Sitting in a café, I stared into my open book. I was about a week into my SURP and a week out of Thailand. After glossing over these pages and these words for seven days, the past month felt like it had never happened. Everyone chatted around me and I listened and I understood. The man next to me asked to use my outlet and it was understood. I read the words on the page and they were understood.
And these words were stationary. I could flip back to them and reread them and highlight them and they wouldn’t wriggle out of sight, like a cat on a Bangkok sidewalk or a food cart hooked to a motorcycle. Research has slowed my frantic rush of the past month into a dawdle. I feel like Winne the Pooh bumbling along and dipping his paw into any honey pot he wants, and I feel as though Thailand has been cracked open like a giant durian, and I’ve been extracted and placed into a little bowl where I, unmoving, think all day about academic things as opposed to The Way The World Works.
It’s a little difficult for me to present this ultimately quiet, outwardly boring “adventure” in a way that can entice The Readers. I sit and I read. More interestingly, I learn and I explore and I think. Sometimes I worry my pace is too slow, and that I’ll show up at Pomona’s poster conference with a piece of fat, empty cardboard. I expect my research to morph (in some way) into my thesis, and that would make this the beginning of the longest project of my life. I wonder if I’ll look back on this in a year and cringe at my silly little trials. Then again, it’s nice to have the time to wonder about these things at all. More research insight later, if there is such a thing.