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Thursday, May 10, 2012

I made it!

Okay, well, here we are. I made it. The trip was fairly uneventful. It doesn't even phase me anymore. I was so shocked when I realized there was only two hours left to Delhi. It felt like not much time had passed.

Anyhow. I am at a hotel thing. It is way more than I really wanted to pay, but considering the circumstances, I will accept it. Plus it has free wi-fi, so until I get situated, that will be great.

I still need to find housing. There is a cheaper more hostelish place somewhere nearby here, so I am going to go out to look for that and I am going to send out some requests on couch surfing and this other website a friend of mine showed me. I may go wander around Delhi University campus as well to see if I can find any leads on student contracted housing or something like that.

Bah. Okay, I don't know quite what else to say at this point. I have a lot to work out. Well, mostly just the housing. So far I have already been talking to a few people about my project. Nothing I can use per se because I need to go print out the participation things. I can already tell though, those dang things are really going to make this project awkward. I really wish I did not have to use them. I hope they don't mess this up for me.

I feel like I am not going to be very productive until I can relax about where I am leaving my stuff and costs and stuff. it is too bad this place is so dang expensive, haha. It would be so convenient. But it will work out. There was a semi-longterm kind of thing left out there on couch surfing. I am going to contact them and see if we can meet up or something. Dang this is so sketch, haha. I love it.

I had a minor panic attack this morning when I realized that I am in freaking India and I haven't arranged housing yet. So...everything should be fine. I don't really feel culture shock yet. It just feels normal. Getting from the airport to the metro and then finding an auto and being directed all over the place and ending up taking way to many stops and then being lead down this super sketch street where the hotel was and just taking it because it was the first thing I found so far and the other things weren't turning up...it was an adventure, but if felt super normal. Like this is India. I don't know. I will report more on culture shock. We will see how I do once I really start facing the heat.

Okay, I am off to find food, water, a map, and then maybe to go out to see Delhi University. Who knows.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mostly just housekeeping

Okay, I am not committed to posting everyday. I want to do it as often as I can, but the promise I have made myself is that I will not post unless I have something to say, otherwise this will kind of get stupid fast.

I deleted the sources tab and made the assignments tab only for in field assignments. I have all those posts tagged and everything, I just want this blog to now be focused on my actual project moving forward, not the patchy reporting of what I have done before. Basically I could not think of a good way to put it on here without being aesthetically and logically displeasing to me. The readings tab is for all my reading assignments. Maybe I will do something more with it like link some entries about responses or thoughts I have about the reading, but for now it is just another list, like my book tab.

I finally posted my proposal, although I omitted the intent/background part, sections A and B. I will be working on them, but I want them to be more focused and something I am actually satisfied with if I am going to be posting them on this blog going forward. I will update them probably soon.

Other than those things I have updated some blog lists. I am still playing with them. They may change.

Now I just wish all the people in the field would say something! I am so excited to read their first impressions but they are all so dang silent. I think only Roseanne has said anything and I am not even sure if she is in the field or not.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Reading is finally set

I met with Dr. Eastley today to make sure I have all the texts I will need to read. I think I will change one of my tabs into a reading list tab thing/center to record/report/respond to what I am reading or something. I will see what ends up being practical in the field, I suppose. Essentially I have everything. There are two books I do not currently own, but Dr. Eastley is getting me PDFs of them. I think I will probably end up purchasing them eventually, but for now I will go on this. Does planning on buying them in the future counteract any potential copyright issues? I think so. Actually the only reason I did not end up buying them is because I can't find them right now. I think that basically covers my bases, don't you think? If anyone questions me I will just clarify my stance on the restrictive and backwards state of academic literature currently.

I think books are going to take up a significant portion of my luggage to India. I can't bring myself to change over to e-books. The idea just sounds awful. Also, it is way way way too politicized right now. I can't support Amazon with their kind of brutal business practices. I am not ready to marry Apple. I have no idea if Barnes and Noble will be around much longer. I think I am just going to wait until physical books are no longer a possibility. Maybe by then e-books will be like MP3 files that you can play on anything that can play MP3s. Because it isn't like I need to sit in an Amazon branded chair or in a specific Penguin zone to read the books I have now. Why would I want to shift to a standard where I have some big corporation reading over my shoulder at all times? The other issue is that a lot of the academic texts I need are not available on any e-readers currently that I know of, so I am going to have to take some books either way.

I will update my tabs, I think, with my reading list. Also, I will publish my proposal soon, I just want to rewrite the background/significance/lit review part because it is so bad. I just did not have the energy with the disaster last semester was to make it what I want it to be. So more improvements pending. Perhaps I will have this blog where I want it to be by October.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Visa Vie

See what I did there?

My visa is finally here. I feel like I have suddenly accomplished so much even though I did not really do anything except throw money at a middle man to process documents for me. It took the visa processing company about two weeks to work with my paperwork. The Indian Consulate took less than six hours to get their stuff done. Oh well. A few polite phone calls and now all is well.

My flight is officially scheduled for May ninth at 10:35 AM.

I still do not have housing, but I am sure that will figure itself out eventually. I have sent out another round of contacts. Did I already say that in my last entry? I cannot remember. Anyhow, new round of pleas is out and we shall see. If worse comes to worse I will just be in a hostel for a while. I am concerned about my ability to approach people to see if I can stay with them, because that is incredibly far outside my comfort zone. But getting out of my comfort zone is the whole point of this endeavor, now isn't it? If I wanted to be comfortable I would have just stayed home, worked, and saved money rather than going out on this madcap adventure to India on money I don't really have to do something I am not exactly sure I even know how to do.

I am meeting with Dr. Eastley tomorrow to confirm I have all the reading material I will need. There is no required reading for IAS 397R or ENGL 490? 493? (I can't remember which one is the mentored research one). For ENGL 358, my Southeast Asian literature class I already have the required texts. It is just my ENGL 480?, the directed readings course, I think I have about half of the books I will be reading from, I just need to confirm if I am missing any, and then get the specific chapters I am supposed to read from Dr. Eastley.

Okay, you know what, I am just going to confirm everything for future reference so everything is clear when I talk about my classes. These are the classes I am taking:

IAS 397R Field Studies Field Course
ENGL 358R Southeast Asian Literature
ENGL 480R Directed Research in English
ENGL 490R Individual Readings in English

There we go. I had it backwards. Anyhow, I have all the readings except for I don't think I have them all for 490R, at least not the specifics. I am super excited for the news reading assignment for IAS 397R. I will probably just get either The Times of India or The Week (an Indian news magazine thing) or something like it. We will see how I am feeling. I think the only part about the FSFC that concerns me is the writing two or three pages everyday. I have had bad experiences with journaling. Maybe it will come easily. I hope so. Maybe if I do it on my compy it will be easier.

Other than that, everything should go smoothly. Before I leave I am definitely going to have to set up a reading schedule for my two reading courses because they are fairly rigorous. Well, exceptionally rigorous, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It is so exciting to finally have a semester in college that is specifically, completely geared entirely towards exactly what I want to study. I am curious how I will feel coming out of it. Will I discover things about it I don't actually like? Will I like it more? Will I like it less? It is so exciting and new. I wish all of college could be like this.

For now I am kind of in this limbo space. In less than a week I will have so much to do it will be crazy, but for now things are basically set. I just need to do a little preliminary planning and pack. Well, besides locate housing, but there is not much I can do about that except e-mail and/or call people and hope for the best. So for now I just work and then come home and read. Right now I am in the middle of Bombay Time by Thrity Umrigar. I actually started it a few months ago, but lost interest in it, yet suddenly it has become a page turner for me. It is so strange how that happens. One day I would like to know the psychology behind that. I mean, I know sometimes the story just gets better, but in this case I read the first ten pages and could not find the energy to keep going and then I started again the other day and I could not put it down. Maybe it is all in perspective or something or psychological state.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Okay, okay, so I sort of fell off of the getting back on the horse horse. But I am back for reals this time. It feels right. Despite my miserable failure to post regularly during the prep course, in the end I somehow ended up with exactly fifty posts on this blog. That seems signish enough for me. That portion of the blog is over and now this one will begin.

Everything is mostly in place. I think. I have my courses set, generally. I just need to reconfirm that I have all the books I need. Never mind how I will actually get the books to India, but that is a problem for another day. Like tomorrow. My proposal was done a while ago and I received my IRB approval today itself. My visa has been approved. It is supposed to be in the mail. Assuming that Travisa came through for me. I have had to sort of gently nudge them through the process, but at least I officially have the visa now. I don't quite have a place to live yet. And by not quite I mean not at all. I am sure that will figure itself out though. I have a friend who has given me some fresh contacts, so hopefully they will lead to something. I may be in a hostel or something for the first few days, but that isn't the end of the world.

I should probably look into packing. I don't know that I will need all that much this time. The biggest part of my luggage will be all my books. So many books.

Anyhow, today I am writing hopefully not too desperate sounding e-mails to some more people to see if I can figure out somewhere to stay, make sure I have all my paperwork in order, and begin the process of packing.

Also, I need to decide if I should push my flight back a week or not. Right now I am scheduled to leave Thursday, but I don't quite feel ready, to be honest. A few more days to put things in order might be nice, if slightly expensive.

I think I am going to rearrange this blog a bit, now that it isn't under any official strictures of the prep course. Oh, and I should probably go over the IAS course contract to make sure I know what I am doing so I can get started on it.

I am slightly nervous I am not going to be able to operate in the heat. Hyderabad wasn't that bad last summer, but this is Delhi. I don't know if I can handle 120/50 degrees again. It was pretty bad in Rajamundry.