The good news is that I have a plan. I've morphed the things I wanted to do in the first place, and have figure out how to apply them to some different study plots in order to still get data that are relevant to my thesis. So, that is good.
Now, two hurdles stand in my way.
The first is money related. In the US I pay (or rather, my grants pay) to have all of my soil samples tested at a specific soil-testing lab at another University. This is a good plan b/c I don't have any of the right equipment at my school or, more importantly, the skills to do the lab work (I'm an ecologist, not a chemist!). I can rely on the results when actual chemists do the work, so it's worth it to pay for it. However, in this case things are much more complicated. There is some lab equipment here at the station, and I think some people just do their own analysis here. And that would maybe be an option for me if I knew what I was doing. Instead I have 2 options -- 1) send the samples (and a wad of cash) with one of the professors back to their university in Lanzhou to be analyzed there.
2) export the samples back to the US and use the same lab I always use. This is kind of preferable, for standardization's sake, but involves a whole lot permits and a hope and a prayer that they don't get seized at the border. I have the US permits, but the China ones don't seem to be happening for me. Either way it is going to be expensive. Quite expensive. This is a bummer, and makes me wish I has the skills (skilz) to do it here. Why didn't I pay more attention in chemistry?! (b/c I was busy staring out the window wishing I was out in the field looking at plants....).
The second hurdle is transportation related. I can't actually get to work until the driver is free to drive me to the sample plots. He seems to be booked with other things until at least tomorrow afternoon.
Rather than fret I am going to look on this as an opportunity to work on some stats for some other data, go through another Pimsleur language lesson, and maybe do some yoga.
All in good time.
I"m writing this post in part to give everyone an update, but also to get outside of my head and give myself a reality check about my situation.
Science in China, as with all other things, is about relationships first. I'm so used to being self-sufficient when it comes to my work, especially fieldwork. But here, I know nothing about the area, only a little about the research that is going on at this research station, and my original research plan had to be scrapped. Also my grasp of Mandarin is almost nil. So, I am going to let this first week be about making a good impression. The science can come next.
-- -- -- > I can't access blogger form here, so I have to update via email, and I can't check it to see if everything loaded properly. Can someone pls. comment and let me know if you see a pic & text?