On Saturday the 9th, I finally left Cornwall after 8 years at Exeter’s Penryn campus. I’ll skip all the various Feelings I had leaving all my friends and regular haunts. I’m fairly certain I’ll be back at some point anyway. Suffice it to say, I had a lovely series of leaving dos and made the most of my last few days in Cornwall.
One last sea swim. Good to acclimatise me to very cold weather
Then I was off to CANADA. After packing of course.
Over Christmas I had raided various outdoor shops in search of cold weather gear. I’d had various warnings about -25° C temperatures and therefore engaged in a last minute scramble to make sure that I’d be warm enough when I arrived. All this and various other aspects of my life would need to fit into a 100 l duffel bag and a 60 l rucksack. Funnily enough, this didn’t actually prove too much of a problem. The downsizing I did have to do was quite cathartic. The internal processing went something like this:
“Do you need <THING>?”
“Are you sure you need <THING>?”
“Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?”
and thus I did not take a million and one pairs of socks (which would be too thin for this time of year anyway) or old t-shirts which, while I was very attached to them, were full of holes. I did take my climbing equipment, reasoning that indoor climbing would be a sensible sport to continue. I ultimately decided against taking camping equipment, mainly for space reasons. It’s probably a bit cold right now anyway, I may attempt to get it posted out when the weather was a little more clement.
Hoicking by now 21 kg (still in the weight limit) duffel bag onto my back I then boarded the series of trains, cars, underground trains and planes which would take me to Canada. The flight passed uneventfully (I watched The Martian!) and after standing in various queues to get through passport control, immigration etc I was finally officially in Canada. I pulled out my new thick coat and mitts and headed outside.
Being British, I had generally come to accept that winters would involve mainly wind and rain, and only rarely snow. Here however, there was more snow than they knew what do with.
No possibility of getting excited though, I had a heavy bag and needed to bus into town before it got even darker and colder.
The bus journey ended up being completely free, which was good as all the buses had “exact change only” labels on them. I definitely did not have exact change having only just arrived. The first buses till was broken. The second bus driver saw that I had nothing smaller than $10 and told me I could travel for free if I told him where my accent was from. Which was extremely kind of him.
I arrived at the place I am staying, starting to feel the effects of jetlag. I think it was about 11:00 UK time when I arrived, and I’d been up from 7. Though I was very nearly napping at one point, I managed to stay awake until about 2:30 UK time (9 PM here) which meant I woke up at a reasonable time the next day.
The next day I visited my new department. It is very much bigger than the Cornwall! My new supervisor/boss Julie led me through a maze of corridors and stairwells showing me various bits of the department, including my new office space (Fourth floor. Not the first, second or third which I discovered by process of elimination the following day). I met other members of my research-group as well.
I then went off and did some dull but necessary things, but afterwards ambled up to Parliament hill
I imagine this could be quite a touristy place but there wasn’t a soul around except for the police. I then headed down to where the Rideau canal meets the river.
Once again there wasn’t anybody around. It was really quite eerie, as even the traffic noises died away leaving nothing but the sound of the wind and the creaking ice.
Finally I headed home, back along the canal. Here is a photo from the footbridge to the university over the canal, which is my regular walk into the office now.
I hope to try and do some more touristy stuff on the weekend. In the meantime, more boring yet necessary stuff as I set my life up over here. And soon, some science!