...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Quezon City 2014 - Week 1

Driving through Manila on the way to QC from NAIA airport

Quezon City, Philippines
14°38′ N 121°2′ E
Time 22:55, Temperature 28° C

There are almost three million people living in Quezon City, the largest city in Metro Manila. For perspective, my mid-sized city of Norrköping celebrated its 135,000 resident this year, Emil. This same year, the Philippines celebrated its 100th millionth baby, which its parents named Chonalynlyn. It seems that there may have been a few more hundred thousand people living here since my last visit two years ago, if you’re to judge by the number of cars, the increasing traffic, the sprouting shopping malls and new apartment buildings. Many things in the city look the same. The buildings just look a tad older and more worn, but there are also new ones that replaced the old. This year, as I celebrate my 31st birthday in QC , I realize how some things haven’t changed are very familiar here, despite the fact that I’ve moved to Sweden for actually almost a decade now, or in other words, almost a third of my life.

Sounds and smells

Temperature readings brought to you by IKEA

Nature takes over so fast in this heat and humidity. Things rot and rust faster, but things also grow faster. In our yard, the two banana plants that first grew fruit in 2012 have since multiplied. Now there are banana bunches growing almost at arm’s reach from our own window, which is a fun sight to see. So is the sight of mom and dad taking bunches down with a long curved knife tied to a bamboo pole. Teamwork right there!

Since my arrival in QC, the most noticeable difference from back in Norrköping are the sounds and smells that literally envelop you here. The smells of the city seem just so much more intense, just like on a hot Swedish summer: they are dog smells, exhaust smells, food smells, shampooed hair smells. So with houses tight next to each other, our backyard neighbors literally have to remove their laundry from the drying line when the ones beside them fry chicken. Of course QC-folk are used to living this tight, but one of the things I just can’t help noticing after living in Norrköping for quite a while now is that it’s never ever quiet anywhere here. I hear what the neighbors are playing on the radio in the evenings, and I hear ringing doorbells, street vendors, barking dogs and air conditioner hums in the distance as I go to sleep. I’m two minds about this. On the other hand, I’m used to it and I seem to be able to filter the sounds off when I want to. In my mind, I think the sound pollution is bothersome and unhealthy, but I’m afraid in my heart that I might go home to the quiet of my bedroom at home in Sweden and miss having sounds of people in movement around me. Maybe, maybe not.

The banana plant just outside our window, with bananas and a banana flower

The most intrusive and occasionally annoying sounds are however not in one’s own neighborhood but out in the shopping malls, where lights and sounds and signs from all directions all try to catch a fraction of the buyer’s attention span. The sound barrage already begins upon entering the mall. More often than not, they are equipped with metal detectors that beep (of course!) for every single passing person, ca. one person every two seconds. Everyone’s bag gets a cursory “check up” by the security guards who shout you a welcome greeting, and it’s all sounds and lights from there on. “WELCOME TO [STORE NAME]!!!”, “MA’AM, BUY [PRODUCT]!!”, “SPECIAL PROMO!”, “MA’AM, BROCHURE FOR [NEW BUILDING] FOR INVESTMENT!”, “THANK YOU, COME AGAIIIN!”. This is besides the sound made by shoppers themselves, and above all this a radio, often blaring because the mall’s own station sells ad space. The sales people are often friendly and you rarely bump into anyone even in a crowd, but the loud sounds are everywhere. Thankfully I could ask a mall restaurant waiter to turn down the volume when it got so bad that I couldn’t even here what dad was saying across the table. People have to talk so loud here, I remember how I used to (and sometimes still do) have to ask Swedes to say things twice to me when they talk too softly.

Jollibee, the Filipino equivalent of the Swedish Max

A piece of Japan in central QC

I mentioned this before: One of the advantages of QC-living is there is good value for good food here. And as a culture that really likes food, much of urban exploring is about having food experiences. There is good food in all price classes. For some people, it is a sport to get something really good at the cheapest price. For others, it is a city indulgence to get something quite good and pretty expensive. It is also big-city folk cred to know where the best places to eat are, or know restaurants that give more of an experience than just the food.

As my sister and I are going to Japan for five days next week, Prixie (my sister’s oldest friend) and her husband Chris brought my sister and I to Zaan, a Japanese tea house in central Quezon City, to start off our journey. The place was small but cozy, and all the food there was cooked by the Japanese owner from scratch, from the soba noodles to the ice cream. Places like these are a pearl; the atmosphere was cozy and home-like. But the highlight of Zaan without any doubt was our introduction to the Japanese tea ceremony, which would have cost us a fortune in Japan, if there was even a slim chance of getting invited to one. The tea house owner explained the rituals of the tea ceremony as we performed it. At bottom, the feeling instilled in you is an appreciation for the craft of making food and drink and gratitude for the good company sharing the sweets and tea.

After the tea master presents the bowl to you and you bow thanks, you bow to the person beside you to say something like, "I'm sorry if I go ahead of you". 

The photo op doesn't reveal how our legs were actually tingling from sitting through the whole ceremony

Tale of two cities

Picking up on the note on gratitude, I just turned 31 and I’m surrounded by friends and family, which is truly valuable  and irreplaceable. We’re having lots of fun too, which is great. Yet I don’t really know if I want to spend all of my future in this city, even if it is a place I also call home. And it’s an ambivalence that I’ve learned to accept for what it is. I’m not idealizing Sweden either, but I do feel more and more that it is my physical home. There are many things in QC that I’m sure I could get used to again, but I’m not sure if I could quite accept. Like living in congestion. Like living in a class society that is sometimes so blatantly unequal. Like having to pay for all leisure, health and education and the absence of communal city resources like good public libraries, good public parks and good public schools. As an occasional tourist, I can more easily accept that things are this way without judging. I go with the flow that signs are not followed, that rules are non-existent and the systems are illogical and ineffective. Most people who live here do as I do, and there is often a Filipino sense of humor and a flexible attitude about never expecting anything to work as it should. But the difference is, that I can also choose not to live in that way.

I had a reflection today on my birthday. My brother suggested that we eat at an international buffet, so we did. For 800 pesos a plate, you could eat anything you wish, as much as you wanted. A whole big hall the size of a house were filled with trays of Japanese food, Mexican food, Filipino food, American food, etc and desserts galore. Of course, this is the concept for any buffet, even in Sweden too. A smorgasbord, for example, or why not even a julbord. The food was okay, but I couldn’t help feeling a little wasteful. I could find no justification for all this abundance of food being served to a few hundred people when I also see that a large part of the three million in this city can’t even get food in their mouths, and live on scraps of trash. I felt in complicity to a system that I could not change or influence, not even with a power of a vote.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Holy moly! Not been here since June?

In the past, I've already started a few blog entries trying to excuse myself for the lack of updates. So this time let me just begin by reassuring any patient followers and blog-lurkers out there. I'm not dead yet! Yay!

And... I'm back to blogging.

Feel free to clap!

Yes, I realized that there's are still actually good reasons to keep this blog alive. Logging small stories of my life and adventures in this sometimes strange land, keeping the sense of wonder alive through my thoughts of feelings of big and small experiences – this genre is still nothing that Facebook can beat.

Also, I kind of started to missed writing in this way. With all respect to Facebook, hours can go by just scrolling through news feeds and I don't know how that's making people any closer, or wiser about each others' thoughts. Yet I had an blog-reader reminding me that my blog hasn't been up-to-date for so long, and that my thoughts were actually good to read. And this is ultimately the nice thing with a blog: I've received really kind words from people (both of whom I know and don't know) who's been following the blog and these anecdotes of mine, in good times and bad times. Well, let's keep it up.

A nice place to start would be to revisit this New Year's list of projects.

2.5 out of 5 should be OK right?

Job-wise, I'm employed part-time at my old department but I'm still working on getting a post-doc.

The film camera is, unfortunately, still on the shelf. The film has unfortunately expired. And unfortunately, I didn't have the mind to keep them in the fridge to save the unused film. And I'm thinking, what am I doing going back to film camera use? I must really be a dinosaur. (Oh a dinosaur with – after much struggling and way too much thinking – a smartphone. Big news of 2014!)

The ham radio activity is however going much better. After my landlord refused my proposal to set up a dipole antenna outside the building, I had to convince M&M to host my hobby at their countryside house. The transceiver is on loan from a friend. The good news is I have access to my own radio shack in the countryside, a.k.a. "The Cat Shed" after Kricke the cat who used to live there. Now, when I'm operating the station, I just share the shack with a bunch of flower pots and cans of paint. There, I train my ear to distinguish speech behind the radio noise, play with the radio's noise filters and settings, and try to get radio contact in different frequencies. My first DX (long-range) contact was an amateur from Austria. I was in the shack in the dark because I had been glued to the radio the whole afternoon until the sun began to set, and I found out then that there were no working lamps in the shed. I was hungry and thinking of calling it a day but thought of doing one last call just in case... and Voilá. That's the addicting part about radio: You never really can plan when you get a contact. It turned out well and I was really happy.

This weekend, at the Norrköping radio fair, I actually bought an space-saving loop antenna, thinking that I should give it another try to move the station to the apartment. And then there was JOTA (Jamboree on the Air), where I tried to get radio contact with radio-scouts around the world in this once-a-year "virtual" jamboree. Young scouts are probably wondering what we're doing in this day of the smartphone. But it's OK; I can always counter that I now also have the Echolink app in my smartphone. Haha!

OK until next time. "Best 73", as hams say.

P.S. In case you're wondering about the first picture, that's my family posing after a trail hike (and some bog-crossing) when we went looking for a wind shelter this spring. We found the wind shelter and had a nice lunch there. But I guess they were still relieved to get back to the car! :-D

Friday, June 06, 2014

What's up, doc?

Here I am reporting from the other side of the PhD-tunnel. I’m back from some months’ worth of well-deserved freedom with only job-seeking activities to constrain me. Hah!

For the past few months, I’ve been living through a strange combination of being free and yet being somehow very busy. Being free from work is definitely underrated! People should try it more often if they can. In the first month of joblessness I felt the immense freedom of nobody telling me what to do with my day. No more waking up thinking of the day’s work tasks! – at least for an undetermined amount of time. I especially appreciate having been jobless when mom, dad and my sister were here. We formed great memories of adventure and sightseeing, but we also got used to everyday life together.

However, I haven’t been totally free. I am free from most deadlines but there are other things that need to be fixed, like the paperwork at the unemployment office and unpaid projects at the university. It turns out that a lot of work inside the academe is monetarily unpaid. This becomes more obvious when you’re no longer on the university payroll. Book- and article projects that are “good for your CV” and contact-building are things that academicians may do “on the side” of paid work, “for merit”. So, besides the official work-seeking activities I do through the unemployment office, it’s also in my interest as an academician to continue work-related activity inside university. I do this by continuing my involvement in network projects, unpaid. Obviously this has been a source of frustration for me. At the same time, the unemployment office is keeping me busy with a stream of “competence-building” activities, as conditions to get my full unemployment compensation. All is well as long as I can maximize these activities for my own interests. But everything takes time and it sometimes feels like working a part-time job, besides doing the real job applications. To top that all off, when I finally did get paid by the university for working one day a week, the unemployment office said that I could only continue this work for 75 days. After this period, they ask me make a choice between being completely unemployed (as a condition to get full unemployment benefits) or live on this one-day-a-week salary. This system is sometimes hard to understand. And yes, that’s an understatement!

Enough of that. There’s more to life as a PhD than the mysteries of unemployment benefit rules. But sometimes I really do think that either the unemployment office or the world of the academe just really isn’t in tune with “life going on out there”. And for the most part, I still am free and have relatively much time on my hands.

Is life as a PhD different from life as a PhD candidate? Yes, in some ways. When I visit my old department, my former colleagues update me on their work, their conflicts with their supervisors and worries for the future. It feels strange to suddenly have a perspective that these challenges are things I’ve already undergone and thankfully never need to go back to. From this new perspective, I feel much more senior since I can understand their situation without being there myself. Colleagues used to ask me if I had “landed” in the feeling of being a PhD and I guess this is part of what it ought to feel like. Another difference is the kind of jobs I’m qualified to look for. When I look at university openings, I look through “Postdoc and lecturer positions”, skipping “PhD positions” altogether, realizing that I’m past that stage now. I’ve also grown more comfortable with being a PhD now. In my supervisor's speech at my party, she said that a PhD degree gave a person a social and cultural capital that nobody can take away in a world with sometimes fleeting standards. For me it feels like I know myself better having passed through the other side, and nobody can convince me that I’m any less than the person I am.

Which takes me back to another unemployment office story. They’re experts at looking down on people there, it seems. Job seekers come through the door with hopes of being able to show who they are and what they can do. But they meet a government worker who is often stressed because they think they’ve heard all the job seekers’ problems and counterarguments a thousand times before. The typical government worker there seems to want defend herself from personal attacks by acting as a custodian for the rules (Heard at an obligatory seminar: “Well if you’re not happy with these rules, you can get out the system! Varsågod!”). In short, for working with people in vulnerable situations, I don’t think the workers there always act in a professional way. They meet job seekers willing to show the what they’ve got, yet they act if these people have nothing to prove. Talk about a great way to start people out on their career! Not.

Anyway, I was out there one day because I got a standard letter asking me for a proof of “my grades” (!). I come to the desk and politely explain what I’ve come for.

Government worker: Oh, OK. Show me your papers.
Me: (Opening my bag) Well, I have the originals at home, but I did take copies.
Government worker: A-huh! Copies you say. Where are they then?
Me: You see, I thought the originals were much too valuable to take to a place like this. (PANG whiffing a copy of “FILOSOFIE DOKTORSEXAMEN” at her desk).

Man, you should have seen how she wasn’t as cocky anymore after that. 
Sad but true story.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hoooorah! Yehey! Whee! Whoohoo!

I want to write about something before many of the small memories and mental pictures fade from my brain, before I go on vacation and get loads of other impressions from this spring. I’d likely not forget the factual details about this event. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing. The memory of it – and its implications in my life – will be a part of me forever. But certainly, sooner or later, some of the feelings and memories connected to that moment might feel less concrete after a while. So I write in a way that travelers write about their travels: because I want to be able to look back and remember how it felt, and share my memories with others.

The thing I want to write about is that I’ve crossed to the other side. I’ve written four articles over the past 5 years, printed a book last month and passed my thesis defense last Friday. This series in my life had sometimes felt long and drawn-out. At other times, it felt hectic and and intense. I’ve been through periods of both triumph and insecurity, but also satisfaction of getting good things done, and a feeling of competence. In particular, the last half year had been a very intense period that was both an intellectual challenge (and a feat, when I look back at it!) but also an emotional one. I began to understand more and more how the PhD studies are formative years in more ways than just getting a title. Now, I write this, I’m now a PhD. After a week passed, I also feel that I am getting more satisfied and “at home” with the idea, as I begin used to the thought that my PhD studies are, indeed, all over. I made it!!!


The defense itself – all two and a half hours of it! – went pretty well. The opponent summarized my thesis for the public and presented some of its key points. This was followed by a part where we she asked me questions about the thesis and we discussed different dimensions of it. It seemed to me that the opponent didn’t raise very serious critiques. On the contrary I think we had an agreeable discussion and she enjoyed reading the thesis. She did raise thought-provoking points during our discussion though, which forced me to think on my feet. Yet the more we talked, the more I enjoyed our discussion and the more I enjoyed the whole impromptu aspect of the defense. I remembered that I actually like public speaking. Anyway, I enjoyed the feeling of being able to find the right words to say, and that my answers came out as clear and eloquent as I had imagined them. I must admit that that my hands were pretty cold the whole time though, probably from concentrating and from still not getting over the apprehension of going to my own thesis defense. But I did feel that I was in control of the situation, self-confident and “owning” my thesis defense in the best way. My colleague Annika warned me that she used to wake up in the middle of the night after her own thesis defense, thinking of alternative answers to questions posed at her. As for me, I feel that wouldn’t have changed anything about my defense, which is a sign of true satisfaction. Some pictures from when I was waiting for "the verdict" to arrive:

 In anticipation for  my grade to be announced (some seconds before),
the department was already pouring out the bubbly!

Ida, a colleague, made a flower wreath for me and placed it on my head...

... Soon, it fell down on my neck, but it was pretty nonetheless!

During the party celebrating my defense, my supervisor told me over dinner that I was right in the middle of a rite of passage. With the defense over and my PhD reached, she said, I was now a “senior” in the academe and have a proof of an achievement – a social capital – that no one could take away from me in a world full of change. Like all rites of passage, this one also seemed overwhelming and very personal though. Feelings of relief, happiness, pride, humility, gratitude and disbelief were all brewing up inside me during the dinner party. The thought that everyone in the party celebrated this success with me and were happy for me and my achievements made me feel really appreciated. All the work invested into thesis and all the worries about it suddenly seemed like a thing of the past. It was wonderful – but also a strange new feeling – to have so many cheer for my achievements, and hear so many heart-warming words addressed to me. When I said on this to one of my friends, he said that I seemed to be able to take all the attention well. Actually, I did feel a little self-conscious at times with all the attention focused on mostly me. But I enjoyed the atmosphere of the party really much, and was both touched, entertained and honored. In that room were all my best friends and those that mean very much to me. And I've also done something quite extraordinary, and worth yes gloating over. Besides, the shower of gifts to me was unbelievable. It felt like Christmas opening the packages the next day. Now why don’t people do PhD theses more often? :-)

But the feeling of pride and the realization of what I had gone through didn’t actually come until a couple of days later, the Sunday after the party.  Mom, dad, Lea and I walked my old friends Per and Paulina to the station. I tend to see P&P in Norrköping when big occasions happen in my life. Since their move to Gothenburg, that had been a wedding, a funeral and a PhD in the span of less than four years. It suddenly struck me how they travelled to witness a chapter in my life close and a new one begin. And that this was all about me and my own special occasion that they came for this time. As the train moved away, I shed tears as P&P were waving goodbye through the window. I walked back to the end of the platform to mom, dad and Lea. Even if I knew that they had been standing there all along, I was more thankful than ever that they were there.

The four of us opened a bottle of champagne when we got home. My fat hot tears and happy laughter combined. I felt happy, proud and satisfied. I had achieved something huge and had done an enormous work by myself. The thesis was also with little doubt after the defense a job well done. I have great reason to be damn proud of myself. And there are people who love me for whatever happens, and even at times when I’m not trying to be smart. Wonderful both ways. What are friends and family for? :-)

“There’s a doctor in the house!”

Sunday, March 02, 2014

What pensioners do in the city graveyard at night

a.k.a. Photo session turned into mom and dad's first snowball fight!

 Mom and dad arrived yesterday afternoon in time for my thesis defense, which will be later this month. In both their earlier visits (which had been in spring and autumn), they had hoped to see snow but missed it. They even stayed until early November on their latest visit, hoping that autumn would turn into winter. Of course each season have its charm — they saw budding flowers and tasted pine tree sprouts; and they experienced mushroom picking and loved looking at flocks of Canada geese — but winter is special especially if you come from a country without natural ice.

Unfortunately for them, it took a whole month after they left the last time before snow started to fall that year. They seem to always just miss the white-wintry years. On the way home from the airport yesterday, they asked if winter was always this way: brown and gray, mud and clouds, and just a shimmer of fog. Nah, this year hasn't really seen a good winter. A Swedish winter without snow is no "real winter" at all!

Today, on their second evening, they rang my doorbell at dinner time telling me that snow had began to fall. "It's so white!", dad said. Mom said it was a sign of being suitably dressed that she didn't feel cold. See, they're on the right track already!

After dinner, some of the new snow already melted into slush so we went into where the snow was still thickest, which was the nearby cemetery (Yep!). Good thing that none of them turned suddenly superstitious.

Above: pensioners' version of "baby's footsteps in plaster of Paris casts".

I remember the first time dad and mom saw natural ice during their first visit in Sweden (spring). The previous day's puddles froze into thin films of ice that cracked, resembling something like clear broken plastic. It was great to see their exalted faces, somewhat with a mixture of disbelief, that there was actually ice on the ground. Another memory from that spring is when it hailed on mom, Margareta and me during a walk that year. Sounds of our laughter and excitement were interrupted by exclamations of pain when the hail hit our heads, as we ran for cover.

Somehow I thought mom and dad would be wanting to run and roll on the snow this time, but I was surprised how reserved they were in the beginning. They didn't even seem to want to get out first, and they didn't think it was a good idea to go out in the slush. Admittedly, soft melting snow makes freezer frost seem more "icy" for real. Mom was worried she would get her shoes wet by walking on the snowy grass, but dad didn't seem to want to go back to their apartment just yet...

... so I said, why not play with the snow? Make a snowball?, while I demonstrated. Wet snow is great for that.

That did the trick!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

From fish to nilaga with lots of things in between

Pretty huh? I got this from Liz and Rob for Christmas. For such a pretty thing, it’s actually a ceramic hot pad for putting warm pots on. I love the movement of the school of fish across it, the different colors, the bubbliness of the water, and that the fish seem to be happily swimming along.

I saw it at the Christmas market at Schwezingen, where it stuck out among mode impersonal geometric designs. It turns out that the seller himself had actually made this piece, and we talked to him as he ate his goulash dinner from a thermos. Hard job, this, to be in a stall all day. He said that the different colors were actually different thicknesses of glaze. There was no story behind him choosing a fish pattern. Maybe that just goes to show that not all pretty things have to have an underlying thought. So, these fish have a mass-produced kind of nature, but also – in having met its maker – also had the character of a handicraft.

When we ended the conversation, we biked out of the market with Liz 12 Euros poorer and with the fish wrapped in newspaper, inside a plastic bag on my bike handle.

- - -

Lea asked me yesterday what my projects were for 2014. Since 2012, I have tended to see my new years as an opportunity to make to-do-projects for myself, to pursue my own personal goals. Rather than making resolutions (which anyway shouldn’t just be done in January every year), I make a list of a number of things that I would like to experience or accomplish during the year. It could be something that I want to improve on, or a dream of a travel destination. It could be a training- or work goal, or an ambition to learn something new. During the course of the year, these projects also have a way of leading into new goals.

2012 was a year of indifference to fear, and at the same time a search for some kind of juice in life. I took my Swedish license and bought my own car. I started strength training again and hiked a lot to prepare for hiking in the Swedish mountains. I also challenged my own discomfort with water to new heights, and I learned to paddle a kayak and to swim crawl. I even hopped from a diving platform for the first time in my life. Behind this I guess I also wanted to test the limits of mental toughness. I enrolled in a survival course and a military weekend that autumn (And actually, they were quite alright, too!).

When I home on New Year’s Eve after celebrating Christmas in the Philippines, I felt a sense of hope. 2013 for me has been a year of optimism and a belief in the future. Many of my goals also had to do with improvement, and many of them also became good shared memories with friends. I improved my balance on skates (with a slippery start in Valla’s ice oval!), learned to ski better (also in powdery snow!), and even tried downhill skiing for the first time. I discovered during downhill skiing that I’m not as indifferent to fear as last year, even though my past successes give me hope that I can learn. I also ran my first marathon and climbed Sweden’s highest mountain in good time before turning 30 - Hoorah! (Yes, that reminds me: I have to blog about that climb one day. Haha!). These experiences have contributed to a lot of joy in my life this year. Anything is possible!

Some scenes from this year's New Year's walk in the city. 

- - - 

It’s 2014 now. Time to think ahead again. This year’s big thing is the dissertation. In some ways this is even bigger than my previous projects, just because I get a title from it :-) Ending the thesis also seems a good way to start the first quarter of the year: I see a clear goal, and I can almost taste it now. Funnily the next half of the year is a big unknown terrain yet where work is concerned. Hopefully there will be full- or part time research- or teaching positions open in my university (and in my field) by spring. Otherwise, it’s up to me to apply for post-doc funding to place here or elsewhere (depending on the conditions attached to the post-doc). The prospect of moving isn’t very tempting though.

So the first on my 2014 project-list is: 

(1) Finish my dissertation. Make it as good as you can do it. Graduate and get a job within the university.

I’ve also thought of other projects, but they kind of pale in comparison to graduating. But here they are anyway:

(2) Set up radio, do DX-ing. I already contacted my landlord about the possibility of setting up an antenna.

(3) Load my film camera with film (two whole years after Lea delivered it here!). Start taking pictures with the film camera, learn the basics. As a motivation, maybe post some of the best results online.

(4) Cook more. Not just lunchbox food, but good ole’ home-cooked Sunday meals like I used to have time for. Started today by defrosting a whole chicken. Half of it became nilaga (Sunday chicken soup), and the other half became some thai dish (future lunchbox item). I love cooking and I should invest more time into it.

(5) I also have a fifth project at the back of my head but seems impossible in this rainy winter. I got money from M&M to enroll in a skiing course, since I want to improve. If this waits till next season is something that’s up to the weather. On the other hand, since I’m all busy finishing my dissertation right now, I don’t actually mind a dry and unexciting winter weather outside.

That’s it for now. Let’s see what the next half of the year brings job-wise so maybe I can start planning other things too.

 Not the fish, but chicken in the nilaga. Just posting it because I'm to eat it now :-)

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