Thursday, February 24, 2011


The fellowship situation has become unbloggable, but I will say that discovering that you've been manipulated to appease someone else's conscience, with no regard for your own views, expertise, and opinion, sucks.  Especially when it ends your research and comes packaged with patronizing sexism, and you have nothing but time on your hands to write angry emails.

On the brighter side, I'm finally pursuing medical advice about my achilles tendon, and it appears that my parents live a mere two hours from leading experts.  So hopefully the end of my research will also mean the end of my achilles issues, and sooner rather than later.  Hopefully the experts will have something to say other than surgery and no more dancing.

I'm trying very hard to be optimistic about my current situation, and the opportunities that it could give me. It's just so difficult.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Khawatir 3ashwa2iya

1) The conference I was lucky enough to attend was one of the best I've ever been to, despite (or maybe because?) it was a grad student conference.  I got to see lots of old friends, and make new ones.  I was able to reflect on two things to which I devote a lot of unresolved wondering: the tension between my discipline and geographic area and my love/hate relationship with literary studies.  At some point, when I can tear myself away from following the revolutions, perhaps I will write on these topics.  

2) During the career workshop, many pointed out that our career opportunities, regardless of our discipline, were likely to be based on our ability to teach languages, particularly loghatleba7th.  This is something I was smart enough to realize before starting grad school and have thus pursued in spite of my department being less than supportive.  It is also something I have complained to my department about constantly, and now I feel vindicated.

3) I've started a series of murder mysteries that takes place in my home state.  Randomly, the one I started on the plane home from the conference takes place in the city the conference was held in.  SuDfa!

4) Due to a lifetime of reading and side stories (yet another topic for a future post) I got distracted by my current mystery and left my carryon suitcase at the airport Starbucks, realizing it only when boarding for my next flight started.  Luckily, I had time to sprint back to the Starbucks and back again, and my suitcase was still there, and I made the flight.  For assorted reasons, I often end up sprinting through airports, and I always think I should take up running to make it easier  on myself.  Of course, I don't like running.  It is also bad for my achilles (and this is in fact the second or third airport sprinting session that has reinjured it).  So I'm not inclined to waste precious achilles energy on something I dislike, even if it would be useful for my airport sprinting sessions.  

5) Although my fellowship coordinator was not on vacation last week, she still did not see fit to reply to my emails, and today is a holiday.  I also know that she did not reply to other fellows who asked questions.  A. yakhrab beytha!

6) Meanwhile, there is truly appalling news to catch up on, although I can't help hoping for the best as I recoil at the worst.  Rabbina yus6or.  

Monday, February 14, 2011


Returning home from baladelba7th is always disorienting.  I'm overwhelmed by the number of choices in the supermarket, not to mention the existence of a pet store, and unnerved by the silence, the expansive fields, the spaces between buildings, the fact that I can buy whatever alcohol I want, anytime.  This time, because my exit was so sudden, so unplanned, it's worse.  Plus, baladelba7th is still on the front page of every newspaper, and I'm still worried about my friends there, and glued to regular and social media in a way that I never ever am.

On the one hand, I want to get excited about the things I can do here, like online shopping and folk dancing (the season starts in two weeks).  On the other hand, I wake up every day surprised to find myself here, and wish I was back in baladelba7th.  I miss loghatelba7th.  Everything here looks funny.    Worst of all is the uncertainty.  I should have started Phase 4 in full today, and I didn't, and now it's slipping away from me.  I don't know when I will be allowed to return, and the fellowship coordinator went on vacation last week*.  So I'm waiting, but given the panic and total lack of understanding of baladelba7th by the government, it's not promising.  Of course, I will also get to attend an upcoming conference that features rocking social events with all of my friends that I was originally going to Skype present at and then hear later all of the happy hour fun I missed.

So there are ups and downs, but I don't know what to pick.  If I get excited I'm here, I could be going back soon, and then I'll miss folk dancing again.  If I spend all my time missing baladelba7th, I'll be miserable here.  Mostly though, I'm just frustrated that my fellowship isn't letting me control my own life, and I don't have the guts to say screw you fellowship, I'm going back and I'll make my own decisions.  Because then I'd lose the money.  Which I can't get anyway because I can't use it outside of baladelba7th.  But I might be able to get it if they let me go back.  But I might not be able to.   Grrr.

*Yes, I'm sure she had it planned before this happened.  But seriously who goes on vacation when a program they are responsible for administering is forced to evacuate?!

Friday, February 11, 2011


When I was in middle school, my history teacher told us that there would be historical moments in our lives that were so important we would remember the exact place we were sitting, and exactly what we were doing.  I wondered what these moments would be for me, what could be so important.

The first one for me was September 11, 2001.  I was sitting in my friend's apartment in baladelba7th learning the local version of loghatelba7th, when he rushed in to say that a plane was hitting the twin towers on TV.

The second one was today.  I was sitting in my parents' house transcribing my dissertation research when my mother rushed in to say that her friend had called to tell her the president resigned.

I seem to have my countries confused in terms of location.  I don't know what will happen next for my dear baladelba7th, but for now I'm out to purchase the alcoholic ingredients for karkadee margaritas, to go with the karkadee I stuck in my bag leaving baladleba7th.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Heading Out

My neighborhood has stabilized.  Shops are opening, people are going about their business as normal, at least until curfew time (which is ridiculously early for baladelba7th, as this is not a country that sleeps at 7pm. Or 12 am.  Or ever).  There are no looters, no protests near me.  It looks nothing like TV, or Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube.

Nevertheless, my husband and I are leaving tomorrow.  This is not our choice.  Rather, my funding comes in a roundabout way from my government.  They informed me that if I stayed, they would end my funding.  If I leave, I keep my funding, but I can't actually use it outside of baladelba7th, so I've suddenly just lost all my funding, until I can come back or the summer semester starts.  I think my funding organization is hoping that things will settle down and we can return.  This is all well and good if you work in an archive I suppose, where your papers will just sit in wait for you.  However, my research is time-sensitive--if I can't start certain procedures next week, there's no point in pursuing Phase 4 farther at all.  If I can be back here next week, what's the point in making me leave at all? Not that we could come back next week, no matter what happens, since I'm pretty sure my funding will make us wait at least a month.

Then don't even get me started on the hypocrisy of my government, which is so concerned about me that I must leave, but apparently doesn't give a rat's ass for the people in baladelba7th who are actually suffering, and actually in danger, and risking their lives to help each other.  When I think about his, I want to simultaneously vomit and/or break/punch something.  Preferably the administration.

So the long and short of it is that we are now without funds and must go live with my parents until further notice or June, when I can get university funding again.  My parents will be thrilled, and I generally do not mind living with them, although I haven't lived with them for this long since I was in high school.  My husband for some reason actually wants to go live with my parents.  Our social life will be zero, because the few friends I did have in high school no longer live in the area.  Actually, almost no one from my high school still lives in the area since there's not much to do there.  But I digress.

Then there is my research, which was supposed to have four Phases completed in two years.  Originally my committee was skeptical of this two year plan, thinking I could accomplish everything in one year.  Hah! In fact, only Phases 2 and 3 were actually completed, as Phase 1 got disrupted by swine flu (remember that?) and Phase 4 has been ended by the revolution.  The good news is that I can write a dissertation with what I have.  It won't be the best, but it will work.  Plus, how many people get to work swine flu and a revolution into their dissertations?

Which then leads to the question: what next? If I can't do research, is it worth the hassle of coming back here if I can just to get money? Or should I just continue transcribing/start writing at my parents' house? Or should I calculate how long my savings will last in my university town and try to move back there so I can do the folk dancing I miss here? Meanwhile,  my husband will be applying for jobs, and if he gets one that will lead to a whole new set of questions, since wherever it is, it will not be near my university or my parents.

When I started this blog I was completely stressed out about the uncertainty of my life because it was difficult to schedule things with my participants.  Now, that uncertainty pales in comparison to this!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The internet came back yesterday, but to be honest I don't have the heart to post on this blog or read other academic blogs at the moment.  I can't read about snow days and grading when my beloved baladelba7th is  suffering so and I'm fighting the tears and bile rising within me at the atrocities committed here every minute.   I am safe, but the people I love are not.  Rabbina yustor.