Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Figuring this out

I think my last posting cut off too soon. I wrote some other stuff
that isn't that important, but I don't think it actually posted.

Anyways, I've decided I'm not going to try to push through with the
permits. I had a meeting today (Monday, but this won't be posted
until Tuesday) with someone at the university and he suggested
several people that I should write to. He also thinks I shouldn't
rush the permits and should focus on getting the sense of things
while I'm here now. He also said that my intended weekend trip won't
work for a weekend, so I'll have to think about a useful place to go
this weekend. I'd like to see some critters.

Somewhat frustratingly, I'm having trouble tracking down some books.
Sam said to me in the US, "Oh, I don't think you can get them now-
you'll be able to find them in Ukenzagapia," and today I was told, "I
think you have to get those books in the US if that bookstore you
already visited didn't have it."

I'm staying near a church and they're singing (part of?) Handel's
Messiah right now. It's quite beautiful- a far cry better than the
usual shouts from the bus station or the call to prayer. The rhythm
of life here is different. The tropical days are the same length as
the night, and it's not a good idea to wander around the city after
dark so I'm stuck in the hotel after about 6:30 pm. I've been going
to sleep incredibly early for me (10 or 11 pm), but also getting up
very early (6:30). Since I had to drastically change time zones
anyways this has been fine.

People here are so encouraging of my language skills! People are so
impressed when I talk to them in the local language and I tell them
I've only been here for a week (although I wasn't starting from
scratch). They always say, "You speak very well!" It's really great
that they're so encouraging of my rudimentary attempts at the language.

I can't wait to go shopping for clothes here. I'm excited about
buying gifts here too for family & friends. I haven't bought anything
'fun' yet. One of these days my new friend Helen and I will go
together. It is great to have Helen to hang out with. We go to
language class together, eat lunch together, study the language, have
rooms on the same hall, and can just hang out. I can't believe how
much we have in common (first year Ph.D. students on reconnaissance
missions in Ukenzagapia for almost the same timeframe).

Now I need to focus on writing emails to various people about my
project. Meanwhile, something imitating the sound of a bagpipe plays
"The more we get together" song outside my window...


Paulina said...

do you want me to buy and ship you some books?

EcoGeoFemme said...

Glad to hear things are going reasonably well, if not totally perfectly.

Is there any work you can do without permits?

Karina said...

I haven't completely exhausted my options yet for the books, but thanks Paulina!

Without the permits I'm focusing on getting the big picture and learning the natural history of the area. And the language, which is very important.