Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day 168: Building Character

The view from the front door of my new home!

At high noon. Charming.

(Debates are currently running whether the light on the horizon is the beginning of sun, the moon, or diffuse light.)

Another view of Barrack #3, home of PhD's, short-termers, and other misfits:

Annnnd the one and only long straight road from Nybyen (what they call the area of town where they hide the students. They used to hide the miners out here) to Longyearbyen, about a 3km walk.

I'll take this opportunity to point you to a new link in the Links section, titled "UNIS", for the website of the university where I will be working. It has interesting secrets. And when I say secrets, I mean science.

Well I was all motivated with witty things to say in this post, and now most of them have slipped my mind. But "update blog" is on my to-do list, and if there's one thing I'm good at it's postponing things as long as possible, getting stressed out, and not being able to sleep. I'd like to sleep tonight.

Let's take a quick look back at Christmas in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Christmas with the Delaney's! This is Lisa. She doesn't like the sound of happy people on Christmas:

This is the most massive Christmas tree I've ever seen in a house, despite Mrs. Delaney's insistance that it was "scrawny" (they have 15 ft ceilings):

This is Lisa's lovely dog Morriganne (pronouced "Morgan". Lisa's crazy.)

This is Morriganne sleeping on my bed back in Halifax:

Ehh...that all happened, which was fantastic, then I went to Scotland. First day in Scotland I break my foot. A few days later I tried to go to the Edinburgh castle with my friend Sarah (long lost from China). When we got there - essentially a block behind her apartment (this is her apartment building):

we found out it cost about $20 to get in and would involve about a million steps. Crutches-girl voted no. So we took some photos and walked around the city for a few hours trying to find souvenirs.

Sarah doesn't really know how to behave in public:

Soo, that happened too...then I tried to move to Norway. SAS charged me a gazillion dollars to move my luggage a few hundred miles, since apparently they only allow 20 kg of luggage. Period. (Most airlines I've been on allow 32 kg per bag.) I have 75 kg. They also neglected to mention that my final flight - which to all appearances was scheduled to take me straight from Oslo to Longyearbyen - also stopped in Tromso. By this point I was feeling pretty ill, from living off of minimal sleep and bad food and enormous traveling-stress for the past 48 hours. Stopping in Tromso was not amusing.

If you think the life of a Watson is glorious and wonderful, here's a beautiful photo of me sleeping on a bench in an utterly deserted Norwegian airport at 3am (Stavanger):

Eventually I got to Longyearbyen.

That's enough for now. My creative energies are spent. Things happened in the last week, namely a safety course, illness, and social awkwardness. I've had it officially confirmed by two reputable scientists that I am "scary tall". If you're curious what Norway looks like, well, right now, it looks a lot like this:

Dark and icy.


sam said...

Do people have special anti-ice traction on their shoes there? Do you have anti-ice protection on your crutches other than the rubber tips? Having watched people slide around denver the past few days, I can only imagine what it's like where it doesn't get sunny.

Also, I'm back in claremont. It's the same.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Have fun doing a photo project in that light. Boy, Longyearbyen has grown up! Back in my day, there were no PhD students. And I'll be you even have wireless or something up in Nybyen. Back in my day they still didn't have the seafloor fiberoptic link and all that existed was a painfully slow satellite link.

sam said...

Hi! a NY Times article today quoted Dr. Carl Egede Boggild, of the University Center of Svalbard. Is that where you are/were that summer? Do you know him? Hope you're well!

Laurel said...

As for ice-traction: no more than anywhere else. As for my cane: I've stopped using it. As for photography in the darkness: it is difficult. As for internet: no wireles, but good ethernet. As for Dr. Boggild: yes, the University Center of Svalbard (commonly known as UNIS) is where I am now. However, in the summer of 2005 I was in Hornsund Fjord at the Polish station (a research station further south on Spitsbergen).

Anonymous said...

Are you hanging out for a Friday afternoon with beer and everyone in the UNIS lobby gathered around the big fireplace?