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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Five words from oursin [20090722|18:51]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[coordinates |comfy chair]

Church, west London


I'm moving this week. Creativity is low; cravings for popcorn and films involving fast cars and explosions are high. Rather than bore you all with "ZOMG I NEEDS MORE BOXES" type posts, I figured I'd catch up on some memes I owe. [info - personal] oursin gave me five words a while ago, and I'm going to start with

  • London
    London is home. I'm not ready to move away from it, although I'm going to do so in a matter of days. At least I'm not going far. It's the place I've been the most devastated, and subsequently, the happiest. I've grown into my own skin here. I partake in the wordless love that so many other Londoners have for this city. Every day I spot something new in her, and every day I observe tiny rituals dedicated to her, like stopping to appreciate the view over the Thames from Hammersmith Bridge. I have a small irrational belief that these acts are my contribution to the buzz makes her so special.

  • Physics
    Physics is for people who prefer complicated but consistent explanations to glib answers. I am one of those people. (This preference is linked to my lack of religious belief.) I like the fact that physics provides the best possible explanation in terms of reliable, repeatable observation, for the way the universe works. I also like the fact that the explanation will change and improve as we learn to adapt our tools (including our minds) to further our understanding.

  • Academia
    Academia is seemingly inescapable. If academia were a person, I would call our relationship codependent. I tried to leave, but I keep coming back. I am happy in my current job, which allows me the advantage of participating in my favourite parts of it such as the lack of dress code, flexibility of hours, freedom to structure my tasks as I please, teaching and outreach, lots of technical problems to solve and working with very bright and equally weird people. It also shields me from the parts that I dislike, such as the petty politics, the scrambling for permanent positions, the need to publish endlessly even if it's drivel and the horrors of conferences. I feel that if I were to return to academia in an academic capacity, I'd probably be able to overcome my Impostor Syndrome, now that I've had so much practice not caring what other academics think of me. But I'd prefer to stay as I am.

  • Expatriate
    Strangely, I feel I could repeat a good deal of what I said about my current position in academia with regard to my status as an expat. I'm just the right amount of uncomfortable in the UK. Though I have an English boyfriend and I participate in and relish many English activities, such as Sunday roasts, listening to the cricket on the radio, drinking beer and queueing, I can never hope to achieve complete assimilation. I have a sense of heightened awareness all the time, and I've learned to like it - to depend on it, even.

  • Serendipity
    I tend to think that the role of serendipity in science (and in life) is overemphasized. Sometimes unintended consequences arise from my actions and very occasionally they may have been life-changing, but I don't think any such events have been totally unexpected. Most "Eureka!" moments happen after a long, grueling slog, pondering over the same question/data/relationship before the solution coalesces. Of course, long grueling slogs don't make for good sound bites, which is why the myth of the "Eureka!" moment of genius perpetuates.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-24 15:44 (UTC)
I have to visit LA next year. I wanted to this year but what with saving up for the house purchase, the only cash I could spare was for the trip to see my parents. But hopefully since we do have the house now, my parents will visit me (FINALLY) next year, meaning I can be free to go to California.

Thank you. It's lovely to have an external perspective that agrees with my assessment of myself!
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2009-07-22 21:34 (UTC)
I miss London!!! I want to walk aimlessly around her streets, visit all those little corners again. I've been reading some Henry James, and I feel so homesick for Battersea.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-24 16:29 (UTC)
I understand. At some point we will have to make a literary pilgrimage across London.
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[User Picture]From: bellelaqueen
2009-07-23 08:36 (UTC)
I don't think I'll ever be ready to leave London. I know some day we will have to, and it'll be for somewhere with a better quality of life, but it just won't be the same.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-24 16:39 (UTC)
If only it weren't so expensive to purchase property here. There's no way we could have afforded a house like the one we just bought in London.
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[User Picture]From: bellelaqueen
2009-07-25 09:04 (UTC)
I hear ya. If I could afford a decent place in London I would buy here in a second. We instead bought a little flat in Melboure which we hope to pay off quickly and then use as an asset to buy ChezAwesome, hopefully somewhere we do actually want to live.
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[User Picture]From: greyface
2009-07-23 14:19 (UTC)
To somebody who hasn't spent the time in the long gruelling slog, the "Eureka!" moment is meaningless. If you're not working on a problem, the answer won't come to you in a flash of insight...
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-07-24 16:45 (UTC)
I agree. Flashes of insight can be quite misleading, too. Lots of them have a tendency to fall apart on further investigation.
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