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Archive for May, 2006

Back from Paris!

This is just a quick drive-by posting for now, since there's lots to do to prepare for my meeting with my supervisor this week.  Thad and I are back from Paris and we had a wonderful time!

There are tons of photos up online for now (I mean it when I say tons!), and I will do a proper post sometime soon.

Au revoir! 

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This week I had my first supervisor meeting, so I'm into full swing trying to get research and reading done for my dissertation.  Ann was really helpful and suggested I start by ensuring there's enough empirical material out there for what I want to do.  I am still trying to formulate an argument around gender and projects that attempt to integrate conservation and development, so I'm hoping an epiphany will strike me soon!

On a different note, several ADST girls went to touch rugby again today in Preston Park, and it was great!  I'm amazed at how much running around it entails – it's a much better workout and a lot more fun than doing anything at the gym.  They also meet on Tuesday evenings, so I may start doing that and quit my gym membership (though I'll miss it!).

In a couple of days Thad and I leave for Paris – it will be my first trip to continental Europe!  Yay! 

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The Brighton Festival

The Brighton Festival (and the Fringe Festival) are now in full swing, and this past weekend there were lots of fun and free things to do around town. Thad was here partly to partake in the festivities and partly because he had a baseball game in Brighton on Sunday (and partly just to see me, of course!). It was a great weekend, though we were on the go most of the time. Go here to see all the photos from the weekend.
We spent Friday afternoon walking around the North Laines watching street performers who were taking part in the "streets of Brighton" event. We saw everything from dancing scuba divers, astronauts, shrimp, huge roman soldiers, marching ants, to a guy riding a giant (one of my personal favorites). At one point, Thad was recruited to hold the finishing post for a race between two men on stilts:

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At least I wasn't one of the girls recruited for them to "ride" on! Though, I do think Thad enjoyed me being attacked by a shrimp afterwards…. We also went through a maze set up in the Pavilion Gardens with various street performers inside it (including very large children, and moving teapot-shaped bushes). Here's us waiting in line outside the maze:

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After hours of wandering around enjoying all the shows and spectacles, we stopped at Shake Away for some of the best milkshakes I've had in a long time. You can order strange flavors/toppings, such as Cadbury Creme Egg (which Thad got), toffee cheesecake, milk chocolate digestive, and about 50 or so others! Later on we went to Susana's for a great BBQ. It was wonderful to sit outside enjoying one of the first truly warm and sunny days we've had in a while, eating, chatting, listening to Brendan play his guitar, and just enjoying each other's company:

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Saturday was also gorgeous, so Thad and I went on a bike ride to Rottingdean, a small and quaint town not far from Brighton. The cycle path above the white cliffs was very scenic:

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We investigated the windmill, where we actually ran into Simon Coleman, the director of the doctoral anthropology program at Sussex who was there with his family! We also spent some time wandering around the Kipling Gardens before riding back (this time on the path underneath the cliffs). That night we walked to Preston Park to see the Light Players, who put on an amazing (though at times a bit strange) pyrotechnic display.

Sunday I went with Thad to a baseball field just outside of town to watch his game – the Kings played the Brighton Buccaneers. Although Thad didn't play catcher, he was in the outfield and managed to get a few good hits off the other team's pitcher. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit cold and dreary, and the Kings lost the game, but I had a good time watching and conversing with the other fans (aka the wives/girlfriends of the other players). Here's Thad warming up (and barely tolerating my photo-taking!)

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It was a fun and busy weekend, and now I'm back to the real world to continue my job search and dissertation research. In just a little less than a week, however, Thad and I will be in Paris – I can't wait!

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Note to self:

Never, never again start a Harry Potter book when you need to be focusing your energies on job hunting and dissertation notes and research. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read fiction in so long, but I have absolutely devoured the 3rd and 4th Harry Potter books recently. 636 pages (the length of book 4) in two days? If only I could demonstrate such passion in reading about integrated conservation and development projects, my dissertation would be a breeze. No more Harry Potter until I have a significant amount of research done and feel justified in treating myself (and becoming a complete hermit) for another few days.

The problem is that now, I’ve caught up to the most recent movie, and so when I read book 5 I won’t actually know what the ending will be, which is exciting! Maybe when I actually have substantial notes and a working outline of my paper, I’ll let myself indulge again. In the meantime, I warn you all about the sheer addictiveness of these books (yes, I know I’m a bit behind in this realization!).

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It’s been a while!

It's been a while since I've felt this purly physically tired, or since I've had a bruise on my body that felt like it was slowly swelling to the size of a small country.  This morning was worth it though – it was my first time playing touch rugby.  Margaret used to play in Ireland, and finally found a group of people who play every weekend in Preston Park.  At first I was a bit intimidated since there was only one other girl (besides me, Margaret, and Kat), but they were all really nice, patiently explained the rules, and didn't mind passing a lot to try to get some of us newer players into the game.  It was a GREAT workout, and the only real hazard was the wet grass and trying not to fall while running (for those of us who didn't have cleets).  It was really fun though, and I may try to make it a regular habit of going.

So, I haven't posted anything in quite a while, but things have been fairly busy lately.  I'm trying to really start working hard on my dissertation, but that has been quite a challenge on the days when we've had exceptional weather in Brighton.  Just a few days ago it got up to 23 degrees (over 70 in Farenheit!) and campus was completely transformed.  Everyone was outside on the grass talking, eating, reading, or drinking.  I hadn't seen campus like that before, and I felt justified in taking the afternoon off, talking to some of the girls in my program, and enjoying the sunshine.  

Also, I failed to document a major milestone on this blog – my 25th birthday!  Because I knew I would be in Oxford on my actual birthday, I had a group of people over to my flat last Wednesday to celebrate.  I made apple crumble (which was really yummy, especially with vanilla ice cream!) and it was a lovely evening.  Afterwards, Sam, Margaret, Kat, and I went to Casablanca's, but I had to make a relatively early night of it because I had a bit too much wine!  And, that night convinced me even more that Kat is an absolute angel, and the best kind of friend anyone could hope to have 🙂

The next day I headed to Oxford for a long weekend, getting there earlier than usual in the week so that I could go to the Greek Easter Feast.  It was a definite treat and a huge meal!  Thad had various things he had to do over the weekend, but that meant that I got to mingle with St. Cross people at jazz night while he was behind the bar, and spectate at his baseball practice (at the St. Edwards school, where he's helping to coach a team). 

For the most part the weather was great, until we woke up early on May morning (my birthday!) to attend the various festivities in Oxford.  We heard the Magdalen boys' choir sing, and then spent about an hour watching Morris dancers around town.  I still don't quite understand Morris dancing, but it's a lot of fun to watch!  After a lovely, greasy breakfast at the St. Giles Cafe we went back to sleep for a couple of hours.  Originally we had planned to go punting, but the weather just wasn't quite warm enough, though it did clear up later in the day.

The rest of my birthday was spent eating, mostly!  We went to lunch at Thad's college, and then I opened my cards and presents before Thad and I went on a short bike ride around Jericho.  I got to try out the bike he fixed up for me for my birthday present, and I really like it (though it took some getting used to at first, since I'm more used to mountain bikes than road bikes).  Afterwards we spent some time walking around town, making a stop by Krispy Kreme so that I could get a birthday doughnut!  After meeting several of the archaeology people who had just finished with their exams at a nearby pub, Thad and I went to Bistro Je t'aime for a wonderful dinner.  I really enjoyed the food there, especially the duck and the scalloped potatoes – yum!  Then we went to a movie, and had a pretty quiet evening in.  It was a great birthday, and I spent most of the day trying not to think about the fact that I'm a quarter of a century old.  At least people seem to still think I look much younger than I am!

Thad wrote an entry about May Day on his blog that you can take a look at, along with photos, and I posted some photos of my own here

It feels a little strange to be in school but not have classes.  I guess the next four months of working on my dissertation will be pretty telling – how much self-discipline do I really have, and do I have what it takes to get a PhD at some point?  Because I need to find funding, it will probably be a while before I get a doctoral degree, but I am looking forward to working or volunteering somewhere next year.  Anyway, back to being productive for a bit!

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