Packing up and moving house is always a chore, it’s also always a bit sad – but it’s a different kind of sadness that’s not easy to explain, perhaps more a reflection on the past year and the people I’ve met. But it’s the best excuse to do some cleaning and re-purposing of things I don’t need. So really, I actually appreciate it.
So I’ll be headed off first to a friend’s wedding and then finally to Fiji to (hopefully) get back to my fieldwork. I say hopefully since I am still waiting for my visa to be reapproved. BUT I need to throw a big shout out though to Sarah Pene and Siteri Tikoca who so graciously agreed to help me lodge my permit with the Immigration Department. Actually this research wouldn’t be possible without a whole slew of people supporting me every day and backing up my research. This won’t be the post where I list everyone though, but I will post at some point.
So back to packing up… People often ask me, how can you afford to travel, or what do you do with all your stuff, and you must miss your family, or… yeah, no that’s actually it. Answer is, as a PhD student, and especially one living alone, you are traveling because of your research and because you love your job and the people you work with, not necessarily because you have personal resources to do so. You don’t typically have as much ‘stuff’ as maybe your peers have accumulated, again out of lack of finances and because generally it gets given away every year or so (or my amazing friends and mentors offer to store some it for me). And yes, of course I miss my family and friends, they are often the only ones who keep me going, but I make trips to see them whenever I can and make sure that I don’t miss any important life events (like weddings!). So in truth, these are often not really questions that cross my mind. The real questions that cross my mind as I get ready to leave are:
What can I present back data-wise to the people I have been working with that will be interesting and useful for them?
Are the communities able to receive me when I come back (i.e. have there been any recent natural disasters that are effecting communities)
Have I fulfilled all my legal obligations and sent in all the reports to the Ministries that support my work?
Have I said goodbye and thank you to my friends and family here!?
So this week will consist of packing and giving away my stuff, next two weeks will be family and friends time, and then off to Fiji for more work AND catching up with friends and family there.
Last, as a very quick aside, some of you may have noticed the eruptions happening on Big Island (Hawaiʻi Island). If you can please take a look at ways you can help the Hawaiʻi residents and community. My friend and labmate who lives on Big Island recommends the Food Basket for East Hawaiʻi.