This is what I look like after two weeks in Katherine (note: loss of neck, and other extremities, in favour of god-like rays of linguistic brilliance!):
So I’ve come to the end of my second week in Katherine (at the time of writing, it’s Friday night, though I’ll probably compose this over the weekend, hopefully getting it up on Monday). Since last you eyeballed my literary musings, I have had several firsts.
First first: I travelled out to Barunga community to help a colleague with some translation. Barunga is about 1hr out of Katherine, travelling at about 110-130kmph most of the way.
Second first: going to Barunga meant driving a Toyota troop carrier – so I’ve been driving one of those big beasties that makes Toorak-trucks look Micro-Machines™.
Third first: I participated in a group meditation session with a few of the new friends I have made up here. I’m not sure how enlightening it was, but it was great to sit and chat among new friends, find out about the people up here and what they’re all doing and how they found themselves here.
Fourth first: I think I’ll stop at four, though I’m sure there are more. My fourth first is the staff meeting I attended today. I got a little excited when I wrote “staff meeting” in my calendar earlier in the week. It ended up being a pretty casual affair with discussion of what everyone at the centre has been doing.
Fifth first: I know I said I’d stop at four, but then I remembered that I had a “linguists’ meeting” today as well as the staff meeting. It was great being in a room full of linguists, but I couldn’t contribute all that much to the conversation, as it revolved mainly around the diphthongs of the languages in the region, with which I am too unfamiliar to express an opinion yet.
I have also been doing a lot of reading this week: Peter Carey’s Theft (highly entertaining, unusual though captivating use of language, written from the perspectives of an alcoholic has-been painter and his autistic yet insightful brother), Norah Vincent’s Self Made Man (true story – woman went undercover as a man in different scenarios over about a year), and the Aboriginal language reader given to me by a uni lecturer before I left (oh gosh! You know how I get off on linguistics? Well, this IS my bag baby!).
Most intriguing thing learned this week: bound pronouns in Aboriginal languages are remnants of free pronouns in a Nominative-Accusative language system. *wait for it….wait for it…* BUT – most Aboriginal languages now have free pronouns with an Ergative-Absolutive system; the modern Erg-Abs free pronouns occur in conjunction with the bound pronouns of the past Nom-Acc system! That’s right boys and girls, that’s what Hooch has been getting off on this week!
On a less cheery note, the shine of ‘all things new’ is starting to wear off. I’m starting to crave familiarity, such as cats, pianos, Melbourne and of course you wonderful people, the readers of this blog: my friends and relations.
Sorry for not having emailed or replied emails. The internet is really slow up here and I only have access during work hours. Most of the time my emails fail to send or gmail/hotmail web pages don’t even open.
It’s raining steadily at the moment. I’m about to get picked up to go to a party. The rooster has been giving me the evil eye, and spurred me in the leg the other day (6th first – never been spurred by a rooster before). Last night there were four frogs in the toilet – 2 in the bowl (looking up at me with trepidation through the water), and 2 in the ridges of the corrugated tin wall behind the cistern (sooo cute, they only had their heads sticking out, and looked like they were vertically tucked up in bed).
Anyway, the CD has stopped: a sure sign that I’m due to hop off this thing before I get square eyes.
PS. I have done two more dreadlocks.