Thursday, 24 June 2010

carpe diem

24 june 2010

I worked all day completing the plan for the course. There are still many things to do, from photocopies to designing questionnaires and getting the final version to course plan and other things. It was a productive day and I feel tired but very much knowing what to do and how to go about this. This is very comforting. The feeling of familiarity with my study, the readings, the decisions I have to make about the course, they are all so important. I love it when I have the sessions with Ros, like we did have one yesterday, and I present my understandings and my work to her and she agrees and helps me out keep the focus and in the right track. It is fantastic. I am in love with my research study.

Of course, at the end of the day, about 6pm, Rob (British), Mariko (Japanese), Diana (Rumanian), and I were headed to a pub and enjoyed the warm sunshine of the day. It was The Stag’s head, the pub right there on the highfield campus. We had clear plans, as stated before, to go as cheap as possible. Diana and I ordered a pint of cider each. The bartender offered some options but our answer was: the cheapest one, please. The cider was cheap and nice. Mariko and Rob had cider too, but of the more expensive brand. LOL.

We had a great chat until sometime after 11pm. We sat outside, enjoying the breeze, drinking our ciders, and talking about so many interesting things. I really love to spend time with people who have stories to tell and are happy to share them. Rob has just been to Asia: China, Thailand and Taiwan, on a field trip for his research study. Mariko got back from her trip to Southeast Asia, also data collection for her research, somewhere in February. She went to China, South Korea, and Japan. Diana has been to many places: Israel, Amsterdam, Berlin, and last week she interviewed somebody in London, all of these are field work trips. I went to Brazil for four weeks in December (data collection) and also visited Prague, Vienna, and Budapest this past Easter break. These experiences leave loaded with impressions and stories to tell. The nice thing is that we have an open, peculiar eye to differences we encounter in the different places we visit. So we talked about isolated events and then our impressions and how we managed unpredicted situations in a foreign land. It was wonderful talk!!! I didn’t know Rob could get so funny and be such an open young man. If I need to say one word to summarize the focus of our interest in the conversation among these different places and peoples it can be ‘identity’, concerning language and culture.

Besides the cider, we had pizzas. We buy two pizzas for £4.50, which is really a good deal. When we had one last slice of pizza, it was sitting there for a while until we started asking ‘who’s going to eat it?’ everyone said ‘you have it’, ‘go ahead, have it’. Then we talked about this situation in our cultures. I explained to them that in Brazil when we have one last slice or piece of food on the table, called ‘the piece of shame’, there is a joke that we should switch off the light so that we feel fine to go for the piece of food. The problem is that some people go with hands and some with their fork (guns) and when the light is switched back on, well. We bursted into laughter. It was really very funny. Mariko said that in Japan, in Tokyo the piece will always go to the bin, as no one is impolite enough to get it. People are very polite in Japan normally. However, in Osaka yes, someone would have the piece. What we did? We called Rob ‘the Osaka man’ and said he should have the piece, which is how our pizza was finished.

Because we get two pizzas it is common that it is too much if people are not hungry. Well, in a nearby table there were three students also drinking something and having pizza. We didn’t even realize when they left. Diana and Mariko decided to go to the loo. As soon as they stood up we had the vision of untouched three slices of pizza in the next table folks’ tray. Their leftover looked like a whole half of a pizza, baked and ready to be eaten, of the type that makes us feel sorry it we don’t do so. Once again we all bursted into laughter. Inspired Rob said ‘osaka’, which was rightly understood and agreed upon by us: we, we should grab the bounty and have the feast. It was a highlight in the night. Diana got the pizza and brought to our table. It was really quick because it was the next table. Then she decided to put the tray back there and keep only the pizza in our tray. Smart one! The girls went to the loo and Ron and I treated ourselves to the slices of pizza.

It is summer now but it still gets a little chilly in the night sometimes. I put on my coat and we all left sometime after 11pm.

Carpe diem, Kassandra.

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