Going native

The other day my supervisor (who did her honours in anthropology) asked me how it is going at the moment. At the end of the conversation she jokingly reminded me not to ‘go native’. Warnings against going native were rather big in old-school anthropology, but I wonder what that would even look like in my project. After all, I am spending most of my time in quite a nice suburb with friendly people active in community groups. Perhaps a bit of a self-audit is in order.

 

I am drinking less alcohol

At first this was because I simply was not getting the opportunity to drink much, but now I rarely feel like a drink.

 

I am doing things slower

This is not me saying that the people I am spending time with are slow. I tend to do multiple things at once and rush to get tasks done. While this is a great skill to have at work, it is not a particularly social way to do things when you are in a volunteer setting. The first few weeks I spent with groups I was perhaps too focused on being useful, which was not helpful; they had enough people there to get the job done before I arrived and will have enough people there when they leave. This new, slower pace does not shut off when I get back home, which might not be a bad thing because I seem to be less clumsy when I do not rush.

 

I do not mind the ‘real world’

The first few days I spent meeting with people to set up various things for my project were overwhelming after a few solid months of reading, writing, more reading, and the odd seminar. Now I cannot imagine having to find the self discipline to even sit down to write some notes on the books I borrowed from the library over a month ago. There is a slight risk that I will find something in suburb-life that makes living such a life much more enticing than asking questions and writing about such a life. Public lectures and seminar series do not seem that enticing and most weeks I do not even notice I have not had a single conversation about ‘ideas’.

 

Alright, the last point is a bit of an exaggeration. I do not mind the coffee drinking, weeding and dinners that happen in the real world, but I am not so sure I am keen to go back to a full time real world job. So perhaps there is hope for me finishing yet (or at least not quitting until my scholarship is up).

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