Thursday, 28 January 2016

Light is on the Horizon!


In a bid to appear less vague I'm taking a leaf out of Lucy's book and editing the blog post bit by bit to ensure maximum information! Let's see how this one goes.

Alright so today (Sunday 24th), a few of us decided that we'd make the most out of the fact that it's the first weekend we've had in about 5 months where we haven't had some form of work that we've needed to do. Thus we strapped on our shoes and grabbed our cameras and went on the hunt for the famous Polar Bear sign at the edge of town. The overriding theme you'll see is that the sun is slowly peeping over the horizon and giving us some gorgeous lighting conditions!

On the way we got up to various shenanigans such as playing on a somewhat dilapidated swing set and attempting to climb a near vertical ice sheet. We saw some beautiful silhouettes cast by the rising sun in the south, some reindeer grazing peacefully with what seemed to be no cares in the world, and the governors house overlooking the town and making sure all is right in this remote haven. It's a special place here and I'm not sure quite how to describe and explain it all without dragging each and every one of you up here to see for yourselves.

After much dawdling and photo taking we finally arrived at the Polar Bear sign and took some more photos (surprising huh?). We got a short glance out across the open fjord and beyond and everything was still for a few moments as each of us took in a little bit of where we were and that just infront of where we stood was a place completely inhospitable to human life, yet we were stood there nonetheless.

For those wondering what the Polar Bear sign is:

Which loosely translates to "Applies to all of Svalbard". i.e. watch your back, there's likely a Polar Bear behind you.

Moving on to Monday it seemed like it was going to be a relatively uneventful day till I received an email from the gentleman that I'm applying to for a PhD and he thought a skype chat was a great idea to clear up any final pieces of information and to also get a chance to talk properly. I met David Long when I visited MSSL (Mullard Space Science Laboratories) at the end of November and had a chance to talk then but at that point it wasn't clear who was going to be the project supervisor.

FYI, I got the email in the middle of the first class of the day and nearly jumped out of it, sitting still was not an easy task. SO we skyped and it was great and he was encouraging, of course the system requires that all applicants are given full consideration before the 5th of February and then we move into interviews and the like, so I can't imagine there will be much more said about anything before that point. Nonetheless, it's encouraging! I can't describe how much I want to do my PhD there!!!!

Tuesday! The weather was on a whole other level today, gusts and snow blindness like nothing we've seen before with little snow twisters occasionally attempting to take us on a journey. Somewhat fun though! For a moment you get a real hint to what it must have been like back when Longyearbyen wasn't so civilised, when there was just a thin wall between you and the harshness of the Arctic and people likely dressed in less suitable clothing than us. It's somewhat of a far cry from the clear conditions of the previous night in which Lloyd, Ryan, and Kieran nabbed some fantastic star shots so go and take a look at them on their pages! Unfortunately no pictures here of either the stars or the crazy weather conditions though if I thought I'd have been able to hold onto the camera or the floor without being swept off into the abyss then I would have had something to show you!

In other news the building is making a weird creaking noise with each gust of wind and it sounds like something's about to be not so attached. I hope I won't have to move again... On that note too, we might be able to move into 11 at the start of next week! *win*

So Wednesday and Thursday passed without much of the interesting other than we finally have one of the Welfare rifles and equipment to go along with it; HIKE TIME!!!! I think we have plans to go up one of the plateau mountains and take some pictures of the town / sun / sky (if it isn't cloudy like it has been for the last few days), others are planning on going Skiiing at some point and a few other hikes have been discussed, personally I'm just glad to be getting out of town and back to exploring! More pictures too, so check back at the next post.

Also I experienced my first Norwegian class and learnt how to say a few phrases, repeat after me:

Jeg heter - I am called
Jeg kommer fra - I come from
Jeg er - I am
Engelsk - English

Though these phrases I'm sure Google is capable of translating, and the pronunciation you can figure out yourself and try it on me when I get back, good luck ;D

Right now, Kieran is on his way over to teach me about Age of Empires 2 so, gotta dash!

Time for a cuppah I think.

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