Welcome. :)

Welcome to my blog. Here I share my successes and failures along my journey to becoming an anthropologist. My most prominent interest anthropologically are the new approaches to handing food security/healthy eating in the US, particularly in urban "food deserts". I enjoy the Anthropology of Tourism as well; combining food and tourism has scholarly promise. My other interests which have converted into anthropological hobbies of sorts include converts to Islam, diaspora of Muslims, and MENA in general. I also have some interest in historical archaeology.

I welcome comments, discussion and even respectful debating. I will however keep discussions to a respectable level. I reserve the right to ban anyone from this forum.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Job woes

Well, it has been about 9 days since I was let go from my job. I feel more at peace. I hated that job. I now have another problem-the problem of finding a job with a firing behind me. Honestly, that is the truth, I just want it to be behind me. I have learned some lessons from that job that I can take with me to the future. I don't hate them or wish them ill-I just want them (as they indicated to me) to not fight the unemployment.

I will be working on looking for a job and studying for the GRE more aggressively beginning tomorrow. My days will consist of physical therapy, breakfast, job hunting for 7-8 hrs and winding down with some GRE studying for an hour. I am planning on taking the GRE studying in small "bites". Now to figure out how to pay for it!

Have a peaceful day everyone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I am back!!

To the few readers I have, I want to say......I am back! I want to say that I graduated May 2011. It was a glorious time. My father and my stepmother came down from Chicago to spend the time with me. It was an amazing feeling to walk across that stage and to know that I made it to the next step.

What's next you ask? I contemplated jettisoning graduate school and just finding a career I could be relatively at peace with but working where I work will not give me what I need. I am not working in my field at all; I am unfulfilled. I have had some time to reevaluate what I want and where I want to be in my life. I have made a solid decision on what I want to do. I want to (even at my age), move on into a graduate program in anthropology.

With my short background in tourism, one would think that I would want to follow that path for graduate work. However, I have decided on a different trajectory for the future. I have a strong background in food product development and an interest in food systems. One trend or change I have seen in not only Orlando, but across the country is urban farming/gardens.

I am interested in studying urban farming from a bio-cultural perspective. In general, I would like to study the extent to which they are avenues to increase sustainability and independence for residents of low income communities. The biological aspect I am interested in would be to take bio-markers from the residents to study if the food they are eating is improving health compared to those who are not utilizing food from the garden. In addition, I have have questions about the farms' initiatives affect on community identity. These are just general ideas; I am narrowing them down over time.

So...I will save more for another time. It is good to be back. :)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Possible future publication

Publications are part of the deal when accepting a tenored position at a uni. It is expected one will complete research and then-PUBLISH. :) Well, many undergrads are not offered the opportunity to publish and I have been and I am super thrilled about it!

I am a second author for an article in an online journal based out of the UK focused on archaeology. My portion discussed authenticity in the tourism sector specifically related to Orange County, Florida; it connected the past tourism with the present.

http://presentpasts.info/index.php/pp/index (the journal)

The changes the editor wanted my mentor to make were out of his expertise per se; they related to cultural anthropology basically. I spent 3 solid days pouring over books and journals in addition to utilizing my knowledge about tourism to make this happen.

Obviously, I will post it for all to see once it is in press. :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Contemplating the next move after graduation

People graduating from colleges and universities now are graduating in uncertain and changing times, and frankly, fearful ones. The rush of applicants into master's programs I am suspecting is at an all time high; although, I have not completed any research on it.

Anyhow, I will be part of this phenomenon and will too apply to a master's program. I will however shock many of my readers when I say that it is not an anthropology program but an MBA in Sustainable Business with a concentration on Natural and Organic Resources. This move stems from many factors. For one, I find that the future of social sciences in academia to be sketchy at best based upon some of the reading I have done. It is common for job cuts to be concentrated within social sciences first. While I am not focusing on the negative, I am of the belief that I can combine my passion for organic farming/eating well with buisness so I can make a solid living and also make a difference practically while being socially and environmentally responsible.

While I want to look at more than one program, I think I will be applying to this school (it is online) for my MBA.


I am beginning to put it all together. My background in food science, with an anthropology degree and an MBA is quite a blend but I believe that this is a positive move for me!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The march toward graduation

I know I have not posted anything lately regarding school, my life (school is my life) or anything inbetween. I decided that I will now. It is Saturday morning. O dark 30.:) It's 6:30 am. I am still in the phase of waking up early due to my substitute teaching job and early classes. One more semester bites the dust and I have one more to finish before throwing that cap in the air! Some days, I cannot believe that *it* has arrived. Here are some updates on what I have been doing....

School news
I took 3 classes this semester and worked 30-40 hours a week, and accomplished 15 hours of volunteer work, not to mention my ethnographic field work early in the semester. I earned all A's this semester, news that makes me pleased with my progress.
3 classes registered for in the Spring, Human Origins, Tourism Impact Analysis, and Native American Religions. The former will be alot of work while the later two should be easy.

I attended the American Anthropological Association national conference in New Orleans in November!! The trip took a huge financial sacrifice but it was worth every penny. I showed a poster and it was early in the morning in the "hodgepodge" section (not really but it felt like it was in an odd place). I did not have as many visitor's as I would have liked BUT the ones I did have asked alot of questions. Of course, I could make a whole post about my full experience and I just may do that soon.

I wrote my first ethnography and frankly, I am going to rewrite it soon. I need to for the publication. The quantitative data will obviously not change but I need to re-work the qualitative portion of it. I also am entering it into a student paper contest for the Society of Economic Anthropologists. I think my supervisor will help me on that.

Well,I will try and write some more detailed posts soon,seeing as though I have 2 weeks off and no job!!

the anthrogeek10

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: 'The Bread of Angels'

I want to say that this is more of a book discussion opposed to a book review. I just wanted to say that I KNOW this is not scholarly! :-)

Book Review: ‘The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith’ written by Stephanie SaldaƱa
Publisher: Doubleday, New York; 2010
Genre: Memoir

“Above all, a love story…a page- turner that keeps you up nights.”-Geraldine Brooks

Yesterday, I finished reading one of the most powerful books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. That statement speaks volumes because I am a real “book worm” and have been since childhood thanks to my parents. After reading this book, I spent a day having the book marinate within my soul and today, I decided on the spur of the moment to blog about it. Blogging about it is not designed to help sell more of her books; although, in my view, this book deserves to be moved to the NYT Best Seller List. This blog post is an informal book review (opposed to a scholarly one) to discuss my impressions about the book and how it has affected me.

Stephanie, the writer of the book, wrote this memoir of her time in Syria between 9/04 and 9/05. Stephanie arrived in Syria by way of a Fulbright Scholarship while she was attending Harvard University in Boston, Mass, U.S.A for an M.A in Theology at the Divinity School. At the time, she was in a failing relationship with a Harvard PhD candidate studying Russian Studies so the scholarship was an amazing ticket (unbeknownst to her at the time) out of that situation. Moreover, it was a time for her to not only complete the Fulbright work but to also reassess her life and spiritual direction.

The book opens with Stephanie arriving in Damascus looking for a permanent place to live so she gravitated to the Christian Quarter of the city and began knocking on doors. She eventually found an affordable room for rent at “the Baron’s” home. The Baron is a Christian Arabic speaking man who was instrumental in giving her practice at Arabic and being a cultural guide and a protector, especially in the first few months. As readers, were are eloquently taken along the journey of her cultural mistakes, namely language ones!

Stephanie felt a great need to get away from it all at around the 6 month mark and embark to the monastery, about an hour and a half away from Damascus. She went through a long fasting and spiritual cleansing period and in that time met a young man who was about to take his final vows of chastity, per Roman Catholic tradition. The man was French and as Stephanie described him, “a beautiful man”. They seemed to have a great friendship and obvious attraction right from the beginning. During that time, she thought she should be a nun but congruently felt a strong need to get married and have children. She was certainly faced with conflicting emotions.

The Fulbright work she was funded to do appear to take a back seat in the book; something that disappointed and surprised me. It was not a focus of the story until the middle of the book when she met with a female sheik in the city who was instrumental in helping Stephanie learn more about Islam as a faith and of course, Jesus’ role as a prophet in Islam. She develops a close relationship with the sheikha and eventually is called upon at the end of her year in Syria to teach English to young Muslim women in the madrassa for girls and women that the sheikha was instrumental in starting. That in itself, as she mentions in the book, shows the tolerance and respect the sheikha has for all people of the Book.

I will not give too much away here because the surprises throughout are part of the joy of reading this book. I found it engaging and full of hope that love, whether spiritual or human, can arrive without warning and can be achieved. Let’s just say that I cried at the end.  My own personal spiritual growth has been a work in progress and I still struggle on a day to day basis with the divine. I also have struggles with my own self image and at times, self-esteem. Stephanie may have thought she was running away from her past but she was running torward a new beginning at life.

In closing, I found her storytelling to be creative, engaging and full of life! I recommend it to anyone who is on their own spiritual growth quest or is interested in insightful personal experiences of an American abroad or, like me, who just is sometimes happy with a darn good love story!

How have you struggled with your mistakes?
Do you question God's (however you define 'God') providence, especially during times of struggle?
Has learning about or spending time with others from a different belief structure or culture helped you see your own a bit more clearly?

Opened up to all

I have opened my blog up to all once again. I may set up a private blog for invited readers. Soon, I will be presenting a book review of a wonderful book I read recently called 'The Bread of Angels'. I should be finishing it up tonight.