Saturday, October 30, 2010

Random bullets of "I still can't quite believe it"

I think I will start my fellowship in April.

April sounds like a good month. My current boss wants to keep me until the end of February, and now that I have some leverage (I can leave any time I want) I get to do fun stuff on the current project. No more data entry!

Between February and April I am going to do... NOTHING.


I haven't had a holiday where I didn't take work with me since before grad school. Um, 2003, I think. I submitted my PhD half way through my first semester of teaching full time, so yeah, no time off to recover there. I can't think of anything more blissful than four full weeks without any responsibilities. I might not even get out of bed.

When I start, I move buildings/departments/offices within our university. Linguistics at our university is split into two departments, and this fellowship will be held within the other one, since their research focus is more in line with the topic of my new project.

It's a pretty different culture over there. Besides linguists, my current department is full of language teachers and literature specialists.. They also all have huge teaching loads, so everyone is always frantically rushing from one class to another, and it's impossible to schedule social activities.

The other department is full of anthropologists and historians. Anthropologists are weird. They sleep during the day and work at night. They lurk around tearooms and photocopiers taking surreptitious notes about other people. They like seminars and workshops a LOT. They go away to the field for a year at a time and return looking slightly feral, no longer quite in touch with modern society, and smelling faintly of quinine.

The new department has morning and afternoon tea together EVERY DAY. No one teaches. They have weekend retreats in the middle of nowhere. They have secret parties that they don't invite the teaching staff to. (And I just got my first invite to one yesterday). Apart from the PhD students, they are all male. I feel like I am joining some sort of fraternity.

The building my office is in right now is solid and square and conventional. It has windowsills full of parrots, and no air-conditioning. It has one- and two-person offices, depending on one's status. The new building where the "other half" lives is actually three hexagonal three-and-a-half-story buildings connected by random walkways on split half-levels that are only accessible from hidden stairwells. Once inside, no one ever finds their way out again. Staircases move from week to week and sometimes walls spring up in the middle of corridors. The linguists live in two places: the "dungeon" (basement), single-person offices below ground with no windows; and the top level of the building, which has large airy offices that are shared by four to six people apiece. The dungeon is overheated and the upstairs is over-air-conditioned. I wonder where I will be?

Starting April, for the following three years, I get to do nothing but research, all day every day. I have money to go to several conferences a year, including internationally. I can do a whole heap of fieldwork. I can employ a research assistant. My time is my own, and I answer to no one except the funding body, who require annual reports. This degree of freedom makes me kind of dizzy.

I think I will buy a lot of stationery.


Meagan said...

Wow-- that sounds fantastic. Congratulations on such a great gig!

Bardiac said...

Wow! That's going to be wonderful!


The History Enthusiast said...

I am so happy for you! This sounds like a wonderful opportunity and I wish you all the best!

Psycgirl said...

WOW! Congratulations!

Breena Ronan said...

Congrats! You want to do a meme? Tell us Seven Random Things.