I start my day early at the West Philadelphia home-stay of Anne and Seth. My room is on the third floor rear part of the house where I can see the Vientiane Café and community gardens from my window. Anne and Seth have 5 children as well as three home-stay visitors, two men (one from Japan and the other from Saudi Arabia) and myself. All together there are ten people living in the house, making it a very lively place, which I like very much.
Every morning I walk from my home on 48th Street to my work at the Ban Chiang Project. It takes me about a half hour to get to my office in room 152 of the Penn Museum. I am almost always the first to arrive so I brew some tea and wait for Joom while checking my e-mail for any overnight messages from my home country, Laos.
Sureeratana (Joom) Bubpha (from Thailand) is the other intern who is working with me to code over 500 Ban Chiang pots. So far we have coded over 200! I usually pick out a pot from an assortment brought up from the sub-basement storage room by Jenny, our work-study student. We then record the pot in the Access Database, this is also known as “Pottery Coding,” which is a very detailed and scientific description of the pot. For example, we record what its surface looks like, the size, and color of the pot. It is a team effort between me and Joom. We often speak in Lao to each other because it is easier but when Joyce or Marie-Claude overhear us they say, “Speak in English!”
Click here for the Lao translation of this blog.