Thursday, September 24, 2009

Opportunity Lost, Opportunity Found

One of the items on my bucket list is to go on an archaeological dig. I've always felt disappointed in myself that I didn't finish my anthropology degree. Heck, I didn't even come close to finishing. There were big roadblocks. I had no money and although I was perfectly capable I'd underachieved in high school, just enough to make me ineligible for the scant amount of scholarships that were available at the time (and rarer loans). Remember, we're talking the dark ages here.

Fast forward thirty years when I find myself taking another anthropology class, just out of interest this time. At fifty-something years old I wasn't about to re-enter college and even if that thought had entered my mind, my resources were otherwise occupied.

The class was great. I enjoyed the writing that was involved and according to the professor, I excelled. That's not hard to do when you're sitting in a class of young kids who aren't taking anything seriously, least of all the work involved. I was attacking it with a vengeance born of lost opportunity. The kids in the class were tolerating it, unaware of how stinking lucky they were to have the opportunity to get an education.

The semester was over and I was happy to receive an A. To my surprise the professor e-mailed me and offered me a position on a dig team that would be working in Sicily that summer.

"WHAT??? Me?? Archaeological dig in SICILY??"

Talk about exciting. THAT was exciting. It doesn't matter that "working on a dig team in Sicily" was secret code for, "We need an able-bodied, enthusiastic slave for six weeks who's willing to pay their own way."

The Farmer laughed. "HA. You can't do that."

I was sad.

He was right.

There was the little matter of my job. I frantically thought of ways that I could pitch this to the publisher.

"Mark, I could write a first person journal type account of my adventure and you could publish the entries as a human interest story in the newspaper. 'Local mom digs at important indigenous third Bronze Age town.' Don't you see how interesting that would be?"

There was a problem. I didn't write human interest stories for the newspaper. I wrote advertorial and sold advertising. That wasn't the deal killer though. I couldn't dig in Sicily because my own children were now in college and I was responsible for pay rents, tuition and wildly expensive textbooks.

I my mind I envisioned the Soup Nazi yelling, "NO SICILY FOR YOU".

There was no Sicily for me. I quickly descended from the clouds of possibility to the realities of life. The Farmer compensated by planning vacations to Central American spots where we could climb Mayan temples and gaze at ruins.

Another dig opportunity has presented itself and it's much closer to home. It doesn't involve a crash course in Italian, just a short 8 mile drive to Garfield Farm in La Fox, Illinois. Starting today they'll be digging at the location of the original log cabin tavern. The cellar will be excavated to determine the contents.

I've volunteered to be an unpaid slave, not so able-bodied but enthusiastic nonetheless.

Another cup of coffee, some comfortable shoes and I'm off to my "opportunity found".

18 comments:

Ang. said...

Neat!! My oldest daughter was supposed to go to a dig in our tiny town today as part of her local history class. Of course, it is raining. Its neat that the remains of Ft. Johnson were found in the backyard of my son's classmate though.

Mim said...

Good for you Suzanne! I hope it's a great experience for you.

Becky said...

Wear yourself out with a big smile on your face!!!! Enjoy.

Leslie T. said...

Very cool! I can't wait to find out what you unearth!

Susan said...

Good for you! Patience is such a virtue, and now it pays off. And, don't give up on the "big" dig yet. Anything is possible.

Anonymous said...

Way to go!!! Suck it up and savor every darn second of it!!!!

Kathy

Diva Kreszl said...

may your opportunity to travel to Sicily return at a time in your life when it is indeed possible to go!!!

Jenni said...

Good for you, Suzanne! I'm so excited for you! It will be a lot of dirty work, but I think you will love it.

I've mentioned here before about how I found the KATP field school and have been able to participate several times. That was such a dream come true for me. I was disappointed when it didn't work out for me to go this year, but there is always next year. Although I think I've pretty much decided that I would not want to make a living as an archaeologist, I do enjoy every aspect of the work, learning about something I'm interested in, and meeting so many wonderful people who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise.

A lot of times opportunities like this are expensive, even if all you have to do is pay for your transportation, lodging, and meals. There are several very inexpensive options right here in the U.S., though. Kansas, Arkansas, and Texas have the best deals I've found, but I was also looking for places close to me.

Karen Deborah said...

You are an amazing talented and energetic woman. Your boss is a nut not to have you writing stories for the paper, does he read your blog?

Lori said...

How fun for you! Be sure and tell us all about it.

LDF said...

Too cool! I have an anthropology degree (although I work in non-profit, very un-anthropology-related), and I haven't had any fab opportunities like that arise recently. Enjoy!

Cottage Rose said...

Hey Suzanne;;; Even though you were not able to full fill your dream.. how exciting just to be asked,,,,, he thought you were smart enough to go in the first place, not many get that kind of invitation... so pat your self on the back,, miss.. and the dig with the log cabin,,, I would love to be able to do something like that.. hope you take lots of photos,, and have fun.....

Hugs;
Alaura

Cindy said...

Sounds like an awesome opportunity, Suzanne. Be sure to let us know what you find.

Nance said...

I am envious. Get out there! Enjoy! Learn! and then tell us about it. Please.

Thirkellgirl said...

Yay!!! And I bet this is only the first dig you're invited on. :)

The Southern Housewife said...

So so cool!! How did you find such opportunities? I'd love to take some courses and be able to go on digs. Please email me so we can chat if you have time! :)

her southern charm

at

gmail

BettyWestern said...

'No Sicily for you'..ha ha ha, that raised a chuckle. Few people this side of the pond would get that but when you have named your dogs Newman & Kramer....

Love stopping by your pages although I rarely comment. I too was once an aspiring archaeologist - your pics brought back many memories. If you're keen, I have some old books I'd be happy to send over - let me know. Betty.

Silvia said...

What the hell is a Soup Nazi?