Foreword: the first few paragraphs, I let my fears and doubts run wild. If you would like to skip to the happy, sunshiney parts, skip to the paragraph with "positive note" in the first line.
My nerves feel like they are literally on fire. I am incredibly jumpy, fidgety, and freaking out. Don't get me wrong, I am a seasoned world traveler (although I think I always get a little nervy when heading out to a new CONTINENT!), but field research is the most terrifying thing in the world right now. Especially field research where you only have a minimal grasp of the language, no knowledge of the people I will be working with, and only a vague idea of what the research is all about. I mean, seriously.
However, on a more positive note. I am starting out my big fancy trip to Peru with a bang! I'm going to Machu Picchu this weekend. How many people can say that? Well, approximately 2500 per day, according to the guidebooks. But, how many people that I know can say that??? not many. just Gaby, my friend from school, who will also be traveling to Machu Picchu this weekend. But other than that, no one!! Whooooooo!!!
Then, I will be spending a week immersed in Spanish. Literally. I will be staying with a family in Cusco who will only speak Spanish with me. I will have 8 hr a day classes of non-stop Spanish. Well, not NON-stop. We'll have lunch, but I'm sure we'll speak Spanish while eating.
This will be followed by another week of less intense Spanish, with only 4 hours a day of class and afternoons of museums. Oh, and this week will have a day of no class because it will be the festival of Inti Raymi!! WHOOOOO!!!!! This local Incan festival is the second largest festival in South America. Cusco shuts down completely with parades and special food and utter craziness. I love it!!! I am ridiculously excited for Cusco. I do want to point that out to everyone, especially parents that read the eariler, spoiled brat part of the blog. I'm excited about the country, learning Spanish, seeing MACHU PICCHU!!!!, going to this festival, seeing Peru, and everything else except the research part. However, as my wonderful, magnificent professor Marie Cieri says, "Doing research is like jumping off a cliff. You're terrified of it, and you just don't want to, but the very best thing you can do is jump anyways." Well, that's not a direct quote, but you get the idea.
As long as I'm plugging professors, Kendra, one of my advisers has been an absolute life-saver with this Peru trip. She has helped me out tremendously with the dreaded fun-sucking IRB of doom! She has also been very supportive and talked me off of cliffs of non-research sorts. She's awesome. I really wish that she were going, but she's pregnant, even if it were her project. She could be having a baby on the negative one anniversary with Sandip. (Yes, while I am in Peru, it will be 1 year until we get married. This is why I was trying to get things together ahead of time, because we will have less than 11 mths and a thesis to write after I get back. No matter how much I explained this to people, everyone was like, but why are you doing it now? I would like to point out that this is like asking, "why don't you want to do everything last minute?" and that's a really dumb question.) So, anyways, Kendra = Awesome.
That's not to say my other adviser, the one who is actually bringing me on this trip and paying for stuff isn't awesome, because he is. Very nice guy. Believes altitude sickness is only in your head, like all insanely health people believe about something they don't suffer from, but I won't hold that against him unless I die of altitude sickness. Let's face it now, my healthiness track record is against me- I will probably get sicker than he does with the altitude. Here me now, world, I will haunt OSU if I die on this trip. Specific people may also be included, like if I die of altitude sickness, but just in general. I will, however, pick somewhere cooler than the bathroom to haunt. perhaps the grad lab. I could totally haunt that. I'd live in the scanner or something. Oooh, or the printer, so I could go haunt Jim or Jens when it runs out of paper or ink. maybe they'd replace things more quickly.
Anyways, the moral of the story is that I am very excited but also very nervous about my trip. I will probably laugh at all of this afterwards, but that is still a long way off. Nerves aside, though, tomorrow, I begin to jump off the cliff of research. Well, maybe the first in the series of cliffs? Like the Indiana Jones movie IN Peru- 3 cliffs- Lima, Cusco, then Huaraz!!! Hurray for me working Indiana into this post.
I love you all very much and I'm going to miss you like crazy!!! Please feel free to e-mail me anytime. I can't promise long intricate responses, but I will do my best to send you something! Have a good summer, everyone!