Blogger Nadya Karimasari has just come back to the Netherlands after some intense physical and mental travel.
It’s good to be back in the Netherlands. My landlords are still as lovely, my 125-year-old home is still as charming and cosy, the cat is still fat, the sheep are still smelly, and the rooster is still crowing. The plants in my small patch of garden started growing. I took a deep breath of the clean air of this idyllic Dutch countryside. Ahh, it’s so good to be back.
I have been ‘all over the place’ lately, not only in terms of location, but also in terms of experience. Earlier this year, I did my preliminary fieldwork in Indonesia. My admirable long-time friend whom I used to stay with when I was in Jakarta visited Leiden from Harvard. We shared an uninterrupted day walking and talking. In Spring, I was a teaching assistant for Rob Fletcher’s Research Methodology course. I have a fond memory of the experience and the students. Then, a sudden death. The next day, with trembling knees, I went to Toronto for a Summer School with Nancy Peluso, Peter Vandergeest and Libby Lunstrum. The North American graduate education system was completely different than in the Netherlands. I organised a panel at the Center for Space, Place, and Society at the Wageningsche Berg and gave a (chaotic) presentation, met my co-supervisor from Melbourne and other new and old friends. I also gave another (chaotic) presentation for my proposal at the Leeuwenborch. Last but not least, I went to my brother’s wedding in Indonesia where I met most of my extended families. And back I am.
For many of us, doing a PhD is a cultural experience too, with a lot of moments of ‘taking up challenge’ and first-times that may or may not be directly linked with our research and may or may not be having an immediate ‘productive’ effect for our writing process. On the other hand, life goes on beyond our research, and a lot of times, it’s hard not be taken over by momentary shock. As a PhD student, it’s equally hard to ignore your research that is poking you and saying hello from the back of your mind from time to time. The result is a mess. But it’s okay. We’re gone and back, and we’re always where we’re supposed to be.
Nadya Karimasari is a PhD candidate in the Sociology of Development and Change Group.