Today at lunch one of the grad students looked over at me out of the blue and said, "You are very independent". I had to laugh. It is true, but that independence has also been the source of some of my frustration here, as I am so used to being able to do my own thing, on my own schedule, as far as fieldwork is concerned, but here I have to exercise patience and just slow everything down a bit. Also, I have had to learn to accept the help that people offer. I am used to working alone, and often at the start of a new piece of the project I prefer to work alone so that I can have the luxury of mulling things over as I go along, and tweaking things a bit until I figure out just the right way to do things. It is hard to be slow and methodical when there is someone standing there waiting for instructions. However, this is not a good long-term plan, as some work is just so much faster with two sets of hands, and some of the people who have come out to help me have had good insights into my methods. Additionally, the students here are anxious to learn about how I do what I do, to compare it to their methods, and even more excited to practice their oral english. Plus, I like working with them, they are great. I just prefer to do it once I have everything figured out.
I did some fieldwork this morning, but it wore me out completely. I passed out cold for 2 hrs after lunch, so I took this afternoon to do some desk work & plan out the next phase of my work here. I really need another good experimental design chat with someone, but everyone is really busy right now, so I'm plodding through it on my own. I know that I will have to tweak things a little once I get back out there, but at least I have a better idea of where I want to start.
Sometimes I am anxious that I will get back and my committee will look at what I accomplished this summer and say "That's it?! Two months and this is all you could do?!" But I am trying to move past those thoughts and remember that this experience is about more than data (although the data are important too, for sure).
The next big hurdle will be to actually get my hands on the equipment that I need. There are around 15 grad students here right now, and everyone is vying for limited equipment. By this point in time I have learned that I cannot just expect to be able to work on a particular day. I have about 2 weeks to finish up... cross your fingers!