Thursday, June 16, 2011

Research Trips, and the Kindness of Friends

Reminder! Tomorrow is week three of the writing group! Make sure to report your progress, and your plan for the following week!

Okay, so I'm here in G. And let me tell you, it's freakin' gorgeous. I'm finding loads of materials for my project -- in reality, probably enough for a whole other project, if I decide to change direction. Or, if I ever have grad students who read Latin, Blarg, and Blerg (medieval and modern), I can turn them loose on this stuff.

But what makes this short stay (8 days) in G. especially nice is that it, like a few other stays this trip, have been hosted by friends.

I've been coming to Blargistan for a very long time, ever since my dissertation days. And way back then, in the late 90s, a group of oh-so-miscellaneous grad students adopted me. There were dinners out at inexpensive restaurants someone's girlfriend had found (Senegalese food for 3 Euros? We're there). There were trips to the movies planned around whatever theater had a half-price night that night. There were 45 minute-long coffee breaks at the archive. And there are now long-running jokes with those who I still know from back in the day. Over the years, others have been added to this group, really cool people, genuinely fun to hang around with, and all tolerant of (or maybe morbidly fascinated by?) a yankee scholar and her sometimes bizarre ways.

And this trip, I went ahead and asked various of them if I could stay at their places for anywhere from 2 nights to a week. And doors were opened, food was laid on, mothers fussed, etc. etc.

Yes, there was a practical side to this: other than some nice guest gifts, I'm spending no money for my accomodations for 50% of my trip. But better than that is the feeling that I have several "homes" here in Blargistan. Most are spare bedrooms in family apartments. The one I'm currently in is a meticulously restored two-story apartment in what is essentially a 16th-century merchant mansion right in the middle of the old medieval city, a 90-second walk from the archive. But all have that nice feeling that you're being welcomed home by family (if you and your family were ever on your best behavior). Which is kinda awesome.

The entryway to the very house I'm staying in. The well still works.

11 comments:

Historiann said...

Ok, so next June you'll have to pack me up too and take me along. I don't speak Blarg, but I'm willing to learn, and with a few hours of study, I can probably transcribe documents for you in either Latin or Blarg. I'm a pretty good amateur paleographer.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

H'ann, what I really need is a book mule. You come with empty suitcases, and haul back my books. Deal?

Notorious Ph.D. said...

(There may be some cheese transport involved as well...)

clio's disciple said...

Nice! I wish I could be your friends' houseguest, too.

WIP said...

Beautiful, beautiful house ... I am very jealous right now!

Ianqui said...

I speak Blarg AND Blerg (for realz, assuming I have figured out where you're talking about), so I can haul your books and help with docs (even though I'm a social scientist) in exchange for homes in T, G, and L. (I have my own connections in Blarg City, though, so you don't need to worry about me there :)

Every time I visit Blargistan, I can't believe how unbelievably generous and friendly everyone is. When I went for 2 months in 2007, a friend just let me stay in his extra room (it would have been rent-free, but I ended up insisting because it was accounted for in my grant.) Whenever called upon to do favors for friends, I try hard to channel their graciousness, because I'm not naturally a generous person.

squadratomagico said...

Wow. That is one helluva lovely courtyard! Have a great time, in and out of the archive!

ABDMama said...

Gorgeous place to stay! Looking forward to hearing more about your trip. I think I should have been a medievalist...

Historiann said...

I haz empty suitcases and need for cheeze.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I seem to be assembling an entire team of sherpas! Keep in mind that most of my accommodations are nowhere near as posh as this (though I have welcomed visitors to even the teensiest of them).

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Awesome!