I always have mixed feelings here. While I get a lot of work done in Jerusalem (Ram Frost's lab and everyone in it are incredible), it's always a bit oppressive to live in Jerusalem. Usually I'm able to enjoy the focus on work - including this time - but getting out of here is always a relief, too, given the situation in Israel and Palestine. Today will be our last day in the lab for this trip, and we'll be wrapping up some very productive time. It's hard to overstate how wonderful all the people in the lab always are.
We woke up today to a very exciting email regarding our entry in Tucson's xeriscape contest, sponsored by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. From the award ceremony script:
Work in Jerusalem continues apace. Priming experiment items are almost selected, and remain to be recorded, spliced, and programmed into DMDX. The two word familiarity experiments are coming along well too - items are being vetted by expert teams of native speakers for both Hebrew and Arabic. But today's potentially very exciting news concerns Maltese. A hugely important warning, though: the data you are about to see described have not been through any process of outlier removal, and no statistical analyses have been run. Translation: take this with a grain of salt.
Well, I can't say I was thrilled to get on a plane to Israel on June 1. The previous day involved some rather scary events in and near Israel, and it was hard to know whether things would worsen. It's always a bit tricky for me to be here - the "situation" tends to constantly feel on the verge of worsening to the point of becoming dangerous, or at least crossing a line of comfort for me. At the same time, we have a lot of work to do on Hebrew and Arabic, and I know no more productive place to get such work done than in Ram Frost's incredible lab. Each day in the lab feels as productive as an entire week at home, if not more, and I really appreciate the chance to come work here.
It's the eve of our departure from Malta, and we've run 253 subjects so far. We are 17 short of completing the last experiment, and may get to run a few more tonight. I am pretty darn satisfied with our productivity here, and can't quite grasp that I have been here for four weeks - the time has flown by! And in a good way; I've been busy and engaged the entire time. Part of that is due to having various visitors come and stay with us for periods of our time here, and part of it is due to simply being so busy with work.
It's the middle of my third week here - by this time next week, I'll be getting ready to start packing and head out. Things have been going fine, aside from a nasty stomach bug I picked up recently. Interestingly, three out of four times that I have come to Malta I've gotten something similar. Luckily my Maltese friends, not to mention two Arizona students staying with me, are extremely helpful and friendly and offer a lot in the way of care and sympathy. I'm mostly better now, which is a relief - I essentially couldn't leave the apartment for 48 hours. Ah, the apartment - we're in a "new" apartment for this one week (the usual one happened to be booked, so we had to move out and will move back in this coming weekend). This new place is very conveniently located, just around the corner from the other place and sort of has a sea view. It's one of the older, original Sliema two-story town houses, which has some benefits and some drawbacks. It's quite charming, but...there's almost no water pressure in my shower, and the owners recently removed all the plaster and paint from the beautiful limestone block walls inside, so there is dust everywhere. And there's some weird mold growing on the grout between the blocks downstairs - that's a bit icky. It's cheaply furnished in such a way that everything feels flimsy. As a fellow vacation-rental owner, I almost feel obliged to draw up a list of things to improve for the owner. Almost.