Tag Archives: fieldwork

More radio silence

I would love that the latest week+’s radio silence is for as interesting a reason as the last one (see last post) but sadly I’ve not really done much that is particularly blog-worthy. Last week I was down south in Sheffield doing some preliminary observations for my new research prior to starting interviews soon. I really enjoyed the experience, though I had picked up a tummy bug which meant that I had to keep dashing to the ladies’, and that really wiped me out, I was shattered! Just back to work this week, and today I was taking some time out to speak at a doctoral training seminar jointly arranged by my former department, it was really nice to catch up with some people from there and think specifically about language issues in research. Unfortunately after delivering my bit of the seminar I had a bit of a wobble health-wise so had to leave and come home, I was really disappointed as I had been looking forward to it for ages, and the discussion in the first couple of hours before I left was fascinating, but I am now feeling better so hopefully that will be the end of that.

Next week the travelling for work starts in earnest, I am really looking forward to interviewing again (though was reflecting on today’s topic and thinking that interviewing in English will feel really odd!). I really love this bit of the research, and the next bit (analysing and writing it up) – I am so lucky to have this job. I’m very grateful for it, and for good supportive colleagues. Remind me of this when I’m moaning about all the travelling!


[I wonder who’ll be the first to make a comment about I’ll have a vowel please Carol?]

So, it’s my last day in Sibiu, and my penultimate day in Romania. Which means that I’ll be probably offline for the next few days (though knowing me I’ll maybe squeeze in a bit of internet time later today). I have all sorts of mixed feelings. Really Really Happy to be heading home at last, and being able to spend some time with HD and think about the wedding. Also really looking forward to getting my teeth into my interviews and the whole analysis process – apart from the actual fieldwork, this is the bit of the PhD I’ve been really looking forward to. Dreading having to do the teaching again. Worrying I’ll forget the language after being immersed back in English again. Looking forward to being immersed back in English again (jokes about Glasgow accents notwithstanding). Excited about HD moving to Scotland and us getting married soon (that’s the best thing 😀 ). Annoyed with downwiththissortofthing.com (see I think the penultimate September blog entry for explanation) in a Really Big Way today – and wondering if they’re inadvertently talking to me about ‘vocation’, about what I’m meant to be and do (though absolutely not in the way they’d want!).

But also a bit sad that I’m leaving Romania again – there’s something about this place which is really under my skin. No doubt I’ll be back 🙂

Thanks for praying. It’s sort of been half answered and I’m feeling better – but I still need that email!


An interesting day today (we won’t mention the insomnia in the small hours this morning though – grrrr), including a trip to a couple of villages in the countryside round about Sibiu. The scenery was lovely, and the weather too, but unfortunately the sun meant that it was too hazy to take any decent photos – the tops of the mountains peering through the haze were really something, but it wouldn’t have worked on film (well OK memory card, but you know what I mean).

I have had to hand over a tiny bit of control of a tiny weeny bit of my research to someone else in order to get some more information, and I don’t like it at all! Despite my best efforts, I still want it to be All About Me. We’ll see what happens.

On a related note, for those of you who pray please can you say a few for something research-related that is niggling me and is potentially worrying. I really hope I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but I’d just appreciate an email from someone specific to reassure me. Thank you 🙂

Retail therapy

I decided to pop along to the supermarket today, as when I was here in the summer they were selling 2GB memory sticks for a tenner so I thought I’d get a couple more while I had the chance. Sadly, they weren’t there anymore (they had 2GB memory sticks but they were more than 4 times the price, so I didn’t bother). To make up for the disappointment I have bought a couple of DVDs instead from the bargain bucket, and some vaguely healthy food so I don’t have to spend the entire week eating crisps and pizza (it’s a right pain not having a kitchen!).

In other news, I have just had to give my supervisor a provisional title for a conference talk that I will hopefully be giving next year, based on preliminary findings from this period of fieldwork. I’m kind of looking forward to it, except that everyone else on my panel is really experienced and has published tons of stuff and know what they’re doing, whereas I’ve published nothing in my field and don’t really have a clue what I’m doing. I’m going to have to be so careful not to leave it till the last minute (what with wedding planning and possible house moving between now and then leaving it till the last minute is a distinct possibility) – if I’m organised I’ll be able to blag my way to sounding knowledgeable and authoritative. If I’m not I will just be embarrassing.

The trials and tribulations of radio stardom

So, I blogged last week about being interviewed for national radio, and the various hideous indignities and unintentional hilarity that ensued. Now I’m in the internet cafe I’ve just checked the website to find that I can’t listen to it tonight (for it is tonight that I am broadcast to the world) after all as the computers here don’t allow any plug-ins to be installed (it means I can’t see anything on YouTube while I’m here either).

I suspect that’s probably just as well actually, it’s bound to be cringeworthy. When I’m home this weekend I’ll see if they have a “listen again” feature (I suspect not actually, but it’s worth a try).

This week

I’ve arranged my programme here in such a way that I have most of today and all of tomorrow off. This is good because I am knackered. It has also meant that I wasn’t flapping when I had to wait an hour for my phone to be unblocked so I could use it here, and meant that I have had time to do boring stuff like change money, and also that I can wander round and relax a bit. Most importantly, it means I can have a lie-in tomorrow. Hooray!

The only (minor) gripe is that the TV in my hotel room doesn’t work. They did say yesterday that it would be fixed today, but they don’t seem to be in any great hurry to sort it out. It isn’t just laziness that I want the TV – it has been quite useful to watch the news programmes here, good for my language and also to have a clue what is going on in the world outside of my research. Plus in Bucharest a couple of days ago I woke up in the small hours and couldn’t go back to sleep, and having the TV on really quietly was as good as someone singing lullabies.

I’ve wandered round and noticed a few more changes. The flowers outside the Dumbrava department store are amazing (in the summer they were very lethargic and limp, they didn’t seem to like 40 degree temperatures any more than I did, but they’re looking great now), the Hotel at the bottom of my old road which was being renovated has now opened, large parts of roads which were building sites are now properly tarmacked (I’m sure that’s not how you spell it, but neither one ‘c’ nor two ‘c’s looked right), and for some reason the council seems to have stuck the same sign (showing it is a “Historic Building”) on every building, which is really rather spoiling them I think. And I can’t get used to the big stage not being in Piata Mare, there’s a big gap there now! Though the statue I always felt a bit sorry for* that was hidden right behind the stage is now fully visible.

* Yes I know it’s an inanimate object. I’m just soft.

More travelling

I’m in Romania again! More than that, I’m in Sibiu! In the old internet cafe! Hooray!

[That’s quite enough exclamation marks thank you. -Ed]

And I have all sorts of emotions churning up at the moment. To deal with the easy stuff first – Sibiu. There are a few changes (the big stage and the topiary have disappeared from Piata Mare sometime in the last 2 months and aren’t there any more) but basically it’s pretty much the same place (the giant egg is still in Piata Mica and I had delicious pasta and wine in the cool restaurant this evening). I’m disappointed to be missing some great culture later this month – “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” is on general release at the cinema from the day I leave (crappest of crap timing there), a few days of World Music in a couple of weeks’ time, and the (well-established, not just Year of Culture stuff) anthropological film festival at the end of the month – maybe after I’ve finished the PhD and having to teach by the end of October I’ll try to make the film festival a regular pilgrimage – a whole week of documentary films from around the world, in one of my favourite towns, how wonderful is that?! But – I feel ever so weird, typing here just a stone’s throw from my little flat, and – it’s not my flat any more and I have to turn right instead of left when I leave the internet cafe and go to a hotel instead. I guess it’s just tapping into this huge longing for “home” – and let’s face it, I’ve got less than a week before I’m back in the UK and it’s officially The End of fieldwork, so it’s not the most traumatic experience, but it is very real nonetheless.

More obliquely, when I arrived in Bucharest yesterday and was on the bus to the hotel, I had the strangest feeling (especially given that I’ve never been particularly fond of Bucharest), that I was somewhere familiar – “home”-like almost – it felt like I could breathe again, for the first time in a couple of months. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Chisinau, and have many friends there, and having been there 2 months I was really starting to get a feel for the place. But (and I think this relates to my last post) I think that living with a family rather than in my own place, and in a society that is generally more conservative, had started to become stifling. And then leaving Bucharest today, on the bus heading for Sibiu, that feeling was even stronger. I’ve reflected more than once since being away that if I was still resolutely single (as until last year looked like it was going to be the case) then I would really seriously consider at least buying a flat in Romania, if not moving. There’s something about the place which is very “me”. Mind you, if I was still resolutely single I wouldn’t be able to do much about it anyway without also being resolutely rich, and that’s never going to happen.

Anyway, all this is idle talk – less than a week and I’m properly “home”. I can’t wait.


Earlier this month (7th, if you really want to go and read it) I was delighting in being called “a young person from England” on national radio. Today I did an interview at the radio station with one of the presenters, and when I’d finished and went to put my dictaphone back in my bag, she whipped out her own dictaphone (it was swankier than mine – thank goodness I didn’t bring the steam-powered cassette recorder) and asked if she could interview me. So we did a 10 minute interview (what I’m doing here, what my impressions are of the country, etc). All mildly embarrassing, but I don’t think I said anything too hideous. It’s on next week so I got the time and will try to listen to it in the internet cafe in Romania.

BUT. The last question threw me a bit, and I don’t know how I didn’t just laugh out loud. She suddenly said (I paraphrase but this was basically it) “As a final question, from a youth from England to the youth of Moldova, what would you say to us?”

I’m daaaan wi’ da yoof.


More bloggage

Hooray, Jane did as she was told and is now blogging over here at Fuzzy Edges. She has very kindly included this here very blog in her blogroll, so on the offchance that any readers of her intellectual and clever blog make their way over here I thought I’d better make sure that the first entry wasn’t about some kid barfing.

I did a good interview this morning, and have another coming up this afternoon which will hopefully go well. Then one more tomorrow, and hopefully that will be it for here. I still haven’t thought about packing. A friend a couple of days ago gave me a lovely vase as an early wedding present – it really is rather nice, but is a bit on the heavy side (which means kerensa’s and T&E’s prizes might be a bit more virtual than originally intended – I’ve no idea now how over the baggage limit I am) and I don’t want to think how many pieces it might end up in when my rucksack is thrown around by airline staff.

I want at some point to blog some thoughts sort of prompted by this blog post by Auntie Doris yesterday, but as they’re relevant to my research I need to be quite careful what I say publicly. Maybe I’ll have a think about that tomorrow, after all I will need to have some procrastination time in order to put off the packing.

Lowering the tone

To counter yay’s scatological adventures over at Tales of Variable Yayness recently I was going to tell you about the little girl who puked on the (crowded, rush-hour) bus I was on yesterday. But I have thought better of it, I think there’s enough lowering of the tone going on down in the upside-down bit of the wibsite without me adding to it. It was pretty impressive though – I have worked as a nurse don’t forget, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much sick before except when I had food poisoning! We were all (including the driver I think) desperate to get off the bus! The little girl looked completely non-plussed by the whole thing, despite having drenched both herself and her mother – it was the adults that couldn’t handle it! Oh whoops, so I told you after all. I blame yay. And am never going to eat minced quorn again, because that’s what it looked like.

Now that I’ve shared that, I shall tell you that I have made some phone calls and cold-call visits (easier than cold phone calls) with not 100% but some success, and have given up trying to find one place because the building doesn’t appear to exist (it was only of peripheral interest to my research, rather than a vital interview, otherwise I might have tried a bit harder). I have finally pinned down the person I’ve been trying to interview for the last 2 months to a time on Friday (ie my last full day here), and I have decided I might try to fit in an impromptu interview this afternoon if my intended victim interviewee is agreeable to this.

Last night I interviewed someone who had 2 children with her, so I recorded them too to distract them a bit. It was very cute, Moldovan poetry recited by a 6 year old, but less cute when the baby was yelling into the microphone while her mum was (rather quietly) making a serious and relevant point. I really hope the dictaphone picked it up! They never tell you about this sort of thing in lectures.

Goodness only knows when I’m going to pack. I can’t get my head round the fact that I only have 2 full days left here! How did that happen?