Three weeks into my research here and I feel like I've accomplished so much, yet so little. Part of me believes that I'm not taking full advantage of my time here by being in the archives from 9-5. Due to my insomnia, most mornings I make it in between 10 and 11. And I try to work diligently until the archives close, but usually I have to call it a day once my camera battery dies or I have to wait on documents to arrive the next day.
I also took Saturday off to go into Central London. My landlord, Fios, took me around to all the major sites and tried to get me acclimated to the public transportation. I saw Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, The National Gallery (which I got to actually go into when I went back to London on Monday with Claire), Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, London Bridge, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Queen's Walk, the Soho area, and then when Claire took me on Monday, I saw Picadilly. I took a lot of pictures, but I didn't really get to take my time yet. I plan on going back, whenever I can, by myself to explore a bit more. It'd be better, too, if I had more money to go into some of these places. The museums, for the most part, are free. But it costs money to go on the Eye or into St. Paul's Cathedral. And I really want to tour the Tower of London.
Overall I'm really enjoying myself and I've taken at least a thousand pictures of documents so far. How much of this is going to be useful (and how long it's going to take me to transcribe any of it) remains to be determined. This is my first real research venture, so it's taking me a while to really figure out where I should be searching and what I should hold onto and what I should let go. And now that I've been accepted into the Mid-Atlantic Conference on British Studies for March 23-24, I really have to get my butt in gear and get a paper together. I'm hoping that perhaps the information I've got on Bermuda might be a good way to get a short conference paper. And then maybe it can be turned into something of a journal article.
As beautiful as this place is and as much as I could see myself here for a long time, I think the combination of insomnia, stress, and depression has put a bit of a cloud over everything. Even with all the people I've met, it's quite lonely business being a scholar. And I certainly haven't been taking the best care of myself, I imagine. It's difficult being in a foreign place on a budget when you're trying to eat healthily and exercise. I've consumed more caffeine, I think, than is natural for any human being! Skinny lattes have become something of a meal for me; anything that can keep me going through these documents. By the time I finally get used to it here, I'll have to leave. And perhaps it would be better if I were here with loved ones and friends. In any case, this is the end of my pity party. I'm in London for God's sake! And I love it.