June 3, 2009

My friend Abbie is in Mali again, doing linguistic fieldwork in a Dogon village.  She keeps an online journal— I love reading it because she’s quite a good writer and captures many details of this life that is so different from mine here in the U.S. Midwest.  At one time I had wanted to do fieldwork– then I got to know my own nature a bit better, and separate who I would like to be from who I actually am.  When I get into unfamiliar situations, I clam up and shut down– I can’t help it, it’s a reflex, not something that I can choose to do differently and overcome.   I don’t adapt well to new people, I don’t know what to say or do.  Needless to say, this is not a successful mode of operation for a fieldworker who depends on good, frequent, culturally appropriate interactions with local people to succeed and live well in their second home.  But anyway, Abbie’s journal allows me to see things through her eyes, if only in brief glimpses.  If you’re interested in other cultures, travel, Mali, linguistics, the realities of fieldwork, do give it a read.


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