Friday, December 15, 2006

Endings and new beginnings

I haven't posted anything in days. I have been busy and caught up in life. I have given the final exam for my students, been through the evaluations, packed my belongings, cleaned the apartment for the next tenant and shipped around 160 kg's of books, notes, clothes and field equipment home to my permanent adress. My adventures in the Arctic is over for this time.

It has been an amazing term and I am grateful I have been given this opportunity. I have learned a lot about teaching, and my field and about the institution from a faculty perspective. I have gotten some nice feedback from the students and faculty and feel convinced that I have left a positive impression. I also got some surprising, but actually useful, comments on the student evaluations, but I will talk about those in a separate post later. I will continue to work with some of the students as they will be doing their Master's theses with me and I have plans to go back for field work and will collaborate with the new hire who is filling my position. I know I will come back and I think I will have some kind of role at this institution in the future.

The first time I visited this institution I also stayed for one term and I was heartbroken when I had to leave. I did not know how and when or if I would manage to come back for any significant period of time. I was following the last glimpses of light from the town during take off thinking about the once in a lifetime experience I had just had, and when we landed I was surprised to see the trees and the daylight and the civilisation in general. This time was different. On the way across the ocean we had the most spectacular northern lights surrounding the plane with a thin streak of daylight looming on the horizon. It was such a beautiful way to say goodbye for this time, but it didn't make me sad. I will see the northern lights again and the darkness and the snow and the arctic summer when that time comes. I will miss it, especially with all the rain we have here where I am now, but I have never felt so relaxed about leaving.

I am looking forward to not living in boxes and bags anymore, to not be traveling back and forth every few weeks and to have one adress, one phone number and one affiliation. I am looking forward to have a life in one place and be able to participate in activities running over several weeks. I am also looking forward to be back in my own department where I cannot distance myself from things I don't care about and where people will expect things from me - also in the long run. And afterall I DO like trees and daylight and sunshine and city life, and it does make me kind of happy to think about going back to work in my old* job tomorrow. I think that this time it was not so much about leaving, but about coming home.

*This is not completely true since I am now supposed to be the assistant head of department, which I have never been before and don't really know how to be either. Good thing I will only have one working day this month before I leave for holidays.

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At 5:13 AM, Blogger skookumchick said...

I love love love seeing northern lights - seen them twice, once in my midwestern state, v. unusual, and once on the West Coast in the summer, also crazy unusual I guess. I can't imagine how cool they'd look when you are in the *sky*...

Safe travels...


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