Thursday, May 24, 2007

Random bullets of field preparations

  • The field season begins tomorrow. The good thing is that regular life obligations will be left behind. The bad thing is that I'm ridiculously tired from dealing with regular life obligations for the next two months. Planning a wedding and two field expeditions at the same time cannot be recommended.
  • I am going to live in a tent far out in the forest for the next six weeks and right now the thought of simple life in the nature seems quite appealing. This will probably change as soon as the first mosquitoes make their way into the tent or at least the first time dinner will consist of a random, grey substance coming out of a can.
  • I am bringing about 15 unread scientific articles and a manuscript for an article. I wonder when I think I am going to work on all that. 10-12 hour days of hard, physical work doesn't leave an awful lot of time for studying. I seemingly have no memory of previous years or am expecting a lot of rainy stay-at-home-in the-camp days.
  • I am also bringing 4 novels, which are totally unrelated to my work. Somehow my imagination of how I will make time for these is much more vivid. One of the good things about living in a tent for weeks on end is plenty of uninterrupted reading time.
  • Yesterday I bought the most ridiculous piece of clothing I've ever owned. It's a fishing* vest, that looks a bit more stupid than this, but otherwise the idea is the same. A particularly weird thing about mine is that it had a small patch of white, teddy bearish fabric on one of the pockets. I have pulled it off now, but I suppose it was there for a reason. *I am not going fishing, but need it to carry all the equipment and tools I need for my fieldwork. Yes, sometimes I could just as well have become some sort of handywoman.
  • We are bringing 8 big boxes of equipment for a field party of four people (our personal luggage come in addition to this). We would like to believe we're travelling with a lot of important scientific equipment. In reality most of it is camping gear. Some clothes pegs, a blanket or 22 bottles of mosquito repellent, anyone?
  • I have also brought a language course on CD and a phrasebook because obviously I think I will have lots of time for spare time activities.
  • In reality fieldwork doesn't really deal with spare time or alone time. We live together in the forest in a camp, eat together, work together all day long and return to the camp for dinner and some social life around a campfire. Not too different from living in prehistoric times (although we do have drinks and chocolate and laptops with many, many extra batteries for full function without access to electricity).
  • I'm going to return in excellent shape, as field work is just a really strange way of getting some exercise. There is really no better way for me to force myself to get fit, but it's not going to be fun for the first few days.

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