As I approach my keyboard to begin I hear the afternoon call to Prayer. It is so beautiful I am tempted to digress and recall the first time I heard the call to Prayer at dawn one morning in New Deli some 20 or more years ago. But alas this is a research diary not a travelogue and I see in my inbox a note from the university telling me that all research students, including those on leave, must complete a progress report. No worries thinks have been working hard on my research diary/blog. However, when I take a look at the blog I remember I have only actually made 1 post.
In my defence I must refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Because I have just moved to a new town in a new country I have been otherwise occupied by mates further down the pyramid. To be honest looking at the pyramid now I wonder if I will ever get to it! At best it would come under esteem and as EdDs are not well-known and on-line degrees in general are viewed with great scepticism, really my study is pretty much up there in the self actualization tip.
Anyway I am moving up there. We have an apartment and we know where to eat and shop for food so that covers the bottom rung. It’s a pretty laid back place. You can see even the roads are not too bad for the Middle East so I am not worried about safety.
As for love and belonging; I am here with my husband and all the other teachers at the college have been incredible. They have been keen to show off the advantages of Salalah like the beautiful green scenes that result from the Khareef (monsoon) unique to this part of Arabia. We find we have much in common with many of the expat teachers who all seem to have followed the tried and true ESL teaching route of starting in Asia and moving on to the Middle East. Yes, I know, it’s starting to sound like a travelogue again. However, luckily my research is likely to be very closely related to my actual life so, while getting the base of the pyramid in order I have been actually preparing the way for my research. I have been doing this in very practical ways.
For example, I have only met my supervisors once and at that time they directed me towards a book that might use as the foundation of my study – more about the book another day 😦 , so I needed to get the book. It’s obviously not available in the bookshop here so I needed to order it online. To receive my order I needed a Post Box as there is no mail delivery to your house. To get a post box I needed my residency card. Before that I needed a work visa stamp in my passport. For this I needed more medical checks….anyway you get the picture.
I have also joined a newly formed research group in my college. By getting to know my colleagues I am networking for potential research partners and also learning about the research culture here. What is encouraged or what would be seen as irrelevant or would be impossible to achieve. I feel as though I need to step carefully on my way into this new teaching/research environment so that I don’t burn any bridges before I have even crossed them. For a while I want to watch and listen and trust that soon enough I will find a way in.