Once home I stayed in contact with the people with whom I had worked in SE Asia. Desiring to return and work with them I wanted to know what would be most helpful from me when I went back. They said that in regard to the integrated holistic development that they were doing (a 1970’s precursor to what became known as permaculture), if I could hone my research skills so that we could do our own break-away field studies that would be specific to the region in which we worked that that would be most beneficial. That and becoming grounded in cross-cultural studies and communication. So that’s what I did. In my last year of university I was the only Ag student in advanced social and cultural anthropology courses that I talked myself into. And rather than notions/theory, I brought to the courses raw, immediate experience from the field, studying what counted for real anthropological, credited research. All of my courses in my chosen field of Animal Science were of themselves advanced by the time of my fourth year. And then I was advised to contact the research farm system of the university. Upon learning of my goals they took a whole day and drove me to one of their outlying field research farms, showed me around, and then offered me a job. I said yes.
After graduation my work on that farm gave me a year and a half’s experience at designing field research, implementing programs, doing the work, and collecting and analyzing the data. Furthermore, during that time I worked closely with a field extension agent who recommended me for graduate work back at the university from which I had graduated and tried to guide me into that. Then, with the retirement of the research farm’s manager I was offered that position. And additionally the banker in the town closest to that farm called us into his office one day and said that he would like to see us establish ourselves in the area (my wife was already a high school teacher there) and to that end he offered us both a loan as well as a farm that was for sale that he thought would be ideal for us. I could manage the research facility and farm at the same time. All of this was frankly overwhelming, but I had another direction. Turning all of these down I applied to go on for studies at the seminary of the denomination which had started the development project where I had worked, a requirement for long term work there. And so a year and a half after I had graduated with my BS in agriculture and now better able to do field research, we moved again, this time to the heart of a major city. Only one year of studies here was required before returning to SE Asia, but I chose a four year applied Masters degree. I did so because I figured that one year would not be enough time for me to study everything that I wanted to study in regard to my own spirituality. So that’s what we did.