I spent yesterday afternoon wandering around Brooklyn, trying to find two Muslim Community Centers I had found online. I was interested that almost every store and office in the three neighborhoods I browsed in had Arabic text in addition to English. I walked past many women wearing headscarves and all number of Islamic clothing stores and halal groceries. I never found the community centers I was looking for, though, and I wasn't really sure what other course of action to take to tap into the wealth of information that I'm sure was existing all around me. I wasn't going to stop women on the street, of course, and I feel uncomfortable leaving my flyers at a store or office. I'd rather go through organizations whose purpose it is to connect to the community and let them help me make connections. It makes it all seem more official and organized, and I'm trying to leave no room for either complaints to the IRB nor situations where I feel either unsafe or as if I've violated trust, expectations, etc. I will be content with fewer interviews that I feel I recruited in a good way than more interviews about which I feel slightly uneasy. Speaking of interviews, I had my first one yesterday evening. I spent the morning being nervous, testing my mic over and over, and prepping all my paperwork. Then I went searching for community centers, then headed to the interview. I was still really nervous, and since I for there early to be safe, I had a lot of time to let that nervous energy build up. As soon as she arrived, though, we hit the ground running. It was so easy to talk to her because I was actually interested in what she had to say, in hearing her answers and opinions and thoughts. And I mostly just asked questions, letting her say what she wanted and just listening to her. Afterwards, we walked to the subway and just chatted, and she offered to pass my flyer around and invited me to a class at her mosque where I could meet new people. It was such a great first interview and I feel great about it.
She followed up by passing my flyer along to her friends and sending me the email address of several other people I could contact, so I'm working on reaching out to them now.
More and more, I'm feeling solidified in my choice of this as a career, as a way to spend the rest of my life. I like hearing people's opinions, I like giving them a chance to talk about it, and I know that I will like writing about it. Grad school and I are going to get along well.