Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Comeback Post

It's been ages since I last posted, and this blog has more or less died since I came back to Kuwait last summer. But today I checked my blog Email for the first time in months and found a handful of Emails from old readers/commentators and one or two comments that I hadn't posted. So I looked through my blog again and realized that I actually miss posting every now and then. The problem is, I simply don't have the time to post these days. My days are spent conducting my doctoral fieldwork in the mornings and afternoons, and then when I get home in the evenings I usually write or spend time with my P (who is usually equally busy). The research part includes constant reading, regular meetings, the perusal of mountains of documents, non-stop note-taking, as well as my fieldwork journal which I keep to document my day-to-day experiences while conducting research. In terms of writing, at the moment I am editing/fine-tuning three specific papers for different purposes, as well as getting down random dissertation thoughts and mini-"sections". In between that I'm trying (not tremendously successfully) to go to the gym, and every now and then there is a worthwhile event going on around town that gets me to leave my flat and actually engage in some non-fieldwork human interaction (art exhibitions, dinners at Edo, gatherings at friends' places, weekend morning brunches by the sea, desert treks). But these are quite few and far between!

But there is something else that I do quite regularly as well. At least once every two or three days I find myself going out on an excursion to explore more and more of Kuwait. Sometimes I'll drive around and discover new hidden sites by car, but more often I prefer to explore by foot (which is becoming less doable now that it is practically summer). The wonderful places and things I discover in the nooks and crannies of this country are what keep me sane. My private adventures around Kuwait (sometimes accompanied by my P when he finishes work in the evening or on weekends) make me feel so happy and so sad at the same time. They provide me with a tremendous sense of purpose, and an inexplicable sense of loss. I guess that explains in a nutshell everything I've been feeling about Kuwait over the past nine months since I've been back.

I did get a break from my fieldwork routine a couple of weeks ago. First I went to California for a conference for five days, which was an amazing trip on many levels (not least because the exact area I was in was once home to me but I hadn't been back there since 1996). Then on my way back I stopped in London for a couple of days to do a bit of research, meet with my supervisor, and see some friends. It was great being back and it felt like I hadn't left. I've really missed London and I just loved walking down the street in the rain with my iPod on, going about my normal routine. I can't wait to move back in a few more months.

I thought I'd end this comeback post with a few pictures. I just love the mix of places my research takes me to. All of the photos below were taken within the span of ten days.

19 April 2008: Newport Beach, California on a beautifully sunny but brisk day. The icy blue Pacific was chock full of sail boats.

23 April 2008: Greenwich, UK on a chilly and rainy day when the sun suddenly appeared out of nowhere and made the wet green grass sparkle magically.

30 April 2008: Bneid Algar, Kuwait in the midst of an orange sandstorm like none I've ever seen. The first photo was taken from the parking lot of the building I was about to enter, before the storm hit that precise spot. In the minute it took me to ride the elevator up to the 7th floor the storm blew right past us.