Journey to the Netherlands

Here comes my second blog this year which somehow coincided with Nowruz, a cue for aspiration and reminiscence.

The new year began with my secondment at Aquamarijn company, in the Netherlands. Just before travelling to the Netherlands, my little Scandinavian city faced a very cold weather with lots of snow which made me further consider the prospects of being away. After a short flight to Amsterdam and a relaxing train trip to Wageningen, here I was at the train station, and Andriy was already there, waiting for me. On the very same day my work at Aqumarijn started with safety training and laboratory orientation. It was comforting to see some proper laboratories and equipment after a long time of not having used any such facilities. Andriy was very friendly and enthusiastic, and he helped me a lot during my stay. Besides Andriy, I also met Gina and Vincent, and got to know more about their research, an opportunity which I wish I could have had earlier. Besides meeting my fellow ESRs, one of the best parts of my secondment was meeting Prof. Nielen at RIKILT. He kindly organized a training for me in mass spectroscopy, and patiently explained the details about both the FoodSmartphone spectrum, as well as the research at RIKILT. The collaboration with Aquamarijn lead to me designing a small 3D printed microscope which I hope will be further developed in our future collaborations.

Although the weather was nice when I arrived, I was naïve to believe that the Netherlands could be anything close to a hideout from the cold winter back in Sweden, and soon after my arrival the harsh cold arrived. Luckily, I was residing in the campus, in an area near the laboratory, and it was just a matter of minutes to get to work. However, the cold weather was accompanied by clear skies, and I believe it was a rare occasion to have no rain and be able to see the landscape. Therefore, I decided to take the opportunity and visit a few other places in the Netherlands. The first destination was Rotterdam, and it was amazing to see how everything is within reach thanks to the very efficient train network of the Netherlands, so Rotterdam was but a short and comfortable train trip away. I also spent some time in Utrecht and Amsterdam, but at the end of it all, I somehow managed to become sick, as a result of having underestimated my abilities of putting up with the extreme cold and windy local weather. Despite this slightly unfortunate turn of events, I can honestly say that it was a great experience to see the charm of all these old cities, and I wish I could have spared more time to get to know more about other parts of the country.

Nowadays, life in Linkoping is directly proportional with the improvement in weather. Slowly, but surely, the temperature reaches double digits above zero during the day, and the days have become peculiarly long.  At the university, I am mostly preoccupied with finishing the unidirectional manifold, in order to prepare all the results for publication, and I hope I can finish it as soon as possible.

I am very much looking forward to meeting the other ESRs in June, and I hope until next time I can share with you some new stories.


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