Coming Up for Air in the Caribbean
Hello from the lovely and warm Caribbean!
So it has been too long since I have been able to get back her and do some writing for myself on my own blog. Somehow life has a way of just sweeping you away, like a strong rip tide, and pulling you under. When that happens, it seems more urgent matters take precedent, like trying to swim back up to the surface and catch your breath. That’s how the past few months have been for me I think, and hence the lack of any substantive or even minor updates in recent months.
So let’s see, where to begin. Here is a very quick summary. Last month I got engaged to my wonderful partner Yuria Bartolomé, pictured here, who I met just over a year ago. We had a fortuitous first meeting at the Belvedere Castle in Central Park and have been running together hand in hand since. After many years of living in Greenpoint, BK I am finally leaving this borough and moving in with her in Manhattan, which to be honest is not my ideal move, but hey, life always gives you lots of surprises.
I’ve been making slow but steady progress on my dissertation, although admittedly not as fast as I would like. I had hoped to be done by this summer, but between the engagement, work obligations and a generally hectic life recently, the work has not progressed nearly as fast as I had planned. So now it look like the dissertation will have to wait until the end of this year, or early spring of 2017, until I can complete it. At the same time, I’m preparing for the academic job market next fall, which opens the search process later this summer. I had a few interesting but ultimately unsuccessful Postdoc applications out this past winter, and will begin the process anew in a few months., But due to the over-saturated job market right now in higher ed, there is a lot of competition for far fewer jobs than in the past, especially for the tenure-track positions in the various fields I am largely working in–comparative politics, political theory and global politics.
So right now I am sitting in the Caribbean on a 48-foot catamaran called the Blind Squirrel that is owned by a friend’s family company. For the past week a group of us have been down in the US Virgin Islands (USVI), first staying at a house on St. John and now on a boat in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where we will be for the next 4-5 days, island hopping, snorkeling, fishing and generally enjoying the Caribbean weather and water. Last night we took the ferry from St. John across to the Tortola in the BVI, where we met up with the Blind Squirrel boat and the rest of the crew. We spent the night here at dock, and will take off from here in a few hours for our next series of adventures, which I believe involves some snorkeling at an old sunken ship. So that has been the first few months of 2016.
Last fall I had the good luck to undertake more ICI research trips, this time to Northwest India and briefly again to Nepal. We were in Shimla for about a week, and then headed on the second of our research expeditions along the India-Nepal border area from Pithoragarh to the last border village we could enter as US nationals (part of our team from India and Nepal were able to continue to one more village north). This is the major route that the India pilgrims use when they are making their pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, two sacred sites in western Tibet. The route along the way also connects to a variety of other important religious sites, including several sites referred to as adi or chota Kailash (mini/half Kailash), which are several smaller mountains which have become symbolic Kailash sites for those not able to get all the way into western Tibet.
You can read more about those travels here.
I’m sure there is more to tell, and this is not a serious update for many months of radio silence, but at least this is a start. For now I’m headed back out into the great blue expanse.
Until next time… Remember, it’s bad luck to bring bananas on a boat.