At George’s Cafe, church and cafe at the same place
This year for the first time in my life I felt that Mother’s Day was my day too. Here in the UK it is celebrated on 26 March. As a young mum, I want to share my experience of combining the greatest projects in my life: being a mother and doing a PhD.
While not with my family, I am studying in the library. Here in the picture, I am in the newly discovered cafe in the centre of London, George’s Cafe. It is on the premises of an Anglican Church that holds regular Sunday services and runs the primary school.
So here I am in Kaunas, Lithuania. I am attending the 6th International Congress of Belarusian Studies, an academic must for researchers studying Belarus. I am here for the first time in a capacity of a PhD student and want to share my work-in-progress.
Feels a bit excited and I do not know what to expect. Well, I need to give a presentation of my paper, that is for sure. There will be some discussion afterwards, that is for sure.
“PhD tends to isolate, to some extent”, I remember I heard that a lot last year, when have just started my PhD programme. Yes, it does, indeed. We often spend hours in libraries, or at other intellectually-friendly places, studying others’ writings. I consider myself lucky, because my research draws on ethnographic methods and I can work with people, and learn from them.
This summer when I was doing my fieldwork, I explored a bit a Baptist church located in the sleeping area of Minsk. That was the biggest church I have seen so far. It was built in the 1990s, when Protestant communities did not face such building restrictions as they are in place today.
It was Saturday. I entered the church building. It looked quite impressive inside.
The good news is that I got ethics approval from King’s College for my PhD research. Visa, health insurance obtained and tickets purchased. “Now it is time to start my pilot study in Belarus!”, I thought enthusiastically.
The travel itinerary of my trip was simple: Bialystok – Chopin airport in Warsaw by bus and then Warsaw-Minsk by plane.
Unfortunately, a few hours later it turned out that I missed the flight due to visa issues – and that has utterly complicated my further trip to Minsk. Had to change it diametrically the same day.