Wednesday, 26 October 2011

as the crow flies: a researchers guide to logistics

So it's week six of the semester and I have so far managed to avoid the 5th floor west wing. Instead I spend some of my week working for the comfort (if not cold) of the CSU common room. Since i've been back in Edinburgh I've been contacting many of the schools which have links with schools in Malawi - sending out emails is not exactly difficult - or at least you may think that is the case! Sending the same email to multiple people became very complicated, but thanks to IT guidance I eventually managed to send them! One set of schools had automatic replies set up, some others had full inboxes and some sent me an email thanking me for emailing them!

I've also been arranging my pending visit to Sanday in Orkney! Now you might think travelling to a small island off the North East of Scotland, would not be particularly complicate! Not true! Sanday is one of the Northern Islands of The Orkney Islands - Getting there can be complicated or expensive. You can fly to Kirkwall for Edinburgh - if you want to pay using legs and arms - or you can get a combination or trains and ferries! Now I decided to go for the latter - train to Aberdeen, Ferry from Aberdeen to Kirkwall - or so I thought!

It's turned into getting the train from Edinburgh to Thurso, via Stirling and Inverness, then getting the ferry from Scrabster and Stromness! Now that may sound straight forward, but the logistics of three trains, a ferry and a bus just to get to Kirkwall is actually rather complicated! The reverse journey is just as complicated, but thankfully I only need to change train once! There is one benefit of sitting on a train for most of the journey - I won't be on a ferry for most of the night...

I've came to the conclusion planning a journey to the Orkney Isles is almost as complicated as getting to Malawi - just with trains rather than planes! So it may not always be a case of as the crow flies, but with my thermals packed, i'm ready to enjoy the train journey and look forward to spending time in Stromness (even if it is at a ridiculous time in the morning), Kirkwall and Sanday!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Back in Edinburgh and it's been ages since I posted a blog!

Ok so it's been ages since I posted an update.. since my last update i've returned to Scotland, started tutoring again at uni and I'm still missing Malawi.

I really enjoyed my last couple of weeks in Malawi, I spent some of it visiting the schools around Chiradzulu and Blantyre, trying to write up notes, and generally enjoying travelling around different parts of Malawi.  Seeing some of the rural areas were amazing and I got to meet some amazing people. Being able to see some of the schools in rural areas and the lack of resources was actually quite upsetting.  We take for granted the access to resources and teaching  - think of having a seat to sit on being a privilege.

Since I've been back in Scotland, it's made me think about all the things that we take for granted. When there were riots in England, at the time I was returning from Malawi, it made me feel that we live in such a materialistic world. There had been demonstrations in Malawi in the weeks previous and it was weird to think that people here were stealing TVs and IPods when during the demonstrations in Malawi, people were stealing food. 

I must admit getting back to Edinburgh felt very odd! - it felt weird to be back at university, walking around Edinburgh (in the dark as well) and not being covered in dust. You would be surprised how quickly get to used to having your feet covered in dust, in fact having everything covered in dust.

OK so since I've been back, i've basically been planning my varying research around Scotland and thinking how i'm going to conduct the research in the light of my experiences in Malawi. Its certainly made me appreciate much more the situation of the schools across Malawi and the varying experiences that both teachers and students (or Learners as they are known in Malawi) have.

I suspect seeing the differences between the Schools across Malawi, has made me appreciate more the importance of the links they have with Scotland. So the next step of the research is to schools across Scotland...

Friday, 29 July 2011

From Cabin Fever to Markets

So if you’ve seen the news, then you will know what’s been happening in Malawi! It started last week for me – cancelling my travel/research plans for the week as there was uncertainty about what was going to happen and if the roads would be open to vehicles. This is kind of when the cabin fever kicked in.

I spent most of Monday-Friday reading and writing though being able to sit by the pool was rather nice, repetition was driving me slightly nuts. Unfortunately when the FCO advice is to stay indoors (and out of trouble) there isn’t much you can do. It was nice to know thought that most other people were in a similar situation.

So Saturday comes and Karen wakes me up with a text, wanting to know if I want to go to the farm with them. Of course I jumped at the chance to get out of Makys and out of Blantyre. Don’t get me wrong I like being at Makys and there are always interesting people around but sometimes it’s nice to get out for a while. So off to the “work in progress” farm we went, chickens (and cute chicks), lots of veggies and a couple of pigs!  The other thing is that the view is amazing, especially over the river (which I now forget the name of). After a few hours of wandering round the farm and taking photos, we headed back to Blantyre. Karen made a lovely lunch/supper in the afternoon and I think I offered to cook for her one day – I don’t think I specified when this day would be, so maybe sometime in 2020?

On Sunday morning, I went to church with Chris and Estelle, though we left just after communion – for some reason the end of the service seems to take another 25 minutes, so Estelle and I followed Chris and left a little bit early! They were superfit freaks and went for a hike/run – whilst I thought I would locate my book and sit down, I was wrong! Some of the staff from GOAL were at Makys when I got back and I ended up power walking round town with Finbar – most things here on a Sunday close at 1pm, but we did manage to get doughnuts and ice cream on the way back to Makys.

So Monday morning was Visa Renewal Day – thinking this process would take a few hours at least, I was prepared to be there at 8am when the open – kind of in the hope to beat the queues. However Max came to the rescue and asked his driver who is Malawian to take me in. Well the process took all of 23 minutes and by 8.30 I was walking back through town to get to Makys. Everyone was surprised that it was done so quickly, but it proves it can be done!

I managed to get some of my research sorted out and I’ll hopefully be getting out too visit schools next week. I sent off all the emails that I wanted and made a few phone calls! I then decided that after lunch I’d head back into town to try and get some gifts and bits and pieces. It was a rather nice walk round town and I managed to get some nice things!  - My experience at the craft market was interesting to say the least, the self-haggling stall owners did make me giggle.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday reading, then headed back into town on Thursday – this time to locate a Chichewa bible and some Chitenges (Malawian wraps). I forgot to buy some ice cream though.  I had a meeting this morning and planned for going to visit schools next week – so the work finally begins.
First of all – there is the weekend!!!!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Research, potato scones, passion fanta and "ah, ah, aaaaahhhhchoo"

Well if there is one advantage of working from Macky’s is that the view from my temporary office is amazing, there are staff hovering eager to refill my glass (with passion flavoured Fanta) and it’s lovely and shaded.

My research is moving along – slightly on the slow side, but still it is moving. I’ve spent more of my time working from Macky’s and trying to get school visits arranged – unfortunately due to demonstrations planned for Wednesday, I’ll be staying put and have had to postpone my visits to Chiradzulu till next week.

I’ve discovered that my office is actually the gathering place for some of the Malawi Big Wigs – like the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the Attorney General! So every other day, I am introduced to a new person who I later find out is rather important. Macky’s favourite phrase when generally pointing me out is “She’s Scottish, We don’t discriminate – Shit happens.”   If nothing else my work environment is not boring, though sometimes with the “sides up” - it can be a bit on the chilly side. (Maky’s restaurant area is like a deck with a roof. The sides are clear tar-pollen; that are tied up during the day)

 I’ve been looking at other accommodation options for Zomba today, trying to find out what’s available and for what cost!  The History Guesthouse is still available, but I’ve decided that living on my own for four weeks, may drive me crazy! Given that it gets dark here by 6pm and unlike Edinburgh, it means going outside is a “no-no-no”.

I took a trip to the shoprite complex this morning – mainly to stock up on some necessities, like water! I did however locate and purchase a tin of Heinz Baked Beans! The staff at Macky’s have got toast down to a fine art, so if I can get them to heat up the beans, that will be lunch one day, and the rest of the beans with dinner!!  -Later I ended up in the other supermarket Savers Choice – I treated myself to a bottle of HP Sauce, I’m fed up of ketchup!

I showed some of the cooks how to make potato scones yesterday – first came confusion, you have potatoes for breakfast? – So after boiling the tatties to make them soft, they were mashed into an inch of their life. Finally folded in with flour and put in the frying pan! Next came laughter, as the scones, browned and started to go crispy. The kitchen staff then had a try of my breakfast before passing approval! When it comes to ordering chips here, I always ask for Crispy chips – so it’s been decided that everything I eat is crispy in some form or another – whether it’s toast, French toast, chips or now potato scones!!

On the weather front, it’s starting to get a bit warmer here :D – but that also means I sneeze more! If it’s cold I end up with a blocked nose!! So it’s a lose-lose situation, in more ways than one!! My psoriasis started to clear up when there was more sun, but then my eczema came back. With lack of sun, the eczema has gone away and the psoriasis returned to its usual state!

So with tissues and factor 50 at the ready – I’m off to spend some time by the pool  and relaxing!


Thursday, 14 July 2011

A trip to Zomba...

On hearing (or rather seeing) the words “I made it to and from Zomba in one piece” Sarah Conway’s first words were “blog it, I love reading it”   - so for that reason this blog is for Sarah.

It started at 6am this morning, when I was up early (it was freezing) to get ready for my early morning trip to Chancellor College in Zomba.  I got myself organised and went down to the restaurant for some breakfast – as it was so early, I asked for some toast! When they bring you toast here though it’s a bit like they’ve toasted half a loaf.

So after eating (not all the toast) I was picked up by my driver for the day. I had been previously been warned that you have to remind drivers not to go like a “bat out of hell”. What I hadn’t banked on was my driver taking the “please slow down a little” to heart and driving at about 30 miles an hour for most of the journey. I eventually had to say, you can drive a bit faster – so we agreed a speed, and a quick calculation (thanks to my phone) told me that 80km an hour was the equivalent of about 50 mph.

The slower speed for a good bit of the journey did give me the chance to look at the beautiful surroundings, I just wish I was able to take decent photos from a moving vehicle. On the journey we were also stopped at a police check point, they checked the insurance, tax, driving license and then let us on our way – It probably took all of 3 minutes and was a much quicker check than I had imagined.

Arriving in Zomba (it’s teeny compared to Blantyre – which main street is probably no bigger than Westblackhall Street in Greenock) we made our way to Chancellor College. I went to my meetings, which despite being warned of “Malawian time” started promptly and took about as long as I had imagined. I was hoping to get a look at the house where I am supposed to be staying in Blantyre, but that didn’t happen, so I doubt I will stay there after all.

The return trip from Zomba to Blantyre was about uneventful as the trip there, more beautiful views and more crazy people trying to sell things from the side of the road. Well at least they didn’t step into the road.  We were stopped by police at the checkpoint on the way back, went through the same process and were on our way – so not much drama.

Arriving back at Mackys, I asked one of the waiters if I could have a Fanta – before I could finish the sentence he replied with “Passion” (it’s my new favourite drink, aside from bottled water). I also got a small plate of “crispy chips”. I feel the need at this point, to tell you that Malawian Chips are slightly on the undercooked soggy side. Not in the same soft Scottish way. So I’ve discovered if I ask for crispy chips they are a little more cooked and less soggy – the chips are then promptly covered in vinegar – which the staff find rather funny! Why order crispy chips just to make them soggy?

Well, I’ve spent the rest of the afternoon, behind my laptop (not in my usual seat) but at a table in corner doing some work and reading my newly downloaded kindle book. I’ve discovered that even if I can’t get BBC iPlayer to work, or rather get the Edinburgh University VPN to work properly that I can download books from Amazon (mostly the free ones).  

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I've been in Malawi for two weeks already...

So I’ve been in Malawi for two weeks now, and ok most of that time has been spent with me camped out at Chez Maky, with my trusty laptop. Doing actual research has been a slow process but seems to finally be moving forward.

Chez Maky’s is situated at the top of Kabula Hill Road above the central business district of Blantyre. The outlook over Blantyre is quite spectacular and watching the sunset (about 5.30pm) is just as amazing.  I’ve acquired a “usual spot” that has become my temporary office. I quite like working from Maky’s, the food here is really good and there is always someone new that I’m being introduced to. 

The first week here, the weather was rather warm during the day and the factor 50+ was a must have accessory for the day. However the second week has been considerably cooler, with more need for jeans and hoodie than the sunscreen.  It does make for a nice working environment though, with it cooling down in the evening – meaning that I get a decent night’s sleep. My room here at Maky’s is also rather nice, with an en-suite that now has hot water!  I must admit the few times there has been no hot water, I have found the cold shower to be more of a wake-up.

I’ve also been causing some staff confusion – I’ve been doing my own laundry – it’s one thing I’m not dependent on someone else doing for me! At first there was a discussion as why I would like to do my own laundry. So after some debating I was brought some washing powder and a huge bucket of water.  – So the hand-washing began! It didn’t take me long to do it – then one of the staff kindly hung my clothes up to dry.  Ironing was even more fun – once the working iron was located, it was again debated as to why I was ironing – well for a start to get the wrinkles out!

With two weeks in Malawi, I’ve also made contact with Marys Meals (some of the staff live next door) and with Open Arms, a “re-homing centre” for toddlers who have been orphaned for various different reasons.  I’ve been out a few times now with Chris and Estelle, normally going to church, but we’ve been on a few detours. It’s been nice to be able to see different parts of Blantyre – even if it is from the safety of the back of a 4x4.

I’ve now got a meeting set up in Zomba, about an hour’s drive from Blantyre – well that’s traffic and fuel dependent.  I’m going to meet some of the staff, that I’ve had contact with and have a look round Chancellor College.  I’m also hoping I get the chance to have a look at the” History House”, the place that I am supposed to be staying at then I eventually move up to Zomba. I’m still not so sure about living on my own, but I think I need to decide if I will feel safe there or not.

So the last couple of weeks have been up and down, it’s mostly been spent hitting my head of a brick wall, though eventually when a brick moves and the wall starts to come down (providing its not on top of me) it feels like it has been worth it.   I’m hoping that it warms up a little bit, though I suspect that I’ll be wearing my warmer collection of clothes for a while to come.





Wednesday, 29 June 2011

A journey of adventure (and that’s just getting to Malawi).

First of all, I’ve arrived in Blantyre, Malawi safe and well. It would be tempting to say that the journey was plain sailing and that everything went without a hitch – that would be a lie.

So arriving at Edinburgh airport went rather smoothly – Emma and Gretta took me.  Checking in and finding the gate was straightforward, then the fun begins. The flight is delayed due to thunderstorms over Heathrow, meaning that the plane wasn’t allowed to take off. We were delayed by about an hour which meant I would have a rather hurried transfer to catch my flight to Johannesburg. What I  (and no one else on the flight) banked on was one of the windscreen panels of the plane cracking, meaning we ended up flying at 10,000ft and a tad slower.

We made it to Heathrow, though the plane did have a golf ball sized hole in the windscreen. Then the fun really began, I made a mad dash through passport control and security to get into the departure lounge- that was when I realised I was to get to the furthest away gate of terminal 1 in less than the time it would take to walk through duty free.

Ever seen a film with someone doing a mad dash to catch their flight – well that was me. There were announcements out for me to go to the gate (believe me I was going as quick as I could). Then there were ground staff at the gate waiting to escort me to the plane. I made it by the skin of my teeth and the captain even sounded surprised that I had managed it.  I found my seat, sat down and promptly wondered why I was on another plane. By that time we were taxying along the runway and I had no way back.

The flight to Johannesburg was calm in comparison, not much turbulence and no broken windscreens. When I told one of the flight attendants why I was delayed so much, they looked at me as if I was mad – “and you ran for your connection?” one said with surprise.  I slept for a good chunk of the flight and arrived in Johannesburg in good time.

I got through security and then the fun began trying to find my gate for the flight to Blantyre – with all the boards saying different things, I took a guess and ended up at the right one, got on board and took a deep breath. The flight to Blantyre was a smooth as the long haul flight and landing at Blantyre airport was rather a relief. The airport is small and once I got through immigration and goods control, I found my way to the entrance. There was someone with a piece cardboard with “Ms Alli” written on it. 

A 20 minute drive later and I was at Chez Maky, being greeted by the owner and shown to my room by a multitude of staff. It’s a double and en-suite, has mosquito nets and seems rather well equipped – just a shame about the lack of hot water! (don’t worry there is plenty of cold water).

I’ve had a quick tour of Blantyre by a fellow guest (who is also Scottish). Karen has popped in to see me and I plan on spending tomorrow trying to get to know my new home and plan my research.  – or maybe I’ll just take a very extended holiday!





Friday, 17 June 2011

Why do Swedish people think I'm Swedish??

So it's now Friday and this is my 4th day in Uppsala.  It's been an eventful few days, in which I've discovered that Swedish people seem to think I'm from Sweden, everything except Pizza, McDondald's, Subway and Ice Cream in Uppsala is super expensive and that it never gets dark at this time of year. I've attended a couple of panels, helped (wo)man the CAS/CRAS/ABORNE desk and served numerous glasses of wine to guests at the CAS wine reception, followed by singing and more alcohol at the ABORNE party. 

There has been the Conference official opening (On Wed), with a Keynote speaker that induced cramp in my leg and just happened to force me to go outside for most of his speech (honest!). Then there was the Conference Dinner and reception after it, which was rather nice and I met lots of people, some that I already knew and others who are friends of friends. 

I managed to escape the conference centre yesterday for a few hours, which resulted in wandering around Uppsala finding quirky (and expensive) shops including an English Bookshop. I visited one of the largest Cathedrals in Scandinavia, which is probably everyone's reference point for the middle of the city centre. It was whilst exploring that Swedish people kept starting conversations in Swedish and then looked surprised when I replied with "I'm sorry I don't speak Swedish" - you would think the fact i was wearing a t-shirt that says University of Edinburgh on it, would give them a clue...

I'm meeting up with my panel for lunch today, before our session tomorrow morning, when I have to present. I'm still not sure what I'm going to say though I am told that it will just come to me when I have to speak - I hope so....

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Hop, Skip and a Jump at 35,000 feet!

Ok so I’m writing this blog post as we cruise along at 35,000 feet (I’m on a flight to Sweden). Norwegian Airways does actually have WIFI on its flights but unfortunately not this one – either that or my netbook reckons at 35,000 feet asking it to switch on is a challenge never mind connecting to the internet. Well the flight was delayed by 2hrs 20mins and our captain informed us after take-off this was due to a problem with the previous aircraft and they had to divert to Oslo – I’m rather happy he said previous!

So I’m on my way to the ECAS conference in Uppsala –Joost , Wolfgang and Sarah (et al) are on the flight   - though we are sufficiently spread out! The flight is half empty though and as a result there is no-one sitting beside me. It reminds me of my flight back from Australia, though I slept for about 99.9% of that journey and so remember very little apart from the fact as there was no-one sitting beside me I got to stretch out!

We’ve been told that it’s warm in Stockholm for the moment – according to the weather forecast it’s going to rain. As my friend Sarah pointed out – “so it’s wet there as opposed to here?” she has a point the chances are that I’d be getting wet somewhere in Scotland anyway – at least it’s less likely to be “wet rain”!  And for those of you that are wondering wet rain is the kind of skin soaking, chilly, pelting it down cold rain that only seems to exist in parts of the west coast of Scotland.

So at 35,000 feet and a speed that I’d rather not be aware of, Sweden is a hop, skip and a turbulent jump from Edinburgh. Had we not been delayed my planned afternoon of exploring would have been rather nice, now I think I will locate some dinner when I arrive and find out where the rest of the CAS students are! Norwegian airways did give us £9 to spend on food because of the delays. I managed to spend £5, had I been given the voucher 20 minutes earlier it would have bought lunch, but I had already eaten – so I went to boots, bought more water and some sweets!

Well I’ve arrived at conference, where I do have internet access! – so far it’s raining, but it’s warm! I’ve been to my first panel this morning so off to a good start!






Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Counting down the days

So my case is semi-packed, i have bought just about everything i need for going to Malawi and now I'm trying to write a powerpoint for the ECAS conference. I am mentally counting down the days to going away - part of me is so over excited about going away, the other part slightly panicked that I have no idea what I am doing. How am I going to make the best of my time out there...

I'm not just counting down the days till I leave for Malawi but also till going to Sweden. The ECAS conference is getting closer and I'm not really sure of what i'm going to say. Well I know what I'm going to say, but I suspect it will change the moment I start. I've got into the habit of speaking without notes these days - good in many ways, disastrous in others. I am looking forward to going to Sweden though and I fully intend on visiting Stockholm one of the days that I am there.

In counting down the days, I've managed to clear a list of things that had been waiting to get done and further have managed to re-arrange most of my belongings - Mhairi (my flatmate) can testify to how much re-organisation I've been doing recently.  I'm trying to enjoy being away from Edinburgh for a week, getting a bit of west coast polluted air and getting wet however is not the most enjoyable of scenario's.

So I'm going to pull my old room at my mum's apart (and put it back together) then find a quiet spot to sit and read my book...

Sunday, 29 May 2011

ECAS, Malawi, Sweden, Malawi...stitches and broken bones

So I'm making an effort to get better at the blogging and try to do it more regularly (this is mainly due to the fact that a friend has started blogging, and now i feel slightly guilty at the lack of blogs).

So as the title suggests I've been going in circles (again) between getting prepared for Sweden then Malawi, but disaster has struck. Not me personally but my mum decided that the best place to faint was next to the coffee table which means she proceeded to damage her jaw. She may need surgery and she's had 4 stitches in her chin - on the bright side she seems rather chirpy on the phone, whether this is the prospect of 6 weeks off work or possibly losing weight due to her restricted diet, I'm not so sure - either way she seems to be muddling along. I've now warned everyone in sight not to injure themselves in any way, shape or form till I'm out the country.

The list for Malawi is getting ever longer and I'm onto my second list (at this point i can hear some of you say: "OCD") - well yes probably and when the time to pack comes I suspect it will just get worse. I'm not really that bad, but I have my moments and I am a bit of a neat freak  - I'm not quite Monica from Friends, but close enough! I'm due to have my last set of injections on Wednesday, the bit I was trying to avoid most has become the straightforward - who would have thought a nurse would get so much pleasure out of sticking a sharp object in someones arms...i know of at least one! So far the Yellow Fever hasn't made me feel like death up for a heat, but then again there is still time.

I'm kind of marking Tuesday as my day of freedom, once I submit my ECAS paper I fully intend on doing nothing for at least 2 days - well I say that, it's likely I'll try and work through my lists.  Booking and finalising accommodation for staying in Blantyre and Zomba is at the top along with things like insurance and for some strange reason flight socks - well they are important i suppose. So the list goes on...

1. Accommodation, 2. Insurance, 3. Flight Socks  etc etc etc

Saturday, 28 May 2011

End of term...beginning of term...end of term...beginning of term

So it's been a rather long time since I last posted a blog, but then the end of the term is always the busiest - essay marking, final tutorials, exam revision, exam marking and that's just for the tutoring. I've had my Transition Board and passed (yay, relief!). My flights and accommodation are all sorted for going to Uppsala in a few weeks and I've booked my flights for going to Malawi and it seems I have somewhere to stay!

It's been endless hours of reading, writing, rewriting, marking, more reading! I have now returned my HUGE pile of books to the library possibly to the relief of my book-ends one of which decided to break in protest! - It is now fixed and currently resting and not holding up books!

I've started to get organised for Malawi - sunscreen, mosquito repellent, more sunscreen, shampoo, more sunscreen! The woman in Boots thought I was a nutter buying two large bottles for factor 50! - there is a reason, not only do i normally fry like a lobster when the sun even mentions coming out (and I don't mean from the closet) but given the side effect of the anti-malarial meds is sensitivity to sunlight (i.e ye'll burn quicker) it seems factor 50 is the order of the day!  I have a list - a very long list- of things to take with me, though I am making an effort to pack lightly - it may not go well.

On realising the date (freaks out slightly) - it's neither long till Sweden on Malawi - I just hope i have the time to take it all in and enjoy it. I hate it when people go to a foreign country and don't leave the hotel/resort, so i suspect my trip is going to be an adventure...

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Week 6 - Write when you have something to say!

So I've been told by my friend Mark (the tech guy not the Minister) that I should write when i have something to say. Well I do have something to celebrate, I submitted an abstract to ECAS (European Conference of African Studies) which was accepted. I will be off to Sweden for 5 days or so in June to present my paper.

This is also the reading week for undergraduate students, which gives me a slight break from tutoring! Though it's being used to prepare for the huge amount of marking I'll have to do. I'm also preparing for my transition board, which hopefully will take place around the end of March (the dates seem to keep being brought forward - I had one condition, it couldn't be around my birthday). I'll have to submit my draft paper by the end of the month - oh the joys!

It also seems to be the time of the semester when there are constant meetings/ rehearsals for different things! On the bright side my sight reading has improved - my clarinet playing however is still rather questionable! So on that note I'm going to get some sleep and start tomorrow with more reading and writing...

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Feb 6th and the beginning of week 5!

Well we are into week five of the semester, I can't believe we are half way through the second term. It's been all go though - lots of reading, writing and tutoring. With every week that goes by I seem to have something else to tackle, I'm considering this a good thing.

So far this semester - I've written up my class plans for tutoring and i'm actually enjoying doing the reading! I've written a good chunk of my proposal and submitted it to my supervisors (i think the first time is the scariest) - I'm now reviewing it, I've applied for funding (again), I've chosen music for the SPS choir, sorted all my books and notes and even managed to have a couple of nights out.I've organised the PhD/Staff Friday lunch again -which was not only successful but James even remembered to bring the cakes!!

Ok so technically the last half are procrastinating rather than working, but everyone needs a break - right?  I'm trying to give some balance to the work, work, work - no life strategy that i used to have, so actually having a  social life is somewhat exciting!!

Oh and one more thing - I can't wait to get to go on fieldwork!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Semester 2 Begins...

Well today was the first day of semester two and I woke up with the cold....luckily I didn't have to be in today. Most of my commitments are a Tuesday and a Thursday, i'm tutoring more this semester which is good and it appears that the one class I was going to audit is no longer running! This may actually be a blessing in disguise given the amount of reading and writing I have to get on with.

I actually took some time off over the Christmas to break - this was considered by all as very unusual (its common for me to do some sort of work even on Christmas Day).

My first day back in is tomorrow  - given this cold however, I think i'll be spending as little time as possible at uni, so as to recover quicky!!

It's a new year and hopefully another step in the right direction...