It has now been two months since I arrived back in Montreal.
I will not lie; I was tired by the end of my fieldwork period in Zambia. The climax of the last week was a workshop with disability advocates and policymakers in Lusaka. The event was great, but a lot of work to prepare. The icing on the cake might have been the realization that the workshop venue was not accessible to people arriving in wheelchairs. Here are photos of the carpenters that I hired to build a ramp – from the evening before the event.
On the whole, the fieldwork period was busy but successful. Despite having lost January, February, and the first part of March as I waited for approvals to start my work, the next three (hectic) months were very productive. But come the middle of June, I was happy to drag myself onto an airplane headed to Canada.
When I got back, I found that a weird thing happened. It was like I was in a honeymoon period. I was elated to be back in the Canadian world of order and predictability. Yet like in Zambia, I was rising early every morning and still felt close to Mongu and Lusaka. Meanwhile, in my neighbourhood in Montreal, the Jazz Festival and Comedy Festival were happening. I had quick access to good coffee and abundant fresh croissants. I could easily grab a bike and explore the city.
The honeymoon lasted about a month.
Since that time, I have noticed that I’m back to my Canadian routines. I am now more sluggish in the morning and sleepy in the evening. I find that I require the disciplining mechanism of an interminable to-do list that beckons me forward through the elusive satisfaction of its crossed-off items. I work, I run, I work, I make lunch, I work, I head to the office, I work, I come home, I work a bit, I go to bed.
My own self-descriptions, was written down, admittedly look pretty dull. Even to me. But it is not all that bad; I do accomplish a fair bit and it is pretty comfortable and predictable. From now until December, I plan to keep plugging away in a steady forward progress, data analyzing data, writing those data, and doing some teaching.
Admittedly, I do also have some unusual activities that are more special and fun in their own ways. I was interviewed in a Global Physio Podcast last week (and wrote a post about it here). On Monday I am doing another podcast interview (details to come).
But do not be fooled by those bigger events: this is the season of routine.