It's been several days of the ASA conference and I've been enjoying talking with people and going to sessions pretty much non-stop. I've somehow reached the stage where I'm part of the community--and probably could have been there much sooner if I'd had more confidence in myself.
But even though I still haven't filed the dissertation, the fact is that going through the ceremony changed the way I thought about myself. Realizing that I have a place in Jewish Studies--as a competent sociologist--has allowed me to feel grounded. Developing the next project--which I'm starting to do--gives me a new focus (and yes, I haven't forgotten all that remains to be done, but being to think about that new project is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing at the same time I'm finishing other stuff).
And in the mean time--it's New York and, for someone like me, who loves to watch people, it's great. I ran into a former office mate who said she's had a revelation: she realized that she feels the same way walking around New York as people who wax rhapsodic about nature feel about taking hikes. Me too. Put me in nature and I'll enjoy it, but it won't engage me the way people-watching in Akko, in Jerusalem, in New York does. Which, given my field and interests, makes perfect sense.
And the food--have I mentioned the food? I ate in a pretty basic way in Israel--eating is largely social for me (except for breakfast--don't get between me and my coffee and paper!), so it just wasn't that fun. In New York though, there's food EVERYWHERE--on the street corners, in small shops, in fancy restaurants--and there are people with whom to share it. So, yeah, I'm making up for lost time. And loving it. Especially the chicken-oxtail Puerto Rican stew last night...
That's enough for now--time to get ready for the penultimate day!