September 26, 2006
Being inside this team, in this location, is turning out to be quite the social experiment. I sometimes feel like an anthropologist in the middle of his participative (sp?) research in the African jungle. Well, something like that in any case.
For me it is only the second time out here, and as I have no commitments at home (think: partner & kids) I'm pretty flexible to be here. For many other people this is very different. Most people seem to have resigned themselves to the fact that it is part of the job (to come out here on and off for weeks) and as such they're making the most of being here. For some, this town seems to have turned into paradise - an escape away from their family, with plenty of entertainment around.
For the schedule in the town there seems to be an unwritten system that no-one stays out here for more than 3-4 weeks in one go. After that one has to go back to Europe. It seems that the town just messes with your head too much and you need to be brought back to 'civilization'.
Some time ago I was having dinner with some male colleagues. This topic came up and I tried to find out what makes this base so different from the other one in Russia - Plesetsk. As far as I know, that town is much more restricted, all of your movements are controlled, much less things to do and so on. But there the crew easily stays for up to three months.
The answer: temptation. Apparently this town offers an unhealthy amount of temptation for the men.
It is quite interesting to observe. And I don't think I quite understand it. But maybe that's because I'm one of the very few girls inside an almost male team. Probably it's a combination of (some of) the local girls seeing the Europeans as a ticket out of here (and doing their best to get their hands on that ticket), and of boredom for the men. Still, it makes me wonder how the guys here explain at home what they do here.
Hmm, I'm trying to write this post without being too judgmental. Because well, you can't really understand other people's relationships and I shouldn't even try to. It's definitely giving me a different view of things though.
Like I said, interesting to observe. 'Tis a different world being out here - both the physical surroundings as well as the social setting. And definitely good stuff for a psychologist!