With one week to go the trip seems very far away and way too close at the same time. There are still so many things to do! I need to return books to the library, and photocopy chapters to take with me on my trip. I need to buy toiletries, get a haircut, and finish buying all the various train tickets I am going to need. I also need to go to an archive in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. This one is not for my research, but rather a part of my work as a research assistant for a historian I work with. This will actually be the first archive I ever step foot in, and my task for the day would be to find information about a female botanist who worked as a professor in the Hebrew University way back in the first half of the 20th century. I am rather looking forward to it and hope it will make me more at ease when I go to archives in England.
In addition to all of these I need to finish grading my students’ essays from the last semester. I want to go on my trip with as little on my mind as possible, and right now, with only fifteen essays left to grade – it seems that it may indeed happen.
There are two more preparations which I have not yet really began – books and movies to bring with me. The books one chooses to take on a trip abroad are a very serious affair, as they will set a lot of the tone and atmosphere. I am thinking of creating a mixture of non-fictions (mostly guide books to dissertation writing), fantasy (my favourite genre), and a few children’s books. The reason for the children’s books? First of all, a lot of children’s books are awesome and one need not have an excuse for reading them! But in this case there is a reason for my wanting to bring a few British children’s books with me, and that is the fact that I grew up on these books, and they had a great influence on my development, and on my love for England, which brought me to where I am today and to my research subject. I grew up reading a lot of Enid Blyton, Edith Nesbit, Arthur Ransome, Roald Dahl, Frances Hodgson Burnett, etc., and a lot of my nostalgia is made out of bits and pieces of these books. What can be more perfect than revisiting Arthur Ransome’s books about children exploring the Norfolk Broads whilst doing so myself, on my days off in Norwich? What will be more magical than reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising chronicles in front of a fireplace in Wales?
As to movies, a year and a half ago I had a sudden yearning for period dramas set in 18th to early 20th century Britain, and I downloaded a lot of movies and tv shows, but never had a chance to watch them. They all remain, dormant, in my portable hard drive, and I thought that the trip will be the perfect opportunity to start delving into them. So said hard drive will be coming with me (also to act as a back up for the gazillion photos I will be taking in the archives), and perhaps I will keep a record here of the movies I’ve went through.
I need to go and get ready, because we’re going out with friends to eat vegan burgers (which are supposed to be really good).