When This All Began…

(*Jekyll & Hyde moment!)

With just under a week of homecoming under my belt, I guess it’s that time to look back, have an “aha!” moment, and otherwise generally reflect on my trip. (Oh, PDP, you have me well-trained, don’t you?)

Well, here goes.

On July 5, I wrote,

I think today for the first time, it hit me that I’ll be traveling to New Zealand on a research grant in just over two weeks.

All of a sudden, “plenty of time” means very little. The stack of books I was supposed to have read seems very large. And my relative ability to speak coherently to individuals in an informal interview setting seems extraordinarily low.

Nonetheless, I will be departing in 15 days. Ergo, the map-examining, timetable-plotting, and various document-copying becomes as rampant as slouching teenagers in the mall in July.

Unfortunately for my sanity, the map-examining, timetable-plotting, and various document-copying actually hit fifth gear not on July 5, but on July 19. However, by July 20 I was packed and “ready” to go.

Over the course of the next three weeks, I traveled, visited museums, talked to professors, watched performances, and looked at diaries from 1880, director’s notes from 1940, and handwritten lists of theatre performances seen over a twenty-year period in the late 1800s, among dozens of other things.

Highlights of the trip:

-Walking all over Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, (Picton, Christchurch) and Dunedin. The occasional chocolate boutique or bakery didn’t hurt.
-Seeing Romeo & Juliet twice in Auckland.
-Good conversations with my roommates in hostels and other people I met through my research and wanderings.
-Botanic gardens: Hamilton and Dunedin.
-Waterfronts: Auckland and Wellington.
-Favorite archives: a man’s painstaking records of his every theatrical experience in handwriting that would make Thumbelina proud; an honorary scroll presented to Allan Wilkie after one of his tours in Dunedin.
-Gradually getting a better sense of my research interests through successive attempts to explain them to other people.

And yes, coming home and seeing friends and family(!!!!), dancing again(!!), playing frisbee, not living out of a suitcase, and having free Internet.

It was good. 🙂 Thanks for following along.



Published by Jen

The author of Snark on the Side is not your average run-of-the-millennial generation. Jen is a contradiction in terms: a graceful klutz, a smart blond, a math-savvy English degree-holder, a southern liberal, and an adult amateur equestrian who doesn’t match her saddle pads. Snark on the Side is a work in progress, born out of years of rambling email newsletters and anthropomorphized Christmas letters, small town observations, and the ever-present irony of pursuing a career with a degree in English literature. Thanks for visiting!

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