I was sitting at a long wooden table in a straight-back wooden chair. I was wearing hiking boots, field pants, and a sweater. To my left, an impressively-sized painting depicted Viking warriors fleeing from an opposing army. To my right, a wide window showed a sweeping view of the city, fjord, and sunset below. In front of me, resting on the table, was a large white mug of cocoa and a slice of apple cake covered in homemade whipped cream.
Friends, I am in Norway.
|Kristina and I at Frognersenteren, Oslo|
I’m not quite sure how wise it was to embark on a trip to the Arctic in winter after spending an entire month in the tropical Pacific, but I’m considering the trip my own personal thermal shock experiment. Let’s be honest, though: I love the Arctic more than anywhere else on Earth.
My first stop was in Oslo, where my friend, Kristina, lives. She was a postdoc with me at WHOI and a frequent dive buddy, but she has since moved back to the University of Oslo to take another position. It was good to catch up with her and see her Norwegian world.
Kristina invited me to give a seminar at the University of Oslo while I was there, and I gladly accepted. I presented my research on recruitment in Svalbard, and after the presentation, a researcher in Kristina's group approached me to talk. I absolutely love when I travel and get to have stimulating conversations with scientists across the world.
I had another surprise after my seminar: a student in the front row approached and asked if I recognized him. I certainly did and had been wracking my brain throughout the seminar to figure out where I had met him before. "Abyssline," he hinted.
Then it became clear: his name was Oliver, and we had spent 6 weeks together on R/V Thomas Thompson in 2015. Together, we had completed 45 successful deployments of deep-sea landers. It was a memorable cruise that has since lead to a number of valuable publications, including Oliver's MS thesis. I was excited to find he was now a PhD student in Oslo and continuing to pursue science. Friends, the world is small.
I'll be heading up north in Norway later this week, so stay tuned!