My time in China is coming to an end; I have one week left. This is both exciting and terrifying.

Exciting because I'll be going home! I can tell that I am beginning the mental transition out of here because I have started reading the backlog of recipes in my blogroll. Ok, yes, this is partly a case of severe procrastination (see below re: data entry!) but also means I am thinking about being home.

Terrifying because it means this is it. I leave the field station in 2.5 days and head back to Beijing for final meetings and final reports. So, no more data collection. The next two days will be tying up loose ends and packing everything up for transport to the various places that samples are going, and entering all of my data onto the computer and backing it up fifty times on the off chance that my field notebook spontaneously combusts, or i accidentally drop it down the loo hole on the train, or a pickpocket takes my laptop, or any of the other totally plausible scenarios running around in my brain.

Did I "finish my work?" Everyone keeps asking me this question. The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that I finished the short list. My sampling is barely adequate, but it will have to do. I am learning that this is how things work here. Given one day to do three days worth of sampling? Work fast and get as much as you can and scrap the less important stuff. I am trying to let go of regret, because there is nothing I can do about it now. It is what it is.

Although, if you judge productivity by scrapes and bruises, then I have had productive summer indeed.

Exhibit A: A wicked case of Fieldwork Forearm (the elbow to hand tan) matched up with feet the pale white color of frozen cod fillets from being stuffed in boots every day. And I will spare you a glimpse of what they look like underneath, but it is not pretty.

Exhibit B: You can't see all the little bruises and scrapes on my leg very well in this pic, but as of yesterday it also sports three large gashes from where I ran into a barbed wire fence. (I dodged the puncture wounds though, so I think I'm good on the tetanus, right?)

Exhibit C: a lovely layer of small lacerations from sharp-leaved grasses overlaid on a heat rash.
There is also something odd happening with my toenails but I am trying not to think about that because it scares me.


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