It’s a lovely quiet evening with piano music playing in the background.
One of the things I don’t miss is the my iPhone ringing when I’m in some deep contemplative mode alone or conversational mode with friends. It’s amazing how focused one can be minus the distraction of a ringing phone.
Of course, while being here I’ve been very dependant on the internet to keep in touch with family and friends. There are times when it’s as if I have never left. Of course, the actual fact is I’m not back in Malaysia but I’m still in some strange way "distant but connected" somehow.
There’s clearly emotional distance which uncluttered so much one feels when we’re deep in the scene, and the distance opens up space for a good dose of clarity above the noise. But the connection is still there, and it means one is not out of touch just because I’m out of physical sight. I’m watching from a distance, but head and heart still connected to the concerns.
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It’s a little ironic, because I recall back home it’s so easy to take for granted the physical presence of family members that when we’re busy we don’t have second thoughts about not talking to them. Being here for almost coming to three weeks now, I’ve spent time daily (as long as we can skype) to talk with May Chin and the Kit Kids. I even had to a chance to sit them down today and give them a piece of my mind about some stuff. Disciplining through skype so to speak.
But what’s most fun is when Ewan shows me his toy, or Elysia lifts up her drawing towards the webcam, or Gareth just being the good big brother and updating me with stuff. The most emotional episode for me was when at one point I got this skype call from May Chin, and there was Elysia crying saying, "I want Papa!" It was hard because I had no way to touch her, and hug her to comfort her. I could only use my voice, and try to sooth her. She was upset because she didn’t have the chance to say "Good night" when we ended the previous call.
I’ve been cool and calm thus far. Not just because of the weather and environment! But I must admit, I was a little shaken up. I’m really looking forward to bring them over once we can get things settled down here in terms of a few practicalities.
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I’ve been quite consistent with my Project 365 🙂 and with some "Food" pictures thrown in. If the "food" stuff lessens, it obviously means I’m starting to eat almost the same menu daily. But it’s been also good to start the Sabbath Weekly series. It kind of captures some scenes through the week. I hope at least the Project 365 as well as the Sabbath series will be sustainable.
I thought I was more able to blog when I have arrived. But surprisingly no. A lot of my energy has been in thinking, reading, mapping, imagining, adapting, and connecting loads of resources to direct my PhD journey. The focus has been great. I’m now not sure how much I can or will blog. I’m leaving it free and easy. But I know the blogging does give family, friends and global eavesdroppers to know what on earth I’m doing or pondering about. 🙂
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I’m grateful for different people coming alongside to help me settle in. Whether it’s the university staff, colleagues or fellow "stipendiats", I think it’s been quite good actually. Along the way especially for the unexpected moments, I think of the Romanian worker with me at the Police station Immigration office, the cleaning lady at the hospital, and the university technical personnel, all in their own way adding value to my initiation to life in Norway, more specifically life in Kristiansand.
I’ve started being a little more systematic in learning Norwegian this morning. I jotted down some key words I’m learning. Baby steps. I found that learning to write as well as speak was a little bit better for me then just listening to the conversational CDs back in Malaysia. But of course, a big motivation is especially when I’m immersed in a Norwegian context that makes a huge difference. So every single opportunity becomes a learning moment. I must confess it does take a certain amount of extra energy. I’m no superhuman. Just a regular guy.
So, it’s "adjustment" and "adaptation" on steroids. It’s funny while I was finishing the book on theory and research and feeling good about finishing the 191 pages. it dawned on me what I’m experiencing biographically is similar to my intellectual journey. Have certain ideas or theories about a particular issue, then in the light of new data and experience, I have to refine, adapt or even throw away a particular way of looking at things. Expectations are changing all the time. Sure, the ultimate future vision is broadly the same. But it get refined along the way, and I can confidently say the journey and how one walks this path is ever changing.
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It’s about 17 days since I landed here. This is my "sabbatical-study" leave, a long awaited "space" for some deep thinking, deeper "being" and also learning the art and science of being a deeper researcher. I was reminded yesterday how easy it could be for me to be distracted from this key reason why I am here. The needs around us is never ending. The urgent always confronts us and we might be lead away from that is not just important but timely for now at this season. So, the long cold shivering walk back did cleared my head a bit more.
Seems like that is the running theme thus far "clearing" and "clarifying".
Until the next post … Ha Det Bra! ("Have it Good")
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