Two years in Tunisia – follow-up

For some people the best time to look back and evaluate life experiences is somewhere around the end of the year. However, I have noticed that for me the time to reflect and review has always been the end of summer. Possibly, it is linked to the fact that I still think in terms of an academic year. Moreover, I have always felt like the new year for me starts around September, because even after finishing studies, the end of summer for me have always meant that a new year is about to start. There is excitement and willingness to make new plans, commitments, and resolutions.

Therefore, I have decided to write down and share some of my experiences during my two-year stay in Tunisia. I would like to share some thoughts and observations related to the political situation during the post jasmine-revolution, because I had the opportunity to live in Tunisia starting from February 2011 – right after jasmine revolution.

I experienced first hand how some of the most important changes of Tunisia’s political, economical, legal systems took place. The changes that affected the whole society and paved the way for continuous democracy development that is still taking place now.

In particular, I was privileged to be able to follow closely the reforms in the national research and higher education policy-making, as well as experience the evolution of a security related business activities in the private sector.

Unfortunately, at a time I only had limited possibilities to write and publish my observations. Now five years have passed, and it is time to look back and reflect and analyze my experiences with the view to publish several blog posts, providing a personal insight – a form of “field study” report. I will also try to share some stories about a daily life in Tunisia at a time.

You are welcome to check back here for continuation. The plan is to publish new posts every Friday, followed by summary post at the end of each month. Please, feel free to subscribe to get the new posts in your e-mail. Thank you!



Solutions 2015: #January and #February

In order to motivate myself to revive my blogging journey I decided that I would try to post a summary of each month focusing on what solutions were found.

For the last year I have been in between different projects and making a living with freelance translations. The translating thing started for me in 2001 after I moved back from my MA Diplomacy studies in Paris to Riga and was not able to afford the luxury to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia in a minimum wage job – that was not enough to cover regular living expenses.

I have been doing Latvian-English-French-Russian-Latvian translation jobs on and off since then with a longer break while I was working as the first and only Latvian Science Attaché to the European Union in Brussels (2004-2010). Even then, I did several translations for different science related events, as for example exhibition posters about Nanotechnologies back in 2008. Plus my daily job involved lots of translating too – just to remember French Presidency were documents were coming out mainly in French – and I was the only person that spoke fluent French in my ministry.

To come back to January and February 2015 – it was crazy busy with many challenging translation orders mainly for Latvian – French. I managed to successfully deliver my biggest ever job – 180 pages of an extremely technical and difficult text in the field of IT, telecommunications.

Riga Dome Cathedral - January 2015
Riga Dome Cathedral – managed to take a little Christmas walk break

Solution regarding planning and time management:

  • When you have a bigger project with a deadline that at first seems reasonably long enough in the future, make sure that the planning of your schedule is not only day-by-day, but hour by hour.
  • Figure out a way to make sure that you have results at the end of each day.

In this example – I agreed to deliver parts of translation being done every day by 5pm. Even if at first I did not like this being imposed by the client, it helped me to organize myself and actually be focused the whole month on a regular basis.

Up until now, I had the tendency to meet deadlines with crazy working hours shortly before the end date. We all know how it is – we all have done it.

self-made trouble
Translation of the text on the wall from Latvian: self-made trouble

The solution is to avoid creating self-made troubles.

Make the plan that is reasonable, and stick to it! If you do not have a client (or a boss) asking for a daily update of the project you are working on – make an agreement with yourself that each day you will deliver some parts of the job. Make a short follow-up each day. This will avoid stress and definitely improve the quality of your work, as you will have more time to review and improve your work.