The last four and a half years have been some of the toughest moments of my life, the most testing, yet the time I have made some of the best friendships I will ever make, and had some life changing experiences. In October 2009, I started my PhD, living on my own for the first time in my life, in a new city, knowing no-one. Slowly settling in to the work, I made some friends who will always be part of my life, never to be replaced, no matter how far apart we are.
In early 2010 I spent six weeks living on Svalbard in the Arctic, attending the University Centre in Svalbard for a glaciology course. Driving skidoos across sea ice and snow covered fjord edges, visiting the frozen-in calving faces of glaciers, walking inside glaciers in incredible ice caves, learning to cross country ski up and down glaciers, watching the northern lights in all their splendour, seeing a polar bear in the wild, making brilliant friends, and really just experiencing life in an altogether extreme environment. At the time I documented this in another blog which can still be seen at http://frozen-toes.blogspot.co.uk/.
|The fjords of southeast Greenland|
Fast forward through data collection, analysis, conferences (including La Jolla, California), trips to Cambridge to look at old photo archives, trips to Oban for oceanographic analysis assistance, teaching, reading of many many papers, an infinitely long amount of time writing, submission, waiting, the viva, corrections, submission, final approval, printing and binding, and the final handing in of the bound thesis, and we arrive in March 2014, nearly four and a half years after this journey began.
Today I have started clearing up the computer. Deleting all the old permutations of my thesis, all the work-in-progress figures and keeping only the main files for the future. I have recycled endless old notes and papers, and we are finally gaining some much needed space in the house. Now as Dr., I go on to the new chapter, becoming a mother, and may it be just as amazing an experience, but with hopefully a little less stress!