Tuesday, September 28, 2010

General Update

I've been posting mostly about cultural stuff and funny stories rather than actual my daily life so I thought I was overdue for one. 

I still have not received approval to start interviewing students which is of course frustrating. I've been here just over 10 weeks and I still have yet to meet with the committee who does the approvals and I'm not really sure if the entire committee has seen my documents. It's kind of hard to nail down exact answers. There are a variety of mitigating factors (various important events, internet at the University was down for several weeks, etc.) but I am getting really antsy. I don't want to run out of time and have to rush through my interviews. It's starting to turn into a scene from The Money Pit. I ask about approval from my contacts and the answer is always "Oh I think in the next week it should be approved." But I'm stuck in a sticky situation. Being able to do my research in this environment is a HUGE deal (both to me and in terms of precedence) so I want to honor my hosts (hosts both specifically & generically) but the bottom line is that I have a very limited amount of time left and every day that ticks by sends me into a panic. I've little by little been stepping up my check-ins and follow-throughs...trying to worry less about cultural politeness (though keeping it in mind) and more about actual facts of life. Hopefully I will have a happier update about this SOON!

I finally finished off my $11 box of Apple Jacks. They were excellent down to the almost stale last bite.

I have been doing lots of physical activity: walking, yoga, playing soccer with the teen boys on the compound, etc. I have lost some pretty substantial weight, though I'm not exactly sure how much. I don't want to feel disappointed so I've refused L's offers to use her scale. But my clothes are very loose and I can see a difference in the mirror. Let's hope I keep this momentum up and continue it when I get home. New me!

I am definitely integrated into the community as much as I will ever be short of living here for the rest of my life (which won't happen EVER). I get scolded for not following social norms, people ask where I am if I don't attend an event (or if they THINK I didn't attend something), and people generally don't give me too much special treatment. There is some special treatments that will always remain (L still gets special privileges and she's lived her 8 years) but people are less likely to wear their "best white people" behavior when I'm around. I have some real friendships that have formed. I know a ton of people. Students wave at me when I'm on campus. Different market merchants know me. In general, life is as "normal" as it's going to be. 

I've applied to 21 faculty jobs so far. I have 3 more in the queue that are waiting for various deadlines, etc. Keeping my hopes up that more will be posted as none of the current ones are in places where I have family. There are a number of them that are very exciting and sound great, but really, I would take a job I was less enthused about if it meant I got to be close to family. We shall see how it pans out. 

Other than that I'm just living life and taking it day by day. I'm kind of in a lull right now until I can get going with my interviews. I'm staying busy by helping out with various non-research related projects that people have asked for my help with. I'm just trying to enjoy the little things before I get totally absorbed in my work and head home! I'll keep you updated!

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