(I’m biased towards everything American, so despite a relatively US-critical tone, you may be offended by this post if you’re too European.) I remember watching “The Cosby Show” with my parents in the nineties. It was a crazy time of massive political change in Poland, and my parents were always pointing at the fictional Huxtables as role models. Me and my father were even replicating Cliff Huxtable’s way of making chili, and we’d make tons of inside jokes that we’d always gladly explain to any guests we’d be having.
A couple of weeks ago my company sent me over to London for 6 weeks to do some project work for one of our clients. I’m back in Munich now, but everyone’s been asking me how it was and I have surprisingly many things to say about my stay in the UK. Thus, to ease my pain of having to tell everyone the same bunch of observations, I decided to group them all neatly into a blog post.
How I traveled from Norway to Poland for Christmas this year
I traveled by train, and this post is an account of my experiences and a warning for others who might be attempting the same thing. It costed a lot of money, but most importantly, it was a very exhausting and stressful experience. So if you’re reading this and planning on doing the same thing – don’t. First of all: why did I do it? Well, there’s a couple of reasons. First was curiosity – I like trains, and I really wanted to try that kind of long international train travel.
Last week I came to New Zealand for COIN@PRIMA workshop and PRIMA-13 conference. It’s the first time I’m on the southern hemisphere, and I have a couple of observations about New Zealand and the whole Oceania region I’d like to share. First off, New Zealand is soooper far away from everything. It took me more than 45 hours to get here from Bergen,1 and I just talked to a Kiwi friend who told me that Wellington is the most remote capital city in the world, being furthest away from any other capital city.
I travel a lot, and I mean a lot not only for a PhD student. Yes, I do travel to conferences, workshops, seminars and summer schools, but apart from that I visit family in Poland and friends in The Netherlands, which means I’m on an international flight at least once a month. It made me reflect on how I travel, how I feel about traveling and how many of my traveling habits changed.
How the iPad ruins my travel experience
I travel a lot, be it for work or pleasure, and one of the things I particularly enjoy when I’m transferring at my favorite Schiphol airport is visiting bookstores. I browse magazines, bestsellers and non-fiction, and usually buy an issue of The Economist, The New Yorker or a book. Or actually, I used to buy. Ever since I have the iPad1, I stopped visiting bookstores. I no longer buy The Economist or The New Yorker, because there’s an app for that.
The world is a funny place
So there I was having a lunch at ‘Shanghai Dumpling’ at Taipei 101, when suddenly one of the girls sitting at the table next to mine said: ‘Hey, you’re welcome to eat our dumplings if you want to, because they’re too sweet for us, and we’re quite full anyways’. ‘Thanks!’, I quickly replied, because no one needs to sell me on eating more dumplings, especially if they’re sweet. We started talking about what I’m doing in Taipei, and then it turned out they were Japanese.
Philosophy of Social Sciences and Norwegian Mountains
I’m back in Bergen after a week spent literally in the middle of nowhere, or simply at Vatnahalsen hotel. I was attending a PhD course in “Philosophy of Social Sciences” and let me tell you a little bit about it. But first of all, why would I even attend such a course? After all, I’m not an anthropologist or a sociologist, but for some weird reasons I do belong to the Faculty of Social Science.
Norway in the eyes of a foreigner
After a long period of searching for a PhD scholarship I finally got a great offer from Bergen University College, and in the 2nd half of March I’ve joined the staff of Department of Computer Engineering as a member of DISTECH research group. This means a lot has changed in my life, because apart from changing a job/school I’ve also moved to another country. This country happens to be Norway and I have some thoughts about it I’d like to share.