Dancing in the Moonlight

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West

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A slightly less eventful week this week. Now that the safety training is over, the UNIS lectures began. Although, we still had the tiny task of officially completing Semester 1 with two exams. These exams were Monday morning and Tuesday morning. A delightful start to the week…

Following our move to Barrack 11 on Sunday, we spent our first night in our permanent accommodation. We left Monday morning for the exam, Electromagnetic Theory. Not a great exam at all, but not much can be done about that now. At least it’s over! Just as we were about to leave, Jack and I decided to go and get our keys for our new rooms, only to find out the water damage was still there and we had to move back to Barrack 3. Baring in mind we had another exam the following day, this was not easy to take in. We’re supposed to move back to Barrack 11 by 5th Feb at the latest, a time limit set as there are other people moving into our rooms in Barrack 3 on this date! Fingers crossed they get it done in time.

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Barrack 3, room 109. Only the temporary home!

Tuesday morning, Gøril (who had been extremely helpful and kind throughout the move) drove our stuff back down to Barrack 3 just before we left for the exam so that we saved a bit of time and could stay in Barrack 11 the night before the exam. We left for the Quantum Technology exam, this was better than the day before, just very long and I ran out of time in the exam.

It was now time to eat food and drink alcohol to celebrate the end of a hideously stressful semester! We went out for food and drinks after the exam and had a lovely few hours in a hotel restaurant completely  stuffed ourselves. It was then back to Barrack 3 to unpack (again) and then binge on Netflix.

Both Monday and Tuesday we had to go to lectures after our exams, Wednesday was our first day of being able to fully concentrate in our lectures. We have only begun the Upper Polar  Atmospheres course this week. We have a lecturer from the University of Oslo for this week, Jøran Moen. He’s been fantastic and appears to really enjoy what he’s talking about, which has kept everyone really interested in what we’re doing. Luckily for us (from Aberystwyth) most of the stuff this week has been stuff from our previous space plasmas and solar atmosphere and heliospheres module, making it nice start to the module. (Fun Fact: I refrain from using the word “easy”, I feel like it could be tempting fate.)

Friday is the day of the weekly social, the Friday Gathering (FG). This week, I spent the evening playing heads-up, beer pong, and chilling in front of the fire. The FG’s are held in the canteen at UNIS where we get to relax with other students and purchase incredibly cheap alcohol, win win.

Saturday, a group of us went to watch the new Star Wars film at the cinema in town. I managed to miss seeing it before I left home because I was so busy with coursework and then general partying at home over Christmas. It was fantastic to finally get to see it, great film! I had watched all of the previous films with my brother when we were younger (we even had light sabres and everything). Saturday night, myself and Katie went to the first meeting of the Fermentation Group. We ate rice paper rolls (they looked so weird, but tasted really good). And we then made out own onion, carrot and garlic thing in a jar to ferment for the next two weeks. I also had a bit to celebrate Saturday evening when Wasps managed to top the pool from hell in the European Championships!

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Cheering on Wasps from the Arctic

Sunday was adventure day! I went for a walk with Katie, Jack and Kieran. We managed about 11km around town in the end. We went out to the polar bear sign on the edge of town, sat on the edge of Adventfjorden, saw tiny reindeer, played on swings, found the Santa post box, and had lasagne and coffee. It was a fantastic walk and has left me feeling pretty drained. Sitting on the edge of Adventfjorden was probably the highlight of the walk, it was absolutely stunning, and there was a gentle lapping sound of the water against the edge of the land and ice.

This week, we’ve managed to view a beautiful Moon over Longyearbyen. The entire first week I didn’t manage to spot it until Saturday evening, and it was pretty cloudy so we couldn’t see much. But this week, there have been plenty nights to see it shining over us. The midday sunlight is beginning to get a bit brighter. The constant darkness doesn’t seem to be bothering me anymore, it’s just a bit disorientating when I first wake up in the dark when I do get a bit of a lie in. Early starts are not so bizarre; I had plenty of early starts in October – December which began in the dark. Once I’m fully awake and functioning (post coffee), I feel absolutely fine, it’s all normal now.

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Moon rise over Barrack 13

One thing I am struggling with is the food. I am pretty much living on toast and pasta. I am massively missing Mexican food (although, I have managed to make a chilli, but it’s pricey to make so it’s not a regular meal anymore for me). I also have a massive craving for both McDonald’s and Domino’s… The pain! I also realised today (thank you Hayley) how much I am missing a good Sunday roast.

Next week, I’ll be continuing with Upper Polar Atmospheres and also beginning the second module, Radar Diagnostics. We’re also hoping to go on a hike and/or camp next weekend!

Skål!

Author: Lucy Hoskin

23 year old student from Aberystwyth University about to complete my Masters in Astrophysics in the arctic.

2 thoughts on “Dancing in the Moonlight”

  1. Perhaps with all the cheap alcohol the Friday Gathering (FG) may be renamed: Friday University Gathering Everyone Down to Unusually Pleasant Educational Discussions. (FUGED UPED)

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