Sunday, April 28, 2013

¡Adios! ¡Hasta Luego!

Well, T-43 hours and counting, which is starting to look like a pretty serious number. Of course, I won't be around to post until probably mid-June. However, if you care to follow a blog that might get updated more often than this one, try:

See you on the flip side!

Monday, April 22, 2013


Transcription has to be the most horrific form of writing ever invented. Honestly, I hate it. I'd rather write an essay. I'd rather write a thesis. So I'm trying to do as little of it as possible, which means only transcribing the sections of interview that seem most relevant to the thesis. Of course, I still have to listen to the entire interview, which takes an hour just without even recording anything from it. I'm trying to get some of it done before I leave, however, so I don't have to do it all in June when I get back. More and more I think I'd like to conduct my follow-up interviews over email.

I seem to have sprained my ankle. You know, people everywhere keep commenting about the Richard III discovery and how it very nearly just didn't happen. Honestly, the probability integer that someone at the university worked out is less than 1%. And yet it happened. I've been viewing my trip to Spain in a similar way, because it seems everything just sort of fell into place exactly when it needed to. Then I injured my foot (re-occurant foot problems), but it healed. Now I've buggered my ankle slipping on a wet floor because my housemate can't clean up after themselves. Not the first time I've twisted the ankle, but certainly worse than I've done in a while. So I'm confined to bed for the next several days and have to see the doctor tomorrow. That's like my third medical appointment in 2 weeks. I'm becoming one of those people. Hopefully if I rest as much as possible, it'll be better by next week. A minor sprain should be okay a week later, I've found in the past. And I can walk on it, it just hurts, so it has to be a minor sprain.

Yesterday I had the best Chinese food I have ever had. We finally went to Peking, which is one of only two traditional Chinese restaurants in the city. It's where the Chinese go to eat. We were the only westerners there until the very end. But it was seriously amazing food and the staff were what you'd expect from a 5 star restaurant, expect for the price of 2 stars. I ate so much food, however, that I didn't sleep at all last night as I spent most of it feeling like my stomach was going to burst. I should know better by now. But I just hate to see food go to waste...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Adventure Awaits

18 days to go, which pretty much means I am through to the ‘can I just go already?’ stage of anxiety. The problem with being so organised is that I tend to me too organised and thus I am packed and planned and ready to go. Unfortunately, the plane doesn’t leave until the 30th. Or so my ticket says.

The good news is that I am over the sheer moments of terror and onto the sheer moments of excitement (interspersed with the usual anxiety attacks). I have rather a lot to distract me for the next two weeks, which is a very good thing, I think. However, it also means I have rather a lot of work to do before I leave and I’m running out of time to do it! Whoever said the good things in life take forever to arrive got it wrong. I have no idea where the last three and a half months have gone, much less the last twelve since I started planning this crazy idea!

I’m still a bit worried (more than a bit) about my foot. The injury seems to be mostly healed, but I’m terrified of reinjuring it again in the first few days of really difficult climbing. I think if I can get through those I’ll be okay, but if I do myself in then that’s it. It’s taken weeks to be pain free this time, and I don’t have weeks to rest next time. Though I know, in my heart, I’ll push on even in pain as long as I can. I don’t want to leave Chantel on her own or miss out on the whole experience! I guess I face a potential summer on crutches, but there are worse things.

Tomorrow I am off to Cambridge to either A) visit IWM Duxford or B) visit the Fitzwilliam. Which one will depend on what the weather does, as there is a significant chance of rain. Why do I always visit Cambridge in the rain? On the upshot, it’s supposed to be mild and not windy, so so far I am enjoying this year’s version of ‘Spring’. It’s so much better than winter that I really don’t mind the rain at all. In Spain it’s 25* and sunny, which is very, very bad for hiking, so I will enjoy the rain and cooler temps for now before I face a daily battle against heat stroke. What fun that will be.

My field work is going along quite well and the worry that I wouldn’t get everything done for that before the end of the month is gone. All meetings have now been arranged and I should get them all finished next week. Just a few more emails to send about summer field research and I’m on track for June! If the other work was going as well I’d feel better, but one out of two isn’t bad, right? The marking nightmare is over, at least, and the money is very useful. Glad to not be dealing with the next round however, because as interesting as this assignment was, marking it was mentally exhausting. All good for the CV.

My big challenge before the end of this month is writing an abstract proposal for the PhD conference. I have no idea what to do for it, but I want the abstract to be good! I’ve got 17 days to figure something out. 250 words shouldn’t be that hard….but it is.

Lastly, the exciting news of the week is that I’m moving Denmark for a term next year. I’m more than thrilled to have this finalised, as it’s an excellent opportunity to study with the leader in my field of research and to interact with PhD students in another country. Very much looking forward to this and already I can’t wait until January!