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.

1 comment:

  1. Available: One lecturer able to talk on The Battle of the Somme, Ireland during WWI, and The Easter Rising, 1916 in Dublin. Will talk for food. Contact: Robert A. Mosher