Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This Odyssey

I started and stopped blog posts several times over the course of this semester, never feeling right about what I was typing.  It was a pretty difficult winter/spring for me this year, with a part time job, my thesis, a class I had to take, and trying to stay social even though I was not feeling like it.  I was putting a lot of thought into what I wanted, whether it was to stay in Norway or go back to the U.S., and didn't decide until yesterday that I will go back to Minnesota.  Norway has been great for me in so many ways, like my time in Japan, where I grew a coccoon around me and burst out in the end transformed into one of those things...you know, the insect with the wings.  A flutterby?  Yeah, that sounds right.  I've now become a new level of me.  On my 30th birthday card from two of my dear friends here, they wrote "Congratulations! You have reached the third level!"  And that is really what it feels like.

I finished my thesis on May 31, and just had my defense yesterday.  I presented my findings in a short presentation, and my two supervisors and the external examiner followed that with questions to clarify the subject matter.  They were within the B to A range before the defense, and after deliberation while I was out of the room, they decided to give me an A!  They built up the suspense really well before they told me, too, just like a reality show.  And then suddenly he says "And we're giving you an A!"  I wouldn't have been surprised if confetti had fallen and an orchestra started into the final movement of Ode to Joy.  C'mon Norway, you're rich, you could have sprung for it.

I am currently working on a newspaper or online article, and a journal article to be published on my thesis.  There were some interesting findings, and I hope exposing them will change something on the ground in the area of Tanzania I stayed in.  I met some great people and learned so much, and had to deal with so much I had never had to before, like eating in the villages, motorcycling through the muddiest roads I've ever seen, and jogging with a crowd of people to get back onto a moving bus to name a few.  I had to face my inner princess, who doesn't like discomfort of any kind but still wants to pay the least.  This is why I titled this post with the word "odyssey", because even though it wasn't as crazy as Odysseus' journey, it certainly felt like one.

I went to Dublin last week with some cheap tickets and had a great time, and met lots of interesting and cool people.  It was a bit touristy, and I should have done a bit more research on how to find places to dance in a ceili, an Irish dance party.  I couldn't find anywhere to do it, but I heard that they have it more often outside Dublin, if at all, an in Dublin they just have Riverdance-like shows.  But I got to visit the Guinness factory, take a couple of day trips and go to museums, and just walk around the city.  My photos are on facebook but I will put a few here.

In the medieval quarter, this is Dublinia, a museum going from the viking era to modern Dublin's history.

Diving ducks that were hard to capture in a photo above water in St. Stephen's park

Signs everywhere were in both English and Irish languages.

Some friendly locals.

The best Irish coffee I've ever tasted.

If Captain America approves, it's good enough for me.  Actually I didn't go in, but loved the sign.

Typical pub with traditional music I visited my last night.

I'm looking forward to cleaning out my stuff and moving to my Norwegian cousins' place for a bit, and celebrate with them having finished my degree.  Until later!

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to hear that you leveled up. Congrats on your "A". I always knew you could do it.

    And nice photos of your odyssey. Ireland looks like a nice place to visit. We await your triumphant return to USA.