of us on short contracts, that being in the Falklands is kind of like being in university again. So true. 

My main occupation since returning to the USA has been moving to New Mexico, where I have one more year left in my program. Fortunately, I won't be living alone as I'm taking the spare room at my friend Jeanna's apartment. Oh, and we'll be joined by her cat, Mao, and her dog, Buffy.
This is Mao. He's beautiful and he knows it.
And apparently silly if he thinks I can't see him under there.
...and this is Buffy. She's a bit skittish, but very sweet and quiet.
I've finally got most of my stuff into the new place after several trips, but I still have another week until I move in full time.
New room in New Mexico.
If you've ever sent me a postcard, it is probably on that wall.
Eric and I also spent a lot of time this month watching the Olympics. Inspired by this, Eric decided he wanted to take up archery again. As a kid back in Arkansas, he used to have a target set up in his backyard and for a few years he spent hours and hours shooting. I did archery for a few years at summer camp in elementary school, too, but Eric's experience is much more recent than mine. In any case, for his birthday I tracked down a couple of archery shops where we were able to try out some bows. We both got competition-style recurves (mine is left-handed and lighter) and spent a couple days at the range. While fun, the experience left me a bit marked up as it seems every place in town is sold out of arm guards.
This is what happens when you shoot archery with a hyper-rotated elbow and without an arm guard.
This is wrong. See how much my arm is sticking out to
the left? That's why the bowstring hit it so much.
This is right. My arm is safely out of the bowstring's way. However,  I have 
to consciously think about holding my arm in this position.
Classes started last Thursday and I've now had at least one meeting of all mine. I'm going to be doing a lot of writing this semester. It'll be good for me. To finish my program, I have four classes left (research seminar, reading seminar, two traditional history) and my master's thesis. I'm knocking out three of the classes this semester, so I'll be focusing on this thesis this spring. The Research Seminar this semester focuses on biography and I hope to continue my work on Josephine Foster, possibly even producing a publishable paper. I'm taking World War I as my traditional history course, which seemed timely to me as the centenary is coming up soon. Also, this class is spending a lot of time on the social and cultural aspects of the war as well as its legacy. Fun stuff. My third class is the reading seminar, on the theme of Myth, Memory, and History. This class is actually one of the things that attracted me to this program in the first place. Back at William & Mary, ProfCor definitely converted me to memory studies. I find the interaction of these three concepts absolutely fascinating - it doesn't hurt that it fits in well with my background in Russian/Soviet history. My only disappointment is that I've already read two of the books on the syllabus and we're not using ProfCor's book (it's been used in the past for this class). I'm also a Teaching Assistant again this semester - this time for two professors, one of which has an intro US History survey class. I'm doing a lot of work for that one, but I'm finally getting some good US History! My first lecture is less than a month away. It also looks like I'll be giving a talk sometime this fall on my time in the Falklands.
My office in the History Department. I share it with 3 other Teaching Assistants, but I think the flag has appropriately marked my territory. Oh, and the Department of Languages and Linguistics is on the
same hallway. I wonder how long it will take the Spanish professors to identify the flag of the Falkland Islands.
Oh, and I dyed my hair blue yesterday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sad to Leave, Happy to Go Home: July 27 - 30

I spent Friday morning at the museum finishing up my work, before hitching a ride across town to the Narrows Bar. The guys were heading up to Elephant Beach for a hunting weekend so we got together for lunch before they left (Vanessa and Paula came, too). The fish and chips was awesome - really good batter and Joss let us have salad instead of mushy peas. We also played a few rounds of pool, including my first victory. I actually beat Steve! Steve and Joss also surprised me with...FACE CAKE!!!
Face Cake...so delicious!
I was sad to say goodbye, but I had to get back to the museum. The ladies were excited to share my face cake and gave me a book of beautiful Falklands photographs. I did a last bit of shopping too, stocking up on books and another batch of small gifts/souvenirs. There was just enough time for me to catch Sam at the radio station to pick up a copy of my interview and say goodbye to her. Debs had already claimed me for friday night, so a few hours later I called a cab to her current abode on the other side of town, bearing the last of the face cake and a couple bottles of wine. The Olympic Opening Ceremony was on in the background, but the main event was an Asian potluck dinner. I'd only met a few of the other guests before (most were from the Fisheries), but it was a good bunch and they brought some delicious food. I even got to try some raw toothfish (aka Chilean Sea Bass). Unplanned by Debs was the extremely difficult quiz conducted by a mad Russian scientist. Paul wisely fled to the pubs. I stuck it out, so I missed seeing some of the Chilean girls, but I got to spend more time with Debs. I got a cab home and called it an early night.

As an experienced traveler I put off packing until Saturday morning. I still finished very quickly, leaving nothing to do but sit, wait, and discuss the Falklands with my hosts. Alex was headed to Chile for a week on the same flight so I got a ride to MPA with him and Vanessa. The road was in pretty rough shape and Alex's truck was completely covered in mud by the time we got there. And so was my suitcase that had been in the back. The first flight was uneventful. I said goodbye to Alex in Pumta Arenas and got a cab to my hotel in the center of town. Thus began my adventures in Spanglish. The guy working the front desk did not speak English, but we muddled through and he got me checked into my room. It was awesome, had a balcony, and made me feel like a princess! Back at the front desk I asked "donde cena?" and got directions to a restaurant. Out on the street, I found it, but it wasn't open yet so I moved onto a coffee shop for a chicken sandwich with tomato and avacado. Yummy!

My Punta Arenas hotel. My room is the one with the
balcony and the lights on.
My hotel room!
View of the Plaza from my balcony.
More view from my balcony.
Me, on my balcony in Punta Arenas.
My flight to Santiago the next day allowed me to sleep in and the hotel's breakfast made a good start to the day. Sunday went without incident until I reached the American Airlines counter in Santiago. I had to clear the domestic area, collect my luggage, and then check in again on the international side of the airport. The very helpful lady at the AA counter informed me that my flight to Dallas had been delayed for six hours and offered me several options. I decided to wait it out, but she rebooked my connecting flight and gave me $20 voucher to get some dinner. The international terminal was much better equipped than the domestic terminal and I had a decent sit-down dinner. The beat part? I got their wifi password so as long as I stayed in  range I had internet. I wandered, snacked, surfed, and napped the hours away. Apparently I didn't nap too much as I managed to sleep all the way to Dallas. Finally back in the States I was a bit overwhelmed by the heat, sun, and the large number of people surrounding me. However, customs was kind enough to clean my shoes. Since the Falklands is basically one giant farm and NMSU is an agriculture school I figured better safe than sorry. My final flight I the journey came with a nice surprise - the only  seat the AA agent in Santiago had been able to book me was in first class. I was so exhausted that I didn't really get to enjoy it, but the extra space was appreciated. Eric met me at the airport with roses and he didn't even have to go back to work. I was so out of it that I wasn't entirely sure what day it was. Oh, and my first meal at home? A veggie burrito from Chipotle.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Loose Ends: July 20 - 26

My last weekend in the Falklands was seriously epic. Friday night presented the dilemma of poker night vs. pub quiz. Debs was putting together a pub quiz team, but there was an unfortunate bit of confusion. When I texted her on Friday morning to confirm I learned that Mike had taken the last spot on the team 30 minutes earlier. This confused me a bit as Mike was supposed to be playing poker. As it turns out, poker night was cancelled before I decided to do the pub quiz instead. In any case I walked all the way to the Narrows Bar to cheer on my friends. As it turned out, Debs played with her surrogate Falklands parents opening up a spot on the team with Mike, Paul, Andy P, Roddy, and Paula. The quiz felt like it would never end, but it was pretty fun. Besides the standard trivia rounds, we also had to make a potato into a recognizable famous person. We were not alone in our decision to create Mr. Potato Hitler. After the quiz finally concluded we were rather surprised to learn that we had won. Huh. That was unexpected and we owe it to Paul's origami frog which defeated all the other teams' frogs. Our tangible prizes were a couple of bottles of wine and a box of chocolates, but I think the bragging rights were the best part. We went off to celebrate our victory at Deano's.
Our Hitler is the one with the Argentine flag.
I walked into town on Saturday to do some souvenir shopping and loaded up with Falklands swag, including a giant flag for my office, small gifts for professors/family/friends, and a "Keep Calm and Keep the Falklands British" t-shirt. I am currently hatching a plot to wear the last item to a Morrissey concert in November. I haven't decided whether or not I'm going as I am torn between my love for the Smiths and my love for the Falklands.* In any case, if I go to the concert I will proudly don said shirt. As usual, the evening's festivities started at the Vic, where I found myself faced with multiple options. First, a birthday party for someone I kind of knew at Andy P's house (I was invited by Andy P, but not the birthday girl). Or another night at the Trough. I delayed making my decision by dancing at Deano's, but ended up at Andy P's, where there was a great spread of food, good music courtesy of two Pauls, and more dancing. I distinctly remember getting to samba to Lily Allen's "Not Fair." All in all, it was a great night.

The weekend's fun continued on Sunday with an asado at Alex and Vanessa's house. Basically a Chilean barbecue with a giant slab of meat. Everyone brought something to share and we spent the afternoon cooking, eating, and drinking. As I don't exactly cook particularly well I was tasked with squeezing lemons and limes for Pisco Sours. I must have done my job well as the resulting drinks were delicious. I still need to check to see if I can get Pisco in this area. I also learned how to make the ridiculously obvious snack called "choripan" (chorizo + bread). I felt almost as stupid as that time I asked when Cinco de Mayo was when I asked what went into a choripan. Eventually the slab of meat was deemed ready to eat and we were allowed to go inside. It was definitely worth the wait. Oh, and we were joined that afternoon by an American PhD candidate in anthropology considering writing his dissertation on the economics of the Falkland Islands. It seems I'm not the only one who noticed a serious gap in scholarship. 
The delicious slab of meat on the grill.
Everyone bundled up to brave the cold and watch the meat cook.
On Monday morning I returned to transcription at the museum and found that Leona was also back after she had been out the previous week with a punctured eardrum. Ouch. My transcription was interrupted by a visit from Jay, the American anthropologist, who had mentioned that he might stop by the museum. As he hasn't yet made the final decision whether or not to write about the Falklands, I introduced him to Leona and Tansy over at the Archives. With introductions made and research discussed, I took Jay into town for some lunch and to check out the Falklands 30 exhibit. Tuesday and Wednesday meant even more transcription as I worked to complete my deliverable by the end of the week. I finished early on Wednesday in order to do a short interview for the Falkland Islands Radio Service.
video
My FIRS interview with the lovely Samantha Addison. Just in case you're wondering, 
not all Falkland Islanders sound like her. Sam is from Yorkshire.

Wednesday was also my last steak night and as such became my first pseudo-going-away party. When I showed up to the Vic pretty much everyone I cared about was already there - it was pretty awesome. However, I noticed that no one had ordered any steaks. Apparently the steak portion of the evening had been cancelled due to a migraine. Steve and Mike solved this problem by fetching everyone fish and chips from down the street. With or without steak, it was a great night and we closed the pub. I got up early Thursday morning as the museum had arranged for me to go on a FIGAS round robin. The Falkland Islands Government Air Service offers flights within the Islands on the very small Britten Norman Islander aircraft. 
A FIGAS plane (from the Falkland Islands Tourist Board).
The round robin option allowed me to ride shotgun for the morning itinerary of one of the five planes. We flew from Stanley to Port Howard, Pebble Island, Carcass Island, and then back to Stanley. The first landing was rough as snow was falling in Port Howard, but the flight was pretty smooth after that. I got an incredible view of several islands and was only airsick twice. Unfortunately, I didn't get very many pictures as I was concentrating on the scenery around me and trying not to be sick again.
Carcass Island. The last stop on my round-robin flight around the Islands.
*Read this story to find out why my love of the Smiths conflicts with my love of the Falklands.