Monday, June 12, 2006

Feeling cheerful

Ah. A week of summer vacation gone (nine left, yay), various projects coming along fine and some seriously good summer shopping done and summery weather enjoyed muchly.

What else could a girl want? (Ok, I could list a few more things, eh...)

Funnily enough it took me about two days to fall into my daily "schedule" of vacations. Which means that I very rarely get to bed before 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. isn't exactly impossible either. Then I just allow myself to sleep in some. Not the best possible way to get everything done, but seems to work for me. You know, some people are morning people and some people, like me, just aren't. Although I do have to admit it'll be painful in August to try and get back to the work routine again, leaving for work little after 8 a.m. and getting to bed early enough... But I'll worry about that when the time comes closer. Now I can enjoy my quiet hours of the night, by the computer, reading a book or knitting. Isn't vacation fun?

In a completely unrelated matter, I have something to confess. I just love Indiska and I think I'm somewhat addicted to it. Ok, so anyone who knows me around here, knew this already, but I just had to say it out loud. :) You know, "Hi, my name is N.N. and I'm an Indiska-shopaholic." Luckily I don't usually have the money to shop too much anywhere, so my Indiska addiction has been pretty well under control. But sometimes, ah well, the body is weak.

My latest purchases include a surprising item - a lime green piece of clothing. I never, ever thought I could wear anything lime green, but turned out it suits me just fine. I bought a Indian style longer tunic of the colour and I'm already guessing it'll be my favourite piece of summer wear this year. With matching jewelry. :)

How shallow can a person be? I feel utterly ridiculous being so happy about something I bought. But well, I had to buy myself some summer clothes anyway and wouldn't it be awful if I didn't like what I purchased? I suppose it all comes down to the simple joys of life again. I'm easily pleased and not particularly afraid to confess I'm a materialist, at least to some extent. Now if I could only find some nice (and sort of cheap) summer shoes to match... ;)

But so that everyone will see that I haven't become a total airhead, there are also some more serious matters I've been pondering lately. Reading my thesis related books and listing the documents I'll be needing has lead me to wonder whether it'd actually be cheaper for me to fly RyanAir to London for a couple of days to go to the archives myself.

Ordering copies of all the relevant documents is going to be awfully expensive, I'm afraid. First there's a £10 fee for an official estimate of how many copies I will be needing from the National Archives where most of the letters and documents of Henry VIII's reign are kept. Then every batch of copies (I do still have to find out what kind of number of copies is included in a batch, or series) costs another £10 and so on. So let's say I need to order some five or six sets of copies (which to me sounds like an underestimation of huge proportions), the sum would be some £70. Quickly calculated that makes a bit over 100€. Then I can consider the RyanAir flights, around 30€ one way to London. Naturally I would have to spend at least one night in England, if I'm really, really optimistic about the amount of quick copying I can get done in a day (provided everything goes nicely in the archives of the Order and the National Archives), and that will naturally be more than 40€, even in the best case scenario. But still, if I need more copies than six batches, it all suddenly becomes more reasonable to consider going "on location". Besides, if I go to the archives myself, I can avoid copying irrelevant stuff, which isn't the case when ordering copies based on a short description of the document.

This really is bothering me quite a bit. In any case I'm probably going to have to rely on mom&dad's help to pay for the stuff (and I'm not even thinking about the printing costs of the actual thesis later on) and it bugs me that I have to begin to count my cents to finish my studies. And to think that some people get paid to do a thesis... Ah, the injustices of the world. What is a poor historian to do, but to quietly empty her pockets to the altar of research, hoping in vain for some compensation for her troubles... (I just have to keep thinking about the better income from teaching after I graduate. Which helps a lot, in fact.)

And another point to ponder. One of the key studies I'm now almost done reading mentions the Order only once in a footnote and a name of a high ranking official of the Order is mentioned once, as well. Woohoo. A lot of good it does for me. Except for teaching me a valuable lesson in research semantics. The Order is not a religious order by the definition of this particular study, which in every other way is excellent and extensive.

In other words, my research really seems to be falling into a "research void", which of course is what every historian hopes. I just hope it doesn't prove to be too great an obstacle (/challenge) for my puny thesis to overcome. God, that'd be horrible if I couldn't actually write my thesis on this topic. That'd mean I'd have to switch topics basically "in flight" and then put it together in less than two months' time. Keep your fingers crossed that it won't come to that... Yikes.

Anyway, I'm feeling rather optimistic about everything (well, perhaps not about the business economics exam in August, heh) and plan on working accordingly. Hopefully I'll be able to have that graduation party around the 21st of October. Just don't hold your breath quite yet.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Kinda like summer vacation

My first full academic year of teaching comes to an end this Saturday. I'm facing a 2 month unemployment period (aka the summer vacation I don't actually have) during which I'm employing myself by writing my thesis (which, sadly, doesn't pay me a cent).

However, I'm actually looking forward to digging into my research, because it means I don't have to teach anyone for two and a half months... Ah, no students of any age until mid-August! :) Just me and my laptop (got a brand new one last week, yay!) and my research stuff. The thought is very motivating and oddly relaxing, although I know it's going to be a lot of work. Especially since I have to take a few exams during the summer months, too. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll finally pass the accursed business economics exam and the exam on political sciences. I have no worries over the exam in Finnish history, but these other two... Urgh. But I simply have to pass this time, because I won't have time to retake them in the fall.

So, I'm eagerly looking forward to my summer vacation of sorts. At least I can plan my own schedules and don't have to grade any papers! And come next summer, I'll actually get a paycheck during the summer months too. The thought makes me very happy already a year in advance. Small joys of life. :)