Now that I have once again regained the full use of my right hand, I have no excuse for not posting a couple new updated blog entries.
This post will provide a brief update on my life these days in Nepal. I will soon add a follow-up entry with more details on some of the issues related to urbanization, community and society that I am engaging with as I try to write field statements on my research here.
I am still in the final stages of the process of converting my Nepali tourist visa into a study/research visa. The process hasn't exactly been glitch or delay-free, but the recommendation letter from the Nepali Ministry of Education inviting me to apply for a study/research visa has now been processed, so the only remaining step will be for me to take the letter to the Department of Immigration along with my passport to have the new visa stamped.
In the meantime, I am focusing most of my other efforts on learning more basic Nepali language - something that will be crucial to have a stronger grounding in before I head to the villages to do interviews and administer surveys - and I am also working on preparing two field statements, requirements for the comprehensive exams I will be taking in California when I return to the US over the summer.
Right now, I am still in the planning and design stages of the dissertation. I will be administering and implementing the more hands-on portion of the project after taking comprehensive exams this summer, though I will be collecting some preliminary interviews this spring. Thus, most of my working day involves learning Nepali language, and further developing the conceptual framework for the study - something I will need to complete by this summer.
In other news, I will be heading to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a conference on "Transforming Urbanity" from June 9-12 of this year. I submitted an abstract for a conference paper a couple weeks back and just found out I've been invited to give an oral, panel presentation on my research. I am really looking forward to heading to a new country, and am especially glad to have the opportunity to get feedback on my project from regionally-based scholars and practitioners while the dissertation prospectus is still in the development stage.
I will add an entry momentarily with some more thoughts on urbanization and current social issues in the Kathmandu Valley that relate to my research.