June 23, 2013
11:35 pm, Lima
In the morning we go to the Andes. Like last year Silvia arranged for me to rent a truck and a professional driver. This time for about three weeks. The first site will be a new one for me, and we’ll look at outcrops around an active mine. I might actually go in one of the mines in the next few days – just to have a look at the geological features, which Silvia says are quite spectacular.
These days in Lima have been quiet, and I’ve had plenty of time to focus. Not that I HAVE focused. Instead each hour has been a bit of an urgent frenzy down one scientific rabbit hole or another, as I try to get ready for this trip, and ready for the coming year. Which ammonites will indicate the time frame I’m looking for? Or rather, what time frame should I be looking for? Maybe I should expand it, think more broadly, think about the way these deposits all around the world differ and test what they might have in common. Then there are all these cool side-tracking papers I find, like investigations of healed scars on ammonoid shells; the ammonite survived the attack, but an attack by what?? Another ammonite!?!? Bum-ba-ba-buuuuuuuum crimeshowtheme!!
I finished my dissertation this spring, but an unusual circumstance eliminated the job I’d had arranged to start in the fall. So at graduation time I wore the costume, half-heartedly, wondering what the coming year would bring. My husband, meanwhile, earned two postdoctoral positions, back to back, one of them very far away. I’ve been happy for him but it’s been bittersweet compared to my own publication rejections, position dissolutions, and general insecurity about the future.
Things have been looking up since I came to Lima. Simple things, like positive correspondences with international collaborators or experts offering opinions. Plus Silvia arranged for me to use an available office, so I’ve made the most of that! Skype and phone calls from various professors in the states, who were duly impressed that I was in an office at a university in a different hemisphere. It’s funny what prestige a door can give!
I gave a seminar talk on Thursday, which went very well. Like most seminars, most of my audience was politely but marginally interested in the content, so I tried to keep it upbeat and showed lots of interesting pictures. A handful of students and professors were professionally curious, and I wanted to represent my university well. PUCP is developing key connections to high level universities in Europe and the states, so I’m really proud that USC is able to connect here as well.
Bed time, bed time. I repacked my bags, so I’ll leave behind the airport wheely with some city attire, and bring along tools and packs and a duffle of rougher clothing. I also sat on the bed and measured the strike and dip of a chair with my brunton compass. Thank goodness this time I got it right the first time! I guess it’s like riding a bicycle, if I was usually drunk every time I got on a bicycle after several months. But now it appears I’ve got the correct muscle memory, and I won’t fumble about in the field.
OK, tomorrow: Up the Andes, Back in Time!