Hello world!

I am an avid reader of blogs and have kept telling myself I should start my own.  So finally after a year of saying I would do it, I finally have one. Thanks Chrissy for motivating me to actually start!! I am not sure exactly what this blog will focus on, hence the title (was: everything but the kitchen sink). Probably a bit of everything: writing, birds, feminist studies, gender, sexuality, poetry, Mexico, anthropology, the Choptank River, life after Bucknell…

I have been home now for about two weeks.  Previously I was in Mexico working on an anthropology project in the indigenous village of Zinacantan, located in the state of Chiapas. I wrote a lot while I was there, over 400 pages in fieldjournals, about 300,000 words!!  Now I am trying to write an article from all of the information I gathered. I am also trying to write some poetry based on my experiences there and also the experience of coming home.

It is strange to be home–culture shock overload. I miss all the friends I made while I was there. I wish I could talk with them.  I miss speaking Tzotzil and Spanish. I miss the village: the dusty streets, the sheep, the women weaving, the kids running after me to play, tortillas con sal, the mountains and the mist that fell over them in the morning.

Sometimes I feel like my heart is full of fractured pieces of countries and cultures, all the places I carry inside of me. England and America, the two countries I belong to.  Spain and Mexico, the countries I have fallen in love with.  Traveling is a wonderful experience, particularly the way I have been able to do it; I have lived in many different countries and have immersed myself in their cultures.  The hard part is leaving places.  Right now my heart hurts.

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7 comments

  1. Interesting post. You should do it more often! haha.
    How did you land anthropological research in Mexico? Did you have funding? Sounds awesome. I miss field research and field notes…
    Now, I’m worrying about reverse culture shock for me when I return home in the summer–as well as my wife who will be experiencing culture shock. Two people is a lot of people to consider. haha

  2. Hey Dan, Thanks for reading! Sorry it took me so long to reply. My (English) granddad is an anthropologist and has a lot of friends in Mexico. When I was about to graduate Bucknell he let me know that his friend Magda–who I also know very well–was going to be doing a project on women and finances and that I should contact her to ask her if I could help out. She said yes, please come! Initially I was only going down for two months, October-December. I paid my flight, they paid my living expenses. I fell in love with the place and really enjoyed the work (though wow was there a steep learning curve!) and asked about the possibility of coming back in the Spring. Magda said she’d love to have me back, and was able to work it out so that my flight this time got paid through their funding. 🙂 It was an amazing experience. And you are right, I should write more about it! This side-blog didn’t end up getting very far after my initial post. LOL.

    Culture shock and reverse culture shock can be interesting things to navigate! Particularly the latter when it is the familiar which suddenly seems strange after time away. It takes a bit of time to adjust back. As for your wife, in terms of culture shock I find that initially it doesn’t hit, everything is new and exciting, but then I begin to miss home and the comfort of familiar things. Good luck for both of you. How long have you been in Japan? 🙂

  3. Thanks. I’ve been in Japan for over a year and a half now. I know I’m gonna have to re-learn my own culture again. haha.

    Hope you do go back and I hope you DO WRITE MORE about it.
    haha.

    Seriously.

  4. I know what you mean about carrying pieces of countries and cultures with you — my pieces include Mexico (and El Paso TX), Ukraine, and of course Maryland.

    I forgot that your time in Mexico was for anthropology. When I started reading your latest entry, I thought, “Hmm, sounds like an ethnography…” I’m almost finished with my first grad level course — Cultural Anthropology! 🙂

    I look forward to seeing you this summer sometime!

    • Hi Jess, great to see you here! And thanks for commenting. 🙂 Your course in Cultural Anthropology sounds neat. I am hoping to take an Anthropology course next semester, I’ve yet to take an actual course in the field, just got thrown into a real world situation and learned on the job! I think that’s the best way to do it. When will you be home? We should definitely meet up this summer.

      • Our class was really good because so many of us were in different countries — Ukraine, Croatia, Brazil, Ireland, and a bunch across the US. We could compare notes, so to speak, and really apply what we were learning to our contexts.

        I get back June 8, and will be home for 2 months — yes, let’s meet up!

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