Research and Daily Life

Although this blog is not intended to delve into my research, I feel like I should at least say a few things about it. My featured photo is taken at a colorful kindergarten that is not used as a kindergarten because of population declines attributed to soviet rule. This one is used to support foster families as well as families with small children in the community. It is also the place where I have presented my research, am gathering some of my data, and where I take Czech language classes twice a week. So I do some of my research among dolls, trains, puzzles, mini kitchens and on colorful rugs. I’ve gotten rather attached to it.

My first interview was with the director of a children’s home (for 25 years) who also fostered many children of his own, most of them Roma (whom westerners know as “gypsies” but that label is considered pejorative). I had my list of questions for an estimated 45-minute interview with him. I asked the first question and he spoke without pause for the next 3 hours and 15 minutes. But who was tracking anyway? As a qualitative researcher, I’ve encountered this before, but I think it did break the record. The good news is that he was absolutely fascinating!

In case I’ve lost you, I’ll add some pics from my recent autumn bike rides that I take on weekends between doing research. These are along the Odra River. The sign is for frog crossing.

I’m scheduled to collect data from eight NGO’s here and one government agency, plus places in Brno, Prague, and hopefully some other cities around the country.  My team of three professors from two universities plus a doctoral student is great and I’m so thankful for them. The best part about being on sabbatical and a Fulbright scholar is that I can devote my time to research and don’t have to attend any meetings that I haven’t personally scheduled. I’ve given two presentations so far (one was 3 hours) and have two more on the docket in the coming weeks at conferences and workshops here and in Prague. And I’ve got the beginnings of a partnership with some researchers here who might bring some of my non-profit colleagues back to the Czech Republic for more work on best practices in foster care. I hope that comes to fruition.

Most evenings I have something planned, whether it is dinner with a friend, visiting a museum, Czech language class (I also attend another 2 classes per week through the Center for Integration of Foreigners), or, as with my plans for tomorrow, going swimming.


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