Week One: leavetakings

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#project52 Week 1: Packing

Today M left for the UK after almost three glorious weeks of time together, spent mainly cooking, gaming and talking.

He packed this morning, making a big dent in my bookshelves reclaiming stuff I’d borrowed over the last 12 months. I’m just back from escorting him to the airport and he’s just landed in a wet and rainy Southampton. I am really hoping a dodgy window frame in our living room there has held up against the stormy weather.

Meanwhile in Groningen, I caught myself almost making two cups of tea when I got home, the stars are out and so was the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon.

This next six months is going to be quite tough I think, even more so without him here. But I love my job, and this is how it has to be, for now at least. I just wish it didn’t feel like I was missing my best half.

Week 52: out with the old

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Week 52

Happy New Year, for those that are celebrating and Happy Birthday again to my wonderful Mum. New Year is always a bit of an odd one for me, an intensification of the liminal feelings that come between solstice and the official start of the new year.

We’re going for dinner with friends, then drinks and firework watching.

Whatever you are up to, have fun and be excellent to each other.

Reflecting on 2013

I said this time last year that this was a scary year, and that I was determined to meet it head on. That worked pretty well until the summer, when a combination of things (but mostly looming end of contract nerves) sent me into a bit of a downspiral, where, true to form, I stopped writing and posting pictures and mostly hid under a rock.

I am doing something about it all though. I’m just not going to talk about it too much here. But I do want to show you some of the awesome things that the second half of 2013 held for me, because it wasn’t all bad, not by a very long way.

My last #project52 post was week 35, where I talked a bit about the deep funk I was in, and about failing joyously. So that leaves me 17 weeks to find pictures for, if I have them…

 

Week 36: I went to EAA in Pilsen. Tried to organise a tweet-up and mostly failed, but got to go to some wonderful sessions, tweeted a lot, and had brilliant wide ranging discussions over a number of great dinners with colleagues. I also got to go on a whistle-stop tour of Prague, which was brilliant and I want to go back.

Week 36 - Gargoyles at Prague Castle

Week 36 – Gargoyles at Prague

 

In week 37 my brother came to visit on his way to the UK. We kept a pact made earlier in the year and got matching tattoos…

You Can Never Go Home

Week 37a You Can Never Go Home

You Can Never Go Home

Week 37b You Can Never Go Home

It is both an irreverent reference to Grosse Pointe Blank and to our odd status as nomads…

In Week 38 me and the wonderful Esther mouse-proofed my kitchen so that they didn’t take over and build an empire while I was away on fieldwork:

week 38: None shall pass!

week 38: None shall pass!

Then I ran away on fieldwork, for almost two months. The first week (week 39) we were there I was ill (some sort of Georgian plague from my brother) and did a lot of preparation work and some EM surveys. On the ‘rest day’ we went hiking on the Timpa Cassano:

Week 39: Timpa San Lorenzo from the Timpa Cassano

Week 39: Timpa San Lorenzo from the Timpa Cassano

Week 40 saw a lot of caesium magnetometry in some very ploughed fields:

 

Week 40- ploughed fields and moody skies

Week 40- ploughed fields and moody skies

Week 41 saw colleagues from the BSR arrive to employ some techniques and expertise I don’t have myself!

Week 41: ERT with the BSR to investigate archaeology in lynchets

Week 41: ERT with the BSR to investigate archaeology in lynchets

By week 42 they had departed for another project on Sicily and me and my colleagues carried on with data collection in the foothills… some ceramic surveys, some geophysics and a trip to Matera!

Week 42: Matera, Sassi in the foreground, neolithic caves on the other side of the gorge

Week 42: Matera, Sassi in the foreground, neolithic caves on the other side of the gorge

 

In week 43 the whole team moved up into the mountains to continue our work. Matt celebrated his birthday without me in the UK, while I climbed a mountain on our ‘rest day’

Week 43: Top of the Falconara

Week 43: Top of the Falconara

 The tail end of week 44 saw me head to Rome to guest-lecture at the KNIR, a real privilege, and a lot of fun. I also got to go and visit the Via Appia, a first for me! I then headed back to the Netherlands.

Week 44: yours truly on the Via Appia, looking oddly foreshortened

Week 44: yours truly on the Via Appia, looking oddly foreshortened

Week 45 was a lot of frantic prep at work before heading to the UK in week 46, but I did find time to go and listen to cool music with Esther & Arno 🙂

Week 45: Folk music with Esther and Arno

Week 45: Folk music with Esther and Arno

Week 46 involved a trip to the UK, and my usual November weekend in a Castle playing silly games. This (of course) meant the hair needed to be rendered ‘interesting’ again, now fieldwork was over for the year:

Week 47: a return to winter plumage

Week 46: a return to winter plumage

 

Week 47 saw me still in the UK. Amongst other things, Matt and I went to Leavsden studios to see the Harry Potter exhibition. I would highly recommend it!

Week 47: Tig and Lola have a potions lesson

Week 47: Tig and Lola have a potions lesson

Week 48 involved a lot of running around, including a trip to Amsterdam, where I indulged my apple pie addiction:

Week 48: PIE!

Week 48: PIE!

Weeks 49 and 50 sadly don’t have pictures. It was too dark, cold and nasty to feel like doing much. In week 51, my beloved M arrived and so I got the Christmas tree ready:

Christmas tree with baleful dragon (scarf)

Christmas tree with baleful dragon (scarf)

Since then we have been mostly hanging out, baking, playing board games and making all of our new lego. There are still a couple of days to go before the end of week 52, so I’ll leave it there for now. I might try to have a hunt for pictures from weeks 49 and 50 – there might be some lurking that I have forgotten about.

So, be excellent to each other & have a great New Year.

Writing this post has made me realise I’ve not uploaded any of the autumn fieldwork pictures to Flickr yet, so I am off to set that going while Matt and I play board games x x

 

 

Catching up…

.. on the #project52 pictures for the last month. I didn’t just hide under a rock! I went to Italy (via Austria and Germany), and to Scotland, and then to Southampton, with some time for some work in between! Here are the pictures 🙂

One of the nicest things about my job is that I get to travel a lot, and see some beautiful places just because they are on the way to or from somewhere else. On our way back from Lazio, we stopped in a little German town with some gorgeous buildings:

Serendipity: Week 31

Serendipity: Week 31

 

I was in the Netherlands for less than a week, and then I headed to the UK, or rather the west coast of Scotland for my cousins wedding. It was great to see so much of my family, some of whom I’d never met! On our last day we took the scenic route back to the airport, and me and Dad clambered around on the shore of the Atlantic.

Scotland, my soul-home. Week 32

Scotland, my soul-home. Week 32

 

I had another week or so here in NL, with wonderful weather and a theatre festival in my back garden:

Pretty art-deco theatre tents at Noorderzon. Week 33

Pretty art-deco theatre tents at Noorderzon. Week 33

Then I ran away to the UK for a long weekend. This next picture is a bit of a cheat, as I took it this Monday, which was a holiday in the UK. But it felt like last week, like part of the weekend. This week has been really long- I can’t believe I was with Matt in the UK this time 7 days ago.  I went to a beautiful lake with my boss for his birthday, which co-incided with a city-wide holiday. It’s screwed up my sense of the weeks a bit as it felt like a weekend all over again! So, here is some bread me and Matt made, technically at the start of this week, but it felt like last week 🙂

Bread, comfort and home. Week 34.

Bread, comfort and home. Week 34.

Phew! That was a lot. I’ll try not to fall off the world for a month again.

Everything louder than everything else

Been away for a while, physically and metaphorically.

Went to Lazio, did some geophysics and found some cool things. Came back and found everything a bit much. The same feeling as the final year of my PhD: stoptheworldiwanttogetoff. Too many things to worry about, so many decisions to make that even deciding what to wear or eat takes too much mental energy.

I went to Scotland for my cousins’ wedding. It was wonderful and warm and perfect. They had a humanist ceremony and I wanted to talk about the idea of ritual without religion, how I think we need rituals, even if we don’t need Gods. But I couldn’t find the words. I have been home to see my beloved M and had a wonderful selfish weekend with him. But I’m still a bit wonky, still not writing my diary, still finding words hard to come by.

I don’t like to talk about that stuff here, so I’ve been avoiding you all. Sorry.

But being an ostrich doesn’t work forever. On friday we had our annual work outing- the first one I have been able to go to. We played silly team games in the morning and then something called footgolf in the afternoon. I knew I would be bad at it, and so for once I let go and had fun, gloriously failing. I was the worst player by a long way, and embracing that made me really happy. I even got a medal, for all of 5 minutes, before I had to give it up to the real winner. Perhaps there is something to be learned? Dad says I need to do all the scary things ‘flippantly’; like they don’t really matter. Like no-one really cares how awful you are at kicking a ball into a plastic hoop…

Failing joyously #project52 week 35

Failing joyously #project52 week 35

Escape to the country

#project52 Week 28

Categorically a good idea 🙂 #freshair #sunshine #nature #workgettingdone

Originally uploaded by girlwithtrowel.

Took myself off to a lake near the city today. I was a good plan- I only took work with me, so besides listen to nature that was the only thing to do. I edited something that’s been looming over me and made a huge plan for what I’m going to do from now until the middle of September. I also got a chunk of reading done, and sunburn. Yep, that’s right. It barely cracked 20 degrees today and I have crispy shoulders…

Running to stand still

I’ve been lax with the project 52 posts again. It’s been a busy few weeks and in my defence I was either in the UK, or had houseguests for much of the time elapsed since my last (somewhat growly) post… therefore, my two missing posts (weeks 26 & 27) are snippets of what I have been up to!

So, week 26- I left for the UK on the Wednesday lunchtime and had a couple of days with Matt, in which Adventures were had, went to a wedding, celebrated an engagement, saw my folks and played some silly games. On the Friday M and I went to London for said Adventure – we went to the British Museum, but didn’t manage to get in to see Herculaneum and Pompeii, so we wandered around some bits of the museum we missed on our last visit in February, then walked (!) over to London Zoo, via Regent’s Park, to attend ‘Zoo Lates‘ – this was a lot of fun and as you may have seen on twitter, I learned a lot about aardvarks and got a little over excited by the sloths. I only took one picture though, as Matt took his decent camera along and I left documenting the trip down to him. He had great fun before we even got to the zoo, trying to get pictures of the almost tame squirrels in the park.

#project52 Week 26 Park!

#project52 Week 26 Park!

 

When I came back to the Netherlands last Thursday I brought Cas and Cat with me, and they went home on Tuesday (via awesome pie in Amsterdam). Having two of my favourite women here with me for almost a week was such a treat. We talked about books, and men, and politics, and life as our particular generation. It was particularly interesting to me to see the city through their eyes. Cat is a keen photographer and she looks at buildings and landscapes in ways that I don’t. I think the pictures she took on the trip are stunning. Cas is a writer and inquisitive by nature, especially about people and how they work. She asked me so many good questions, about what life here is like, and how it is different from home. More than anything, it was good to spend a few days with people who know me inside out, and who have devoured the same books as me…. When we get together, Matt swears it is like trying to decipher code as we pull references from authors we love to explain how we feel, or how we see a situation. They are my coven, and I love them.

#project25 Week 27 Cat & Kriek

#project25 Week 27 Cat & Kriek

I went back to work yesterday and spent all of it reading documents that had come in for my edits while I was away, and getting on top of my email. Today I had a ‘supervision’ meeting with a student doing his BA thesis partly with me, then had an afternoon of dealing with Scary Things ™ – like the Student Loans Company, and pressing for feedback on an article I am writing, then cracked on with a report. I met the lovely Vere after work for a catch-up and then came home and decided I had used up all of my bravery for the day, so no more scary things tonight. Once this is posted, I’m going to curl up with a book, and get an early night. My holiday was lovely, but now I need to focus hard on getting some things off of the ‘to do’ list before I leave for fieldwork in twelve days!

repeat after me:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

So. Here is the way through: Breathe. Run (tomorrow after work). Plan: fear of the unknown is more than half of the problem, and a good deal of what is left is due to the chaos created by not having a plan. Eat well, sleep well and remember how in love you are with where you live and what you do. That should do it. Right?