I've had a good mix so far of study, contemplation, and other work. I've met twice with my advisor Robert, and we've discussed the following:
- how to read a primary text
- how to employ and cite the secondary literature
- the difference between primary commentaries and next-tier works (i.e. Cambridge Companions)
- the difference between masters and doctoral level work in terms of originality and authority
- whether Aquinas was more influenced by Aristotle or Augustine
- the difference between gluttony and greed
- the difference between historical research for its own sake, and that which aims to inform a contemporary discussion
- what the working title of my work should be, something like 'An Historical Recovery of the Virtue of Temperance for Use in Contemporary Discussions of Consumption'
We've also had other, equally esoteric conversations on the following topics:
- whether or not we liked the movie Brokeback Mountain, and why
- our respective ages when we first saw a Star Wars film (Maria-6, Robert-44)
- where his soon-to-arrive telly should reside in their living room
- the difference between a yorkshire pudding and a dinner roll
- the first 'bad' words we heard our kids say (sh*t v. bugger)
- how americans think about houses in square feet, and brits just say small, medium, large
- the similarity between a british choc ice and a dairy queen dip cone
I also had the opportunity to help him finish painting the kids' room at their church. It was fun to do something more mundane, and get the chance to chat about all kinds of stuff, and it felt very much like the kind of life-sharing we do at Communality. We then went back to his place and I was invited to stay to tea with the family. It was just a great time, talking parenting with Robert and Margaret, playing with their cat Sparky, and getting to know their kids, Iona and Jamie, even better. They're just really cool people.
- attending morning prayer, midday communion, and evensong at the Cathedral
- enjoying the crisp weather
- fish and chips with tons of vinegar and salt from Bimbi's on the square -- a perenniel Durham favorite!
- wandering through the Durham Indoor Market, checking out the cool chutneys and jams
- discussing Shane Claiborne's book and the new monasticism with Margaret and Robert
- chatting with the nice staff at my B&B about Durham and the UK in general
Anti-highlight: Not having anyone from my daily life here, with me, with whom to share this experience.