Saturday, March 16, 2013

Memory Box High school

Today I finished working on my life history for my high school years. Just like I've thought writing the narratives in Turkish got easier but I still look forward to telling the story of my life in the US in English. I'm afraid writing in English still comes more natural to me.
Today I took photos of my old high school photos and other artifacts I could find from that period. I wonder what my committee members think about me including visual materials in the dissertation. It is something I have to figure out before I start working on the findings section. I wish I could scan the photos for better quality but oh well there are so many of them and I cannot afford to scan them all, nor do I have access to a scanner. I think it's going to be okay though because the main focus of my dissertation is my graduate study and my photos from that period are digital already. I had also scanned my readings and my annotations on the margins before I left West Lafayette. So I'm not worried about that part of my data. It's the past that is somewhat time consuming because my data is from a different era, technologically speaking of course--ehem...not that I'm ancient ^_^.
Anyway, I also looked at my memory box and found some artifacts that I kept, things like my diary (YAY!), some presents from friends, report cards etc. Ha ha I even found my Prom dress and I have no idea what to do with that :-) Anyway, I'm so grateful that I still have all these things. I have never thought that one day these items in my memory box would be part of an ethnography like this. In fact, I wasn't even sure if my Mom kept all these. After all I was gone for seven years.
Anyway, here are some examples from my memory box. I wish I could remember where I read about this memory box method in the literature. I'm sure I will figure it out eventually but I simply cannot remember it now.

my diary
a book of poems
Actually the book was the award for a poetry competition. A note from my literature teacher inside the book cover
a present from a friend
my high school diploma
my doodle which looks alarmingly depressing :-)
And here are some photos from my graduation ceremony and prom night

My literature teacher
after party

Çırağan Palace

my friend and I
 My prom was at Çırağan Palace, which was a real Ottoman Palace once. How cool is that, right? One of the best things about Istanbul is its historical places. If you ever come to Istanbul you should definitely visit this beautiful place, which is a five-star hotel now.
spring cleaning
After I took pictures of my writing samples I got rid of them, that is after saving them to my laptop and two different places I can access online, Google photos and google drive. I only got rid of my own writing but kept the photos and documents like my grade cards and diplomas. I felt like doing some spring cleaning and I hope I don't regret this decision (fingers crossed). It's just these papers are so old and I don't even have a permanent apartment. Some of my stuff are still in boxes and suitcases. So being the nomad I am I want to be as light as possible.
Oh one more thing, as I digitize and organize my data, I also work on my methodology section. This way, I'm hoping that I won't forget the methodological decisions I'm making. I also took some preliminary notes or jotted down some memos regarding my observations related to my research questions. So I have some notes about identity and literacy for each period I have been working on. I will explore these issues related to identity and literacy later in the findings sections but for now I'm just taking notes so that I don't forget my preliminary observations, in case I miss them later.
Alright this is all for today from my research journal. The real one is more detailed of course but I want to share at least part of the process (and data) hoping that if I'm doing something wrong you can point that out to me before its too late. I also want to document the process a little both for myself and for others who might be interested. Writing these public blog entries help me reflect on my experience. Who knows maybe some time later we might both laugh about all the pitfalls I could have avoided, or barely avoided. This is a learning experience for me since narrative inquiry is new to me and I have no claim of doing it right. So I appreciate any feedback you can give me. In fact I'm counting on it.

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