she said when I met her on Maui (or at least that’s how I remember it, of course my brain was going “yeeee, Hawaii!!!” the whole time I was there). (And she’s amazing, but that’s a story for another post.)
“I work for the Ministry of Labor, but really, I edit/translate articles and theses for a living,” is what I told my friends I work together with on ASEAS, the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies. After an editorial meeting on the forthcoming issue on “Conflict Dynamics and Transformations” (call for papers open till 15 Dec, btw) I’m working on as the managing editor, and our annual general assembly where I reported on the finances in my role of auditor, we were walking to a bar to have our well-deserved christmas party.
Now, on the face of it, sea turtles beat public service, and songwriting adding commas every time, and my life just sounds incredibly busy and boring. But all I could think of the whole time was how much I fucking loved it – yes, the State paying me so little for 40h/week that technically, I earn below the poverty line, is pretty despicable (n.b., as a lawyer…). But then, I actually, consciously, of sound mind and so on, chose that job over working at a law firm. I just didn’t feel like working 60+h/week with mean people. Instead, my job in labor migration law even lets me combine my two degrees in law and anthropology, and I love it. I don’t take my work home with me, and if you get up early enough, there’s quite some hours in the week (to translate. to edit. even to summarize movies). Though – note to self – students as a client base is kind of a stupid idea because they themselves are mostly poor. I just kind of got roped into editing since I love language, languages, and grammar and getting paid for it for a change felt good. (If you’re curious, have a look at my new editing site still under construction but accepting feedback and orders.)
But I digress. Really, what I wanted to describe was that wonderful, warm and fuzzy feeling I got, sitting in a bar over my coconut curry and second spritzer, taking time out from the conversation to just look around at my colleagues and friends and listen to different strands of conversation, mostly to watch the cloud of interdisciplinary discussion over our heads: because I’m me, and my mind wanders, I imagined different theories in different colors and fonts. (And all of this took place in a matter of two seconds and just made me smile and feel blessed before I went on to my next “yeah, but…”; not in a way that would make a random passer-by give me the side eye and move on to the next bar.) Sitting there with a geographer who was on national television as a Thailand expert a few days ago, a political scientist who just got a postdoc position and positively spouts theory and critique and logic, an anthropologist who just spent a year in Indonesia while managing editor of her issue and getting a prize for it, too, and… well guys you’re all so amazing, I can’t do you all justice in a blog post. This could all make me feel incredibly inadequate, just at the beginning of my PhD, but all I felt was bliss. And so happy to be a part of it.
I think all I was really trying to say was… I love my friends, and I love my life. Thanks for being a part of it and making it richer. :*