As an avatar, Ava was fairly straight forward and was probably the most stable of my avatars. She underwent the least amount of evolution in the field. Here are some of the things I learned as I saw through her eyes during my experience.
- Romantic Spin- Like my "good things that happened today" journal, trying to be Ava helped me see my experience in a more romantic light. By trying to see through that lens I was prone to have a better day, dealt with culture shock better, and handled different situations with more grace than an avatar like Gipsy (FN:7:18, FN:8:13, FN:17:1, FN:21:10, FN:23:1, FN:83:1, FN:84:3)
- Productive- I got many more pages of field notes by far with Ava. I found that being her was best in busy situations or when I was at school. Whenever I was a student, this was the best choice of avatar to experience that moment, especially when coupled with some good jots (FN:18:17, FN:18:23, FN: 22:1, FN:22:321, FN:23:31, FN:27:1, FN:27:25, FN:62:32, FN:62:37, FN:69:1).
- Observations- Since Ava is supposed to be more of anthropologist, I also recorded much more observations. Some of them might not have seemed important at the time, but the actions of people and the things that they said could potentially have a lot of value looking back someday. It also helped me be more aware of how to handle social situations (FN:17:3, FN:27:28).
- Contrived- Sometimes, let's be honest, a field study can be a lot of work and everyone is going to have a bad day or two. When I was frustrated, or even when I was just more reserved and internal in my thoughts, being Ava was a challenge. Also, some things, like the laundry, tended to lose romance upon a longer stay in Ghana (FN:8:1, FN:29:12, FN:87:1, FN:91:2).
- Missing out- There were a few times when I would be spending too much energy recording notes instead of paying attention to the big picture. Kind of like the experience when a teacher tells you that the lecture will be on the test and you spend more time writing than listening (FN:17:3, FN:27:28).
- Description- If I were more true to the spirit of Ava, having field notes that were mostly description with minimal personal "diary esk" moments, then there is definitely a whole side of the experience that never gets to be told (FN:62:1).
Photo credit to Cuba Gallery on flickr
(More data on Ava can be found in my field notes FN:9:1, FN:14:4, FN:17:8, FN:18:25, FN:22:41, FN:27:19, FN:30:1, FN:30:12, FN:35:1, FN:43:1, FN:55:1, FN:59:1, FN:65:1, FN:70:1, FN:72:1, FN:75:2, FN:79:1)