Saturday, 22 September 2012

A Saturday Afternoon Stroll

On the rare chance that I find myself with a few moments to spare I like to take time to reflect on the weeks events. For me a leisurely stroll through Keels provides this much needed time for rest and contemplation. I think about what I am here to do and how I am going to confront my fear of that first interview, which is now looming closer and closer.

Street view of Keels from beside the Anglican Church
 (Photograph: Noah Morritt)
These walks, however, are not often moments of solitary reflection. Even in what I think are the most remote and removed parts of town I will stumble upon someone ready to chat. Over the past two weeks I have had some of the most interesting chats with people from Keels and other Newfoundlanders who are either from other communities or visiting from other parts of Canada. It is amazing how readily they are prepared to talk, and their stories often frame Keels life in very different perspectives. Upon reflection, these serendipitous meetings along the ATV trail or beside the berry patch are some of the most important. Often questions such as "when did you leave Newfoundland," or "were you ever involved in the fishery" result in a wealth of information. Perhaps I am more prepared for my first interview than I give myself credit for, but I do not think that anything can fully alleviate the recurring worry that I am going to completely mess up. After the final "goodbye" and "nice chatting to you" I go on my way, now with something completely new to think about.

As I finally begin to approach Keels I often find myself thinking about the people I meet and the buildings that I see. They seem to have become more familiar. What used to be just the quick friendly "hello," and "nice weather we're having" have become full length conversations and questions about the field school and our progress. I have read all about the process of building rapport in ethnographic fieldwork, but these guidebooks seem like some confusing mind maze. Instead, my entry into the world of ethnographic fieldwork seems to have begun with a simple Saturday afternoon stroll.

An ATV trail in Keels (Photograph: Noah Morritt)

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