January to June
Hello friends. It has been a very long time since I’ve written. I have a tendency to blog while in India and since leaving in January I’ve thought about it many times but I’ve struggled to put together the sentences. It’s a discussion I’ve had with close friends who’ve worked abroad and then returned home. You don’t want to define your life by those trips, but they are transformative experiences. I could write more on the topic but I do think I should move on from India and live in the now. I’ve decided to leave London in the next couple years so the need to enjoy the city is more important than ever. In case you’ve been wondering what I’ve been doing, here is an update.
As always, returning to London and trying to resettle has been challenging. There are the practical issues, like having to wear linens when it is winter out because all your clothes are in storage. Then trying to find a new flat with the hopes that the landlord isn’t a complete nut-job (in my current place I have no lease and pay my rent weekly in an envelope under a locked door). It doesn’t crack the top three weirdest places I’ve lived since I moved here. Finally, there are the relationships, do you start anew or from where you left off before? The distance you feel from your friends and family isn’t simply a geographical one.
Things somehow do work out. I’ve found a nice place for myself in a busy corner of West London. My fieldwork took an interesting turn, thankfully one that my supervisors are happy with. My relationships have strengthened, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel, something I’ve really been wanting to do more of.
In February Ankush and I went to Paris, only a few hours away by train, it seems a shame we don’t go more often. The architecture and urban planning of the city was an absolute delight… as were the desserts. Despite walking and climbing many many stairs (including the first two stories of the Eiffel) we came back with what my friend Anna refers to as the ‘Frenchman 15’. No regrets, those pastries…
Soon it was all over and back to work. Despite pulling some long days there has still been lots of opportunity for fun. We did a mini road trip to Sussex to see Bodiam Castle, attended some great exhibitions, and gone to the theatre twice (The Phantom of the Opera, Book of Mormon).
I also managed another trip, to Istanbul. I went to present my work at a Gender and Migration conference, but also booked enough time to see the city. My mother joined me which was wonderful as we don’t get to spend enough time together and both of us had always wanted to see Istanbul. It seems so strange now looking back on our trip which was only a few weeks ago in light of what is happening now. Taksim Square was empty when we went, now it is at the heart of violent political oppression. I truly hope things calm soon, without any desire to seem flippant these are some of my photos of one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to.
That’s it for now. You can expect to see more content here. I can’t promise it’ll be interesting, most likely the posts to come will be focused on the practical process of writing a doctoral dissertation, but I hope you’ll keep me company.
I’ve just spent four and a half months in Mumbai. I walked on uneven roads, through rubbish and rubble, and while I have fallen before nothing has been quite as bad as the tumble I took last night.
(taken 24 hrs later)
Not even two full days in London and I manage to give myself a head wound. It isn’t a terribly exciting story, my boots caught on each other and I wasn’t able to stop myself with my arms. Other than badly bruised knees, some cuts and scratches to my face and a partially missing eyebrow I’m fine. Went to the hospital to be safe but no apparent concussion.
Something I’ve learned from my older brother is that when you get hurt, it is always better to take some photos and own your injury and clumsiness than to wallow in self pity. I’m trying my best to do that, I’m lucky I didn’t crack my head. That would be a lot worse than putting up with a couple weeks of being called Quasimodo.
*Based on how poorly I breathe through my nose, I think that fall did more damage than I realized at the time. At least the eyebrow grew back?