I’m settled in at Kwale and Aruwa’s house. Our second home in Upiara. The run up to this departure was so exaggeratingly slow, that I’m surprised at how fast the past two days have felt.
Tuesday was my last work day in Limol, and consequently everyone who had ignored my requests for language help in the last two weeks came at the same time to help. I was able to get a few good recordings in and I also recorded some tutorials in Ende for how to use the camera and video cameras. Otherwise I spent the day organizing the corpus for leaving here and finishing some last minute transcriptions.
I spent all day Wednesday packing, giving things away to friends, and organizing what I’m leaving for Catherine as clearly as possible. The men all went hunting and the women went for fish. I went with Wagiba our dog Maya for sago and got my 18th run in a row! Wagiba said some really nice things to me, like how nice my Ende has gotten and how I’m everyone’s daughter in the village. We had a really nice feast. Quite a few people gave thank you speeches which felt good. At least seven mothers brought me a plate of food! Though I had more work to do on the computer, I decided to have one last showing of the Ende movie and Moana for everyone. People really liked it.
This morning was filled with last minute packing, pictures, and goodbyes. It was sadder than usual since I’m not sure when I’ll come back next. Everyone kept telling me all the old people will die while I’m gone, which, obviously, added to the sadness. But it actually felt quite rushed, I walked out of the village and it was hard to tell if my backpack was more full with my few possessions or leaves and flowers slipped in by my friends.
Now I’m in Upiara after an uneventful but very slow canoe ride in the hot sun. I sweated in two layers, a rain coat, and an umbrella but I think I avoided sunburn. I am looking forward to this trip to Daru, as I’m taking Wagiba with me on the plane and I know she will help me get what I need to get done done. Besides the usual shopping for Limol, my top priority is to get some recordings of an Agob speaker - Agob is the last language we need for a full survey of the Pahoturi River language family. I also hope to get a lot of transcribing done and to watch the World Cup final, but that depends on how many people come to visit and the TV channel selection at Tobest. Fingers crossed!
While this is an end to something big - my year here ‘down under’ - I also see it as the beginning of the last year of my PhD, which I am really, really excited to begin. This year will be all about writing, publishing, presenting, applying for jobs, and networking. I’ve got quite a few papers and talks lined up, and I’m excited just to do my best and talk about my work - which is something I still love! Many people experience getting burnt out from their dissertation, so perhaps I’m lucky that I had even more frustrating things to get burnt out on that my relationship with my thesis is still in tact :) hope it lasts through the year!
For now my mind is all on Australia. A few papers, presentations, meetings, and even a movie premiere are all scheduled for the next two weeks. I’m also starting my writing bootcamp, which is four hours of writing every morning, which I hope to keep up throughout the year! Penny is also taking me out for a birthday dinner (!) and Andrey has booked me a day at the spa (!) so I’m looking forward to getting nice and pampered too.