Where’s all this traffic coming from?

So I haven’t said anything here for aaaaaages. I logged in because I’m preparing to post about my field trip to Kenya, which was on 15-25 January. I noticed that I’ve been getting a lot of visitors lately, 73 in one day recently. I’m a bit confused.

I’m not complaining though, if anything this encourages me to write more! :)

So, right now I’m uploading all my pictures to Flickr. It’s going to take forever because there are 380+ pictures and I didn’t think to reduce the size any before I started. But because it’s taking so long I’m not going to post anything until tomorrow. I have already written about the trip, I just have to put it in here, put all the links in and add some pictures. There will likely be two posts, since it’s 3500 words or so.

I’m not doing much of anything these days. I got back from Kenya on the 25th. I need to start working on my data and write my report, but since a part of the group decided to stay in Kenya to have fun until 4 February I felt justified in taking a break. Classes start again next week and to be honest I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait for things to get back to normal. This Christmas break (or not break, I had essays to write) has been too long.

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PhD?

So I’m thinking about doing a PhD next year once I’ve finished my MPH. I always meant to get one but I wasn’t sure if I’d do it right away or wait a few years. It’s going to be expensive and I already owe a great deal of money for my student loans, but now I’m really tempted to do it right away.

One thing I’m thinking about is funding/fees since I’m Icelandic and therefore not from the EU. Oversees fees are very high, without funding I’d have to pay up to £15,000 per year which would add up to £45,000 just in fees. I might be able to get around this because according to the rules I am eligible for home fee status if I’ve lived in the UK for a certain number of years or if I have a job. I’d have to look into what I need to do to lower my fees. I am also definitely going to do everything I can to get funding or a scholarship or something. I might have to take one year off and work in the UK for this to work. If so then I’ll do that, but I hope not.

What I’m studying now is public health and international development in the Geography department. I was looking through the programmes that are available and one was Health Geographies and Epidemiology. I want to do something like that, only probably with a focus on GIS or Health Informatics.

I’ve e-mailed one of my teachers, who apparently is in charge of PhDs in Human Geography. I’m looking forward to hearing what she says.

Any ideas, advice, suggestions? Am I insane?

 

Check out PHD Comics for more funny.

About the Kenya Field Trip

Ok so I completely failed to blog properly about Intro Week. In short: it was fun, I met lots of people and then it was over. Since then I’ve had one week of school and it’s been great. The workload this winter is going to be heavy, but I’m excited for everything I’m going to be learning, albeit a little intimidated.

Today I finally got some decent information about the field trip to Kenya. It was exciting and terrifying all at once. I think that while my teacher was trying to be honest with us, she was also probably enjoying scaring us a bit.

We leave on January 15th from Heathrow. The flight is close to 12 hours long. Then we stay at Lake Elementaita Lodge for one night before we drive to the Marich Pass Field Studies Centre. Apparently this is a very poor, very remote area and getting there isn’t easy. The roads are very bad and the drive is likely to take up  to 10-11 hours.

There is limited electricity there. We will have access to plugs at the dining hall (I think) to charge our phones, but otherwise we’ll do without. There are open-air showers. The look on the teachers face was positively sadistic when she mentioned that there are bugs the size of birds. *panic*

So yes, this trip is way out of my comfort zone and I’m nervous. I am also incredibly excited and I know this is going to be very good for me. I’m a terribly spoiled, way too sanitized and completely clueless. Hopefully this will serve to widen my horizon considerably and teach me a few good life lessons.

Before I go I’ll have to get lots of extreme sunblock, good shoes, immunizations, travel insurance (from Iceland or the UK?) and possibly therapy for my arachnophobia.

In other news: Sheffield is awesome, classes are fantastic and life is good.

Now in Ranmoor Village

My sister gave me a kick in the butt and insisted that I write something here. She’s absolutely right, I have been neglecting this space.

I moved into permanent accommodation on September 11th. It’s a small studio flat in Ranmoor Village (one of the University of Sheffield’s residential areas). It’s very nice and cozy and you can see pictures here on Flickr. The Ranmoor Village is almost brand new. There used to be housing here that, according to what I’ve heard, was completely horrific. The University had it torn down and rebuilt and the new accommodation was opened last winter. It’s all very fresh.

I was a bit lonely here at first. I moved in one week early and other people didn’t start moving in until this weekend. So for a week I felt a bit like I was living in a ghost town and the Ridge (Ranmoor service centre with a bar/restaurant) didn’t open up properly until yesterday. Everything’s so much more lively now and I’ve even met a girl who lives in my flat (4 studio rooms make up one flat – each flat only has either men or women). She’s from India and was feeling a little lonely so she came over to introduce herself.

I still haven’t found a job. I had an interview recently, but wasn’t hired. I’ve been feeling a bit down about it and I considered just going without a job. Then I sat down to put together a budget for the year and realized that with a part time job I would be so much more comfortable. I sent out a few more applications yesterday and am now refusing to let a bit of insecurity get me down. So there.

I finally got access to the University network yesterday, so now I don’t have to walk all over campus just to get online. I need to buy a longer net cable though, the one that came with the room doesn’t reach the bed. It irritates me.

Tomorrow is the beginning of Intro Week. During the week there is a heavy schedule set up by the Students’ Union to make sure we have many opportunities to get to know each other and have fun. I also have welcome meetings to go to, one for new postgraduate taught students and one for my department. Then I have to pick modules (classes) for the year and get registered into the school. At that point I will get my UCard which will grant me access to everything and give me all sorts of discounts and stuff. I’ve been going over the events calendar to pick out things that are interesting to me and it looks like the week is going to be very busy. I can’t wait for it all to start. I can tell it’s going to be awesome!

Then the week after Intro Week classes begin and this whole big studying-abroad adventure will begin. I feel like a big bundle of mixed emotions; excitement, nervousness, glee and a bit of fear. I’m sure everything is going to be absolutely fine though, so far things have worked out pretty well for me.

I don’t know if I’ll even remember to write a single word on here, but by all means give me a poke if you want to hear about what’s going on this week. I’ll try to remember to write a little something every night, even if it’s just so I’ll have it all written down somewhere. I’m gonna put a fresh battery in my camera and try to take lots of pictures.

Gay Pride and moving to Sheffield

Gay Pride

So, this weekend is Gay Pride weekend in Iceland. I had every intention of partying hard tomorrow, but I’ve come down with some kind of sinusitis shit so it doesn’t look like I’ll be up to much. I’m terribly sad. Still, I love Gay Pride. This time of year is always so full of love and acceptance and happy times.

The opening ceremony was today. I’m not a huge fan of the mayor of Reykjavík, but I have to applaud him for showing up at the ceremony in drag. Well done Jón Gnarr.

I’m sad I can’t be a part of it though. I had every intention of being a part of the parade this once. Q, the University of Iceland’s GLBT society, has a float that I had signed up for being a part of. The theme is something like “GLBT workers”. So I was going to try to figure out how to represent myself as a bisexual geographer. Oh well, maybe some other time. :P

In other news: I leave for Sheffield in 11 days. I’m feeling a very confusing mix of fear and excitement. I have pretty much everything worked out. Accommodation has been arranged, I have contacted HSBC so I only have to show up at a branch with some paperwork to open an account, I have bought my plane ticket (one way OMG) and the bus ticket from Heathrow to Sheffield. I have sent some job applications (and will continue searching when I get there).

All I have left is printing out and organizing all the paperwork for everything, packing, finishing working out the student loans issue and then leave. I only have 3 more shifts left at work. I’m already acting like the people I’ve been laughing at all summer when they’ve been counting down the minutes until their summer vacation starts. I’m so preoccupied I can’t focus on anything.

I had originally been planning on taking all of my kitchen stuff and lots of books with me. I had packed and put aside everything that I would have shipped over. The other day when looking into the cost of it and how it’s done I decided I couldn’t be bothered. Instead I’m just going go through the junk, pick out a few things that I care about and give the rest away. I’m keeping the books though, I’m going to have mom mail a box every now and then. I can also bring stuff with me when I come to Iceland for a visit and if my family visits me they can also bring some stuff. This decision is such a weight off my shoulders. I hadn’t realized how much this was stressing me out. I can just buy the most essential things when I get there and then with time bit by bit collect everything again.

I don’t really know what the future holds at the moment. The plan is to go to Sheffield, finish the year and then stay in the UK. I can’t really count on that working though, anything could come up. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m going to be there for school for a year, after that things are sort of uncertain. That means I can’t really be making decisions based on staying there for a number of years until I know whether that would work out or not. Who knows, maybe I won’t get a job, maybe I’ll be shipped off to Africa right away…I want to keep my options open.

My first degree!

So I have just about finished my first degree. Go me! I have finished everything, all grades are in and my graduation is on Saturday. Four days from now I will be a Bachelor of Science in Human Geography.

My thesis ended up being something of a pain. Due to anxiety I put off working on it for too long and then what I did wasn’t good enough for my instructor. I pretty much ended up writing the whole thing in about a week and a half. But I finished it and got a decent grade so all is well.

Here’s the abstract in English:

The aim of this thesis is to explore the effects that globalization has had on the emergence and spread of infectious diseases around the world since 1980. Theories in health geography, geopolitics and political ecology are used to illuminate this development. The conclusion is that emphasis on neo-liberalism and marketization in modern globalization creates and perpetuates inequality and restricts the access of the poor to healthcare and medication. Insistence on more productive production methods has an effect on the environment and nature and increases the emergence of new infectious dieases and increased migration has led to the spread of disease around the world. Attempts to react to the problem have remapped the borders of the world and even increased health inequality.

It’s crap, I know. :P Still, I learned a lot from writing it (mostly that I’m a dork and need to stop being the world’s greatest procrastinator) and my hatred for neo-liberalism has risen to incredible heights. Most importantly I realized that what I’m studying and what I have planned for the future is exactly right for me. I’m even more excited for next winter than I was before.

In September I will begin my post graduate studies at the University of Sheffield. The programme is called Master in Public Health in International Development (read about it here). In January we go on a field trip to KENYA!! I can’t even tell you how awesome that is! I’m going to have to work on my spider/creepy-crawlies phobia until then, otherwise I’m likely to be twitchy the whole time while there and not sleep at all. I’m silly like that.

For the moment I’m just working at a nursing home, trying to save some money. It’s remarkable how hard that is in the middle of a recession. Everything is so expensive it’s fucked up. I moved in with my parents to save on rent and phone bills and such. It’s been really nice, mostly because my mom is laundry-master-extraordinaire. I’m going to miss it when I leave and I’ll have to take care of my own laundry again. *sad face*

I leave for Sheffield in the middle of August. School doesn’t start until late September, but I have to arrive early to try to get a part time job. It’s only about 2 months away and I’m starting to get a bit nervous. Still, it’s going to be awesome!

A day in the life

I haven’t been very productive today. Not as much as I would have liked anyway. I’ve been fairly active however. My roommate (and best friend) Helga and I walked down town, had some sushi and then spent a few hours at a café (Hressó). We meant to get lots of studying done, but instead we simply refreshed Tumblr, LiveJournal, Facebook and Twitter instead. I did finish and e-mail an essay though, so it wasn’t all lost.

On the way back from the café we bought some bread and went to the Pond to feed the ducks and swans. The geese didn’t seem to be interested. :)

A goose in a funny position

A goose sleeping on a patch of ice

I took a video while we fed the birds. They were very aggressive, obviously hungry little bastards. :) They kept fighting each other and a few even ate the bread right out of our hands. It was so much fun. After our bread was finished some guys started feeding them and the birds rushed over to them. I took another video of that.

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