Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dr. Boots (!) and a talisman

People, I don't know what happened. Last thing I know, I'm writing about my cousin-in-law's wedding and how I'm going to Hamburg, next thing I know, it's nine days later, my husband and I are still watching TV while eating dinner (in this case, "TV" being the first two seasons of 'The Tudors' I wisely bought some years ago), I'm in Hamburg with a capsule wardrobe that makes me weep with its puniness, and I have a doctorate.

... Wait, what?! Yes, it happened, folks. After years of stressing, kvetching, and actually working, I finally have completed my Ph.D. in (what the Germans call) Indologie. Or Indology, for those of you who are English-speakers. And for those of you who don't know what "Indology" is, I like to respond that it's exactly what it sounds like...except usually I'm asked this during job interviews.

Ahem, anyway. So, yeah. Today was my defense. It was scary as hell, at least beforehand, but once I got into my 20-minute, pre-questions presentation (complete with handouts!), I was feeling pretty solid. I had five committee members, my husband, and about ten to fifteen colleagues/friends/total strangers in the room with me. I guess Sanskrit is really popular in Germany? Anyway, after I presented and was asked my (surprisingly easy) questions (my husband and I have come to the conclusion that only my advisor read the entire dissertation), we all were sent outside and then I was told that I'd passed and what my rank was for both the dissertation and the defense.

Now, the funny thing in Hamburg is that I'm not technically supposed to call myself "Doctor" (or, Frau Doktor, in this case) until I publish my dissertation. It could be crappy online Uni-Hamburg publishing, or it could be "real" book publishing (which my nerdy advisor would much prefer, and - frankly - so would I), so in the meantime I'm supposed to call myself "DD," or "Doctor Designata" or something like that. My advisor also informed me that mostly ridiculous pedants adhere to this rule, so I should just go to town. We've talked a little about how to turn my dissertation into a book manuscript and there's a fair amount of work to be done, which will be tough in the near future, but we'll see what I can do.

... It would totally be badass to have a book in print out about my weird subject, no?

On that note, have I ever told you guys that I specialize in erotic poetry?

I'm not kidding.

In other news, today, around my neck, I wore a special piece of jewelry handed down to me by my mother:

Fun fact: the background is my actual dissertation. So you'll have to forgive the flash.

This is the pendant that my mom received on her baptism when she was a baby. I'm shocked at how well the detail turned out, so you can pretty clearly see two angels dipping a child into a font of some sort. If I remember correctly, the white main part is mother-of-pearl and the green bits around the edge are little, now discolored, pearls. The back of the pendant also has details, such as my mom's initials and the date of her baptism. I decided not to feature those because anyone with a rudimentary grasp of Spanish would be able to guess her name and she might not like me showcasing the date of her baptism, which took place some four/five months after her birth. 

Anyway, why did I wear this today? Well, my mother wore this pendant to all of her exams growing up in Argentina, right through to her final exams when she received her final degree in her subject. When my grandmother brought the pendant from Argentina one summer, I started doing the same, although became rather lax in the practice until graduate school. I definitely wore that pendant during my qualifying oral exams. I've worn it to a few other "tests," such as medical tests and whatnot, but I knew this summer that I was packing it to Europe with me just for today. 

And it worked! 

... well, I'll be. 

PS - I've been an awful internet-slacker these past few days, people. It's mostly because A) I've been busy and scared, and B) I've been lazy. I've barely checked my feed, I've not commented anywhere, and - as you can tell - haven't updated since Greece. Most of this has to do with the fact that Hamburg is so boring that I spend my days on Facebook. It also doesn't help that we're in a one-room studio this summer, so that my husband is always there when I even contemplate taking outfit pictures. I'm not a very brave fashion blogger. Let's hope, now that the stress level has gone down, that I'll be better. I'll try! 


  1. Dr. Boots, I congratulate you on your doctorate in Indology! 'Tis richly deserved, so do please bask in it as long as you like.

  2. P.S. Won't you have to change the name of your blog to Dr. Chalkdust and Boots?

  3. CONGRATULATIONS! (I had to shout so you'd hear me across the Atlantic)

    You've accomplished something amazing, and you should be so insanely proud of the work you've done.

    In high school I used to wear a silver sand dollar necklace with a picture of Nick from the Backstreet Boys taped to the back (it was a joke gift, but it worked. Don't ask...) and then later I took to wearing a Chinese coin that was my grandmothers. A little talisman can work wonders.


  4. Yahootie! Congrats, DOCTOR Boots :D

  5. Wow, way to go DDC&B! That's awesome. How does it feel to be done?

    And what a cool story about the pendant!

  6. Many congratulations, Dr. Boots! As I told you in Beantown, I never had any doubt that you would rock your defense.

  7. Huge congratulations! I'm a longtime lurker (I just eat up clothing blogs by academics). I'm doing my PhD in Social Anthropology at a UK university and have just passed my upgrade (mid-course progress exam), and the defence seems a long-off and daunting prospect (although I'm sure it will come round scarily fast). Many many well dones Dr Boots.

  8. Congratulations! Could you publish a chapter of the dissertation as an article somewhere? That might jump start the writing juices. And I'd read an article!!

    No need to apologize for your absence from the blogophere. I think after a dissertation, I would be inclined to laze about for months.

    So, tell us something about erotic poetry.

  9. Congratulations!! And how lovely to wear that necklace of your mother's. I've blocked my defense from memory. I'm sure I wear clothes but I've no idea what they might have been... Such a nice idea to wear something so meaningful for such an important day!

  10. Everybody, thank you so much for your kind words! I've been basking a little, sleeping a lot, and trying to not appear as brain-dead as I feel. as you can see, that involves NOT writing/updating. I fear that I won't update again till our return to Greece. The good news? That's tomorrow/Monday. Hurrah! I miss you all!