Well, after a whirlwind month of being home and doing family-related things, I am back in England for the second half of my fieldwork. It was wonderful going home and being able to participate in family events (my little sister graduated high school in the top ten of her class!), but I should have anticipated that I would have to go through the emotional roller-coaster of entering the field a second time. I honestly don’t know how some of my colleagues cope with going to more “foreign” places, where there are significant cultural and linguistic differences. Knowing what I’ve learned about myself these last three months I am pretty sure I could never do it. I bow down to you more adventurous and daring anthropologists!
That said, even though I’m in England with very few cultural and linguistic barriers, my sites are quite rural and the isolation has been the hardest thing for me to tackle. I have a rental car this time around, which gives me more mobility than I had in Glastonbury/Wells where I was restricted to the bus routes… but Tintagel is far, far, far more rural and isolated than Glastonbury. My budget would have preferred a bus option, but there just wasn’t one. I faced a similar dilemma with my housing. Tintagel, all of Cornwall really, is primarily a tourist destination so all the prices are inflated. My cottage is great but pricey. So in addition to getting settled in a new place, I’m finding myself even more aware of my financial situation than during the first half of fieldwork.
After two weeks at home and then two weeks traveling the UK with my mom, my sister and my husband (see blog posts to come on wanderlustundheimweh.wordpress.com) the loneliness hit me hard this morning when I was eating breakfast by myself. I was too focused on the logistics of getting to Cornwall when I dropped them off at the airport yesterday and then drove the four hours to Tintagel that the reality didn’t really hit me until today. I was sitting on the cliff-side at Tintagel this morning watching people interact with the new controversial Gallos statue and was overcome with heaviness watching families and couples having fun exploring the site together. So I came home, took a nap and then after a family pep talk via WhatsApp (thank you technology) made a cup of tea and got to work on the computer. Luckily, Michael is coming for a week-long visit in just 12 days and this cottage won’t be so empty. 🙂
My time here is limited. I only have three weeks to collect as much data as I can. So I need to get it together and get to work. I do realize how privileged and fortunate I am to being doing this research which gives me the extra kick in the arse I need to overcome my emotional tendencies. So here we go. 21 days of fieldwork. Ready, set, go!
Here is my Instagram post from last week when I visited Tintagel for the first time with my family:
Learn more about Tintagel from the English Heritage website here: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/tintagel-castle/