Archive for March, 2006

Monopoly, Lunchboxes & a lot more

Hello!

I’ve been quite busy lately, but I’ll try to give an update of what I’ve been up to.

I didn’t get the house that I visited a while ago, that was disappointing because it was really nice and in a perfect location. But I’m sure we’ll find something, it’s only March… And if not, there’s nothing wrong with the house I live in now.

Last week I did the Transitions course for PhD students for 4 days. I’ve learnt a lot of useful things there, but I’ve also been really bored and even annoyed. The woman who was teaching us presentation skills was chewing gum ALL the time, how am I supposed to take her seriously?? We had to do a presentation which they filmed and we had to look at it to see how we did. I thought it would be horrible, but it wasn’t too bad. I did fine, they said I talked a bit too fast. Hehe I know I have this problem in Dutch, I guess it’s a good sign for my English that I do it here as well. Oh and to show how mature we PhD students are… the first day we made drawings, played with Lego and did roleplays!!

On Thursday night we organized a dinner/monopoly night at Paola’s place. We gave her the Norwich edition of Monopoly for her birthday, so we had to try it out of course :) It was fun! Here some photos of that night, click to enlarge.

Monopoly

Veronika, Johannes, Nicole & Veronica

Monopoly

Yeah I was there too ;)

Monopoly

Veronica next to the nice fireplace :) (almost real!!)

Monopoly

Monopoly the Norwich Edition, including UEA :)

Monopoly

This would have been a really nice photo if Nicole didn’t put her finger in front of the flash… Veronica, me and Paola.

Other news… I bought tickets to come home for Easter, I will be in the Netherlands 13-18 April. I’m looking forward to being at home for a bit, hope the weather will be nice. I’d like to do some biking, get some photos of the flower fields that should be in bloom by then, fly my brothers kite on the beach… Paul is turning 21 on the 15th of April!

And some sad news… Many of my friends are not happy in their PhD here. Both Paola and Nicole have now decided to stop their PhD. Paola is trying to get another PhD position in Barcelona, and Nicole is going back to the USA. I am going to miss them so much!! Fortunately, Nicole will still be around for a while, at least until the Summer. Nem and me are trying to look at the bright side, we will have 2 nice destinations for our holidays :)

To finish, a bit of advertisement… My brother is in a project group for his school, and they invented a foldable lunch box. They are selling really well!! I have one (a blue one of course!), and I’ve already sold about 14 of them here. It’s such a great idea and they look very nice too. I use it at work every day, after lunch you can just fold it out so it doesn’t take much space in my bag. Here’s an example, in a color that they don’t sell but well.

Lunchbox

Lunchbox

Lunchbox

Check out their website: Motifive The website is only in Dutch, but if you are interested in getting one, drop me a line.

That’s it, I’ve had people complaining that I write way too much so I try to keep it a bit shorter. I’ve been busy with work and with social things, lots of concerts, dinner, lunches, parties… Last week there was the International Party at the university, very good party! There were performances from different countries, like Mexican dancing, Japanese dancing, Spoken Word from the USA, Capoeira from Brazil, etc. It was really nice, I had lots of fun :)

This weekend I have a Dutch dinner :) With Erik and Dorothee, 2 researchers here in ENV. They both studied in Wageningen hehe, though a long time before me ;)

I was also planning to get out of Norwich and take some nice photos, I haven’t done much photography lately, haven’t used my SLR camera for ages!! They say it will finally be a bit warmer this weekend, but they are also expecting rain :(

I’m still planning to do a Norwich by Night photoshoot some time. That way my tripod will get some excersise as well hehe.

Anyway, I was going to keep it short ;) have a good weekend everyone!!

Hanneke

Sea Survival Training & Cambridge x2

Hello!

Pancake Day was nice, I ate one with lemon and sugar, that’s the way the English like to eat their pancakes :) And I ate many with chocolate, cause that’s the way I like them :) That day it was snowing a lot! And I had a flat tire that I couldn’t repair because I was out of glue… So I had to get to Colins place by bus, which takes an hour. By bike it’s 15-20 minutes, I don’t understand how anyone can live without a bike here!

On Thursday Nicole and me took the 8 AM train from Norwich to Lowestoft for our Sea Survival Training. Such a great day!! We did theory until about 3 PM, all about how to survive cold water, what to do once you’re in the life boat, how to get rescued, even things like how to survive shark attacks… It was really interesting and I learnt a lot.

Then it was time for more fun: the pool! We had to wear overalls and shoes and a life jacket. First we climbed down a rope, got in the lifeboat, swam, and climbed up a rope ladder. Hard work, especially while wearing a life jacket that gets in the way all the time. Then we had to jump from about 3-4 meters into the pool, while holding down your life jacket with one hand and closing off your nose and mouth with the other hand. Quite scary the first time! We learned how to turn the life boat around in case it’s upside down. And how to huddle in a group to stay warmer and so that you don’t lose people. The final exercise was the most exciting: they turned on the wave simulator, the rain machines and wind, and the lights were flickering while an alarm went off. We had to jump in, and work as a group to get everyone in the lifeboat and then close the roof. Quite a challenge when you try to swim (on your back) through the waves, trying to find the lifeboat while rain is pouring. But we did it! I have a huge bruise on my arm, I don’t really understand how I got that, but well. I really enjoyed the training! And I got my certificate, so I am ready to go to sea :)

My muscles were hurting for a couple of days, including the don’t-make-me-laugh-cause-it-hurts muscles ;) On Saturday I went in town to visit the library and I went for tea with Veronika. At night Nem, Nicole and me had a girls night, we had dinner and then we watched Finding Nem(o) :)

On Sunday morning I had to wake up early cause I was meeting Johannes (from Austria, I met him at the barn dance) at 9:00 at the train station. We took the train to Cambridge for a day of sight-seeing. The weather was beautiful, quite cold but very sunny. We walked around and saw many of the colleges, this city is really amazing, never seen anything like it. It was beautiful at the river where people were punting. We went to Pizza Hut for lunch, where we had the unlimited pizza buffet and unlimited ice cream factory for dessert. We ate so much that I didn’t need dinner that day!! After lunch we walked around more and saw colleges like Jesus College, nice name ;). Johannes wanted to visit the American cemetery, which is outside of Cambridge. According to the map we looked at it was only 2 miles, but it was more like 4. It took an hour to get there! We passed BAS on the way as well. The cemetery was impressive, a lot like the one I saw last summer in Normandy at the D-Day beaches, though smaller.

Just when we were getting ready to walk all the way back (while the sun was setting), one of the overpriced tourist busses came by. I asked how much it was to get back to Cambridge, and the driver told us we could come for free!! That was really nice!! It was an open double decker so we sat on top and we decided to get out at the train station. It took a very long way to get there and we got all the commentary about the city centre, all for free :)

Here are the photos!

Cambridge

The entrance of King’s College

Cambridge

At King’s College

Cambridge

And me at King’s College :)

Cambridge

The river that runs behind the colleges

Cambridge

Hmm I don’t remember the name of this college, there are so many!

Cambridge

Johannes

Cambridge

Jesus College

Cambridge

A cute and very small college, with lots of flowers in the garden!

Cambridge

This is one of the big and famous ones, but I don’t remember which one!!

Cambridge

The American Cemetery in Madingley

Cambridge

I liked the shadows of the graves….

Cambridge

On our way back, taken from the bus

I came back home at 19:00, sooooooo tired of all the walking we did, I went to bed early.

On Tuesday Nicole and me made dinner at my place for Paola, Nem and Johannes. Well it was more Nicole making dinner and me cutting vegetables hehe. After dinner we played Trivial Pursuit the (slightly British biased) international edition. I won!!! It’s a miracle, I never win this game. I was just lucky winning wedges for questions like: who is the companion of Obelix? It was good fun :)

On Wednesday I went to Cambridge again, but this time not as a tourist. I went with Ian (my supervisor) and Emma (another PhD student). I had my second supervisory meeting at BAS (British Antarctic Survey), I have two supervisors there. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t make much progress since the last meeting (in November). This was mostly because of all the problems I had with the model, it kept crashing, quite frustrating. To my surprise, my supervisors there were impressed that I got some results at least, and they had some good ideas on what to do next. So I’m quite happy about the meeting!

Besides that meeting, I spent most of the day reading journals in the library, Ian had meetings all day. It was good because I got a lot of work done that way!

At night I went to the Norwich Buddhist Centre, where I had the first night of my Introduction to Meditation course… Some of you might be surprised that I am doing something like that ;) Yeah I am surprising myself as well, but I thought I would give it a try. I am too stressed sometimes and my problems with hyperventilation (that I’ve had for a long time) are getting worse lately. Colin recommended doing meditation and I thought it was worth the try. I was a bit scared that it would be full of crazy hippies there, but the people were quite nice and it was a very relaxing evening (I almost fell asleep, oops).

Ok this is all for now… It’s quite a busy time again here. On Friday I am going to the World Cafe, they are ha
ving an international food festival so that should be good!! I am going to make poffertjes for that :)

On Saturday I am going to visit a house in this street… It’s a 2 bedroom apartment, it sounds really good. Célia is coming to Norwich next year so we are trying to find a place together. I’m not sure how it will work out, she might also move into my house. We’ll see! The owner of the house told me that there will be more than 20 student couples coming to see the house, so I don’t think I’ll have a good chance but I am going to try anyway. Would be so easy to just move to a house in the same street hehe.

On Saturday night I am going to a concert in the Norwich Arts Centre with Veronika. And next week I have Transitions for 4 days, Monday to Thursday. It’s a course for PhD students about how to plan your PhD, presentation skills, writing skills etc. Probably useful but 4 days is a bit too much I think. I’m afraid it’s going to be a bit boring!

Bye!!

Hanneke