Today was indeed much warmer, and gave the opportunity to outdoor lunch with a book at a cafe in Silver Spring after my dance class. The climate is so much nicer here in Washington than in Stockholm, Chisinau, and even Paris (when we don’t have extreme weather events that is) but I’m wondering if I’m not better suited for life closer to the equator… A coffee and a book in the sun is great, though, even if the jacket is on!
I just finished Lena Einhorn’s “Siri” about Siri von Essen, August Strinberg’s first wife. Despite my Swedish literature teacher’s attempts to spark my enthusiasm for Strindberg by spending a disproportional number of classes his work, I was never a fan of Strindberg. And I can’t say that this has changed after having read this book – he was a terribly unsympathetic and self absorbed person! Siri, however, seems to have been a very interesting person: an early champion for women’s rights and a lot less traditional even than many women in my surrounding today. I wouldn’t mind learning more about her.
One thing that is cool about having moved around between different countries and cities is that you become familiar with so many places. I watched this amazing documentary, First Position, yesterday, about kids and adolescents with a passion for ballet trying to make it as dancers. And even though I am not exactly a ballerina, I have actually taken ballet classes at two of the studies in the movie: the Maryland Youth Ballet here in Washington, and the Ailey Extension in New York. The movie is very touching and I really recommend it, also for you who don’t dance.
I am finally done with my dissertation and with that also my MSc in Food and Nutrition Policy at City University in London. I submitted my dissertation yesterday and put away all the books and articles that have been spread around my apartment since I got back from Europe. I wish I could say that I was relieved that it’s finished but to be honest, it feels a little empty. I have worked so hard on it for so many months and I can’t believe that I will not write on it anymore. I also had a lot more I wanted to explore in the relationship between nutrition transition and agro-food markets. But a deadline us a deadline and so now its over. And I’m sure I will enjoy the free time soon enough!
My food policy book collection back on the shelf
I’ve barely been outside my apartment this past week, except for regular visits to Java House around the corner for caffeine intake. Oh, and a much needed break with for a very nice dinner yesterday at Kramerbooks with Mr. M, during which I had my first glass of wine in three weeks. Needless to say, I ordered a second glass! With eleven days to my dissertation deadline, I’m unlikely to get out again in a while. I have, however, started to dream about post-dissertation life. This paper has been with me for so long – I started gathering literature for it back in June – and with all the work lately, I haven’t had a single day off since I went to Montenegro in mid September. So what am I dreaming of? Sleeping in, reading fiction, watching movies, taking long walks, and preparing for the holiday season!
All I’ve done these past few days is writing, on reports and my dissertation. Well, with a small exception of a coffee at Le Pain Quotidien with Mr. M on Saturday. (Or coffee and LPQ’s lemon tart – one of my favorites sweets!) The dissertation is slowly but surely starting to get some structure, although it is far from in the shape it ought to be at this point. I guess that is my curse – I am always late with things. Regardless, it has been interesting working with it and I have learned a lot about nutrition transition, and managed to develop some of my own theories around the topic. Here is where it was at an early stage:
I know, I am not a very responsible blogger and I’m afraid it won’t get any better for a while. During the entire month of September, I traveled around Europe for work, a wedding, and a quick visit to Stockholm, and even though that should have given ample of material for blog posts, I’ve been buried in work since I got back from the road trip in mid August. Apart from the two projects that I worked on while in Europe in September, I am finalizing the two reports from my Central Asia trip in May/June, and my Food Policy MSc dissertation is due by end October. So blogging has unfortunately been down prioritized and will continue to be so for the next three weeks. I hope to have more time and inspiration from November to write all about my research on nutrition transition. Or about my travels perhaps? Until then, enjoy October – autumn’s beautiful month here in Washington DC!
Even before Sex and the City, New York was inevitably connected with fashion and shopping. Hence, since we hadn’t done much shopping so far, we decided to head over to SoHo to check out the stores there today. Once there, it was already past noon and we were all very hungry so we went directly to Cafe Gitane for lunch. When we were finally ready to hit the shops, the rain started poring. All my inspiration vanished, and even after 2.5 hours of walking around in stores, I came home with the usual: a pile of books and cupcakes. I think I must be the most hopeless shopper – I should probably just give it up entirely!
I am at the library today again after taking the day off yesterday. I was kind of tempted to take the day off today too, but when looking at my schedule for the next couple of months, I realize that it will be a quite hectic period as it is without me falling behind on my dissertation writing. Besides, the Mid-Manhattan Library where I sit is a place worth visiting in itself, if only for people watching. With AC, free wifi, armchairs and rest rooms, it attracts all sorts of people. (I have to admit that I started bringing earplugs since one man, who prefers the same floor as me, seems to bring his imaginary friend to the library with whom he engages in long conversations…) Right now I’m in the process of doing the literature review on nutrition transition, so the work is very interesting.
When in Boston a few weeks ago, I bought a couple of books on how to write dissertations, in order to be better prepared. Both are really useful, but one is called Writing the Winning Thesis or Dissertation (Glatthorn and Joyner, 2005), which to me is typical American: It isn’t enough to just write a dissertation and what you learn in the process, it has to be award winning! Anyway, the book is very good.
After a long night out yesterday, that started with an invitation to the opening of a bar (Lavender Lake) a few blocks down the street and ended with dinner and a bar tour in Williamsburg, this has been my laziest Sunday in ages. The fact that it is 30 C and over 70 percent humidity hasn’t exactly helped. I haven’t done much else than writing, spending time at cafes, and browsing through neighborhood stores. After a visit to a bookstore just around the corner, I am now the happy owner of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I have already read In Cold Blood and Summer Crossing by Capote, and I really liked them so I thought it was time for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And what better city to get it in than New York? In a text exchange with Mr. M this morning, he wished me a great Sunday, and I think that is exactly what this has been!
I’ve found a new favorite spot in Central Park. Quiet and kind of hidden between roads and lawns is a little area with benches and statues of authors. Best place on Manhattan for reading so far!