One of the fulbrighters from last year is still lingering here, finishing up her research, preparing for a big move to switzerland with just a brief stay across the pond. She was kind enough to interduce us to local friends and researchers. At the bar I met her friend who is working on his Phd dissertation in the Balkans with a focus on how civil society and NGOS engage in post-conflict truth and reconciliation/transitional justice issues. We began speaking about Belgrade, and regional youth comissions, and common friends or names we knew. He asked many questions about my research and I fumbled with my words while trying to force some cohesive themes out into the thick-smoke-filled air... I felt inexperienced and young! There is an exclaimation point because rarely do I feel awfully 'young', but I have practically no experience doing this kind of research, it's like I'm playing house, but playing researcher instead. He responded positively to my project, "it's interesting" he said sure enough, but he also provided some really constructive feedback. To connect with another young person doing research and to hear about their own path and work helps me construct a framework to place myself in and understand my own goals and limitations. And so the web of connections and friends grows and hopefully multiples. I went home, to my dorm, feeling full and finally feeling like my feet were on some sort of ground, even if its still a bit wobbly or swampy at times.
Like katie, reading, finally, "If on a winters' night", oh the lovely words.