Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm leaving. No, really!

So everything is pretty much organised, I have the few little things that always get forgotten to sort out and pick up and pack (oh yes, I haven't packed yet!), but I'm on track to leave early tomorrow morning for two months of solitude. I'm not sure if I'm really all that happy about it, but I've finally lost the feeling of dread that I felt every time I thought about fieldwork. I think it's because I went and bought traps yesterday - which is usually the last thing I do before I leave.

I got a new DVD drive yesterday, it has light-scribe which is super-cool! Now I just have to find compatible DVDs... so I can back-up my work while I'm away, as well as watching movies on rainy days. Seriously, HOW did people do fieldwork before laptops and Ipods? If it wasn't for my internet connection and DVD collection I think I would die out there! And before cellphones? Mxit? I will have to ask an old scientist. Maybe my supervisor has forgiven me for laughing at his Frisbee-themed desktop background...

I had dinner with Jo on Wednesday, which was nice (pizza!) - I'm going to be back in the gramadoelas soon where I go shopping every 10-14 days, so junk food is pretty much out of the question. Well we have a snack shelf in the cupboard, but take-out isn't really feasible. The scary thing is that I don't miss it at all! I miss Thai food. I'll have to see if there's a Thai place in Nelspruit.

Everything is so hectic - the last day in 'civilization' usually is, I suddenly realise everything I need to do. Fortunately Nelspruit (the nearest town, except for Kaapmuiden which scares me) is pretty big and I can buy anything I forget to take/find out I need later. but now is the frantic rushing around to say goodbye to everyone and make sure that I've RSVP-ed a 'no' wherever necessary and try to spend time with the people I'm going to miss without offending other people by overlooking them.

I remember last year, when I spent 3 months or so on fieldwork I came home twice - the first time was for a meeting, and I have two nights at home. I barely blinked the whole time as I rushed from place to place and besides having my meeting and organising everything and updating my supervisor (I'm really not very good at sending updates when I'm out there) I managed to see most of my close friends, do all my laundry, have a games evening... and by the end I was so totally exhausted I was in slow-motion when I got back to the farm! I was also completely miserable at home because I'd got used to the quiet of being in the middle of nowhere, and the traffic and noise and pollution gave me a blinding headache. At the same time, the giggling at games, and the time that I spent with people I had missed, gave me memories to hold on to when I went back.

The second time I went home was for one day. I had to bring a vehicle back and take another one, so I got home one night (gave my family a huge fright when I walked in for the first time in over a month!) stayed for the following day and left the morning after that. And that time I hadn't told anyone that I was coming home, so I ended up spending time with the people I ran into rather than planning to see everyone. Nobody was offended, as I hadn't planned the trip and I didn't have time to organise anything before I left, and I ended up having a lovely, relaxing day with people I care about. And it gave me the strength I needed to go back and finish up.

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I left for my first big field-trip. and I can't believe that it feels more like going home than leaving.

And I'm going to miss everyone like crazy! When I get back, a lot of the students who were in my class the whole way through will have finished their masters and left. And I'm so sad that I won't be here to see the end of their studies.

I can't really focus now, so I'm going to go and check that I packed all of the right equipment!


SuvvyGirl said...

Well I hope you enjoy your field trip. Look forward to hearing about it when you're able to write.