Showing posts from August, 2018

The Bachelorette

Back in 2014, around the time that I moved to Norway and started this blog, I joked with a close friend that I was The Bachelorette. I told her in jest that instead of men, I was courting countries to see which one I would end up with. She laughingly agreed. Germany  is an old family friend. His parents know my parents, and we have a long history together. He's an introvert and a homebody - the exact opposite of my extroverted personality - but somehow, we work together. He complements me. I know him so very well, and I trust him. Germany is strong, warm, and comforting. In contrast, Norway is young and hip. He's in incredible shape, and he loves being outdoors. He came into my life at a time when I expected him the least but needed him the most. We had a whirlwind romance that ended too soon, but he will always have a place in my heart. New Zealand is Norway's younger half-brother. I've gone out with him a few times, and I find him fascinating. He's outdoo


You can see the ankle bracelet on my right foot here. Simpson Beach, outside Charleston, OR, 2013. Photo by Amy Gawry. As many of you know, I wear ankle bracelets . Or at least I did. I collected them when traveling, and each bracelet symbolized something different to me - a memory, a moment, a person. I tied the bracelets on my ankles as a way to hold onto those moments, and when the bracelets wore out and fell off of their own accord, it was my signal that it was time to move on. Most of the bracelets I had actually fell off during my last year in Oregon, but there was one that stayed. It was made from a scrap of rope given to me by a crew member on NOAA ship Nancy Foster in 2012. I was supposed to practice tying bowline knots in the rope, so I tied a series of bowlines and then secured the loop around my ankle with a figure-8. In 2015, I added a copper charm to the bracelet while on R/V  Thomas Thompson  (it was a bit of hardware meant to connect two ends of a metallic cord,

Shipping up to Boston

"I'm a sailor peg And I've lost my leg Climbing up the top sails I lost my leg! I'm shipping up to Boston I'm shipping off to find my wooden leg" - "Shipping up to Boston" by the Dropkick Murphys Friends, I am headed home. This trip has been absolute insanity, but I am grateful for every moment of it. I have met with colleagues and  visited with friends . I have  picked up samples  and searched for more . I have finished writing a scientific paper. Altogether, I have been in 7 countries in 3 weeks; I have had 4 different currencies in my wallet, and I have been at every latitude from the Arctic to the Mediterranean . I. Am. Exhausted. Usually, when I walk through the international terminal of any major airport, I scan the possible destinations and think to myself "I'd like to go there," "Oh, I'd love to go there," and "Ooh, I wish I was going there." Then I'll arrive at my gate, read the name of so

Kirkebakken reunion

Kirkebakkeners at dinner in Barcelona For the last stop on my European Whirlwind Tour 2018, I went to Barcelona! The housemates I lived with in Stavanger, Norway , were getting together for a reunion, and when they found out I was going to be in Europe, they scheduled the event around my travels. I was so grateful for the chance to see them again! All the Kirkebakkeners from my era have since moved out of the house, but we've stayed in contact through social media. As soon as we were reunited, it was like we had never been apart at all. This group truly is my Norwegian family. We chartered a sailboat and went swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. We ate paella and drank sangria. We took walks through the city center and talked about our lives. It was an awesome weekend. I spend a lot of time thinking about communities. In my career, I'm a community ecologist , so I study how animals interact with one another and how their communities change over ti

I Havnen (in the port)

Polarstern entering the port in Tromsø I got to the port at 7:45 am. The water in the fjord was still, and the sun poked through a layer of cotton ball-like clouds. Out in the water, a giant ship moved slowly - almost imperceptibly - closer to the dock. I could see people leaning on the outer rails on several decks, but I could not yet recognize any of them. As the silent mammoth pulled alongside the pier, crew members on board tossed ropes to men on the dock. The ship was secured with massive, woven lines from the bow and from the stern. My work station for the day (before everything got spread out) A door opened on the starboard side, and I could see a woman stepping out onto one of the upper decks. I recognized her immediately - Miriam, a treasured German friend . She waved at me joyfully with both hands, and I did the same. I was very excited to see her! The reason I came north to Tromsø was to meet a ship, the German icebreaker Polarstern , when she arrived in port


He was leaning against the open door at the top of the stairs, wearing sandals, shorts, and an untucked shirt. His arms were crossed, and he was smiling. I smiled back.  "Hi Paul." I climbed to the top of the stairs and followed him to his office. Once I had a chance to set down the box I was carrying, he gave me a warm hug.  Friends, one of the great joys of my life as a traveling scientist is being welcomed by friends and colleagues across the world. Paul is an Arctic biologist who I collaborated with when I lived in Norway . I took his Arctic Benthic Ecology class at the University Centre in Svalbard in 2015, and he is a co-author on two chapters of my dissertation. He is a good scientist and a great mentor, and I was glad to see him again.  Views like this are one of the many reasons I love this city. The topography and the cloud cover make me keenly aware of the 3D space around me. I am currently in Tromsø, Norway, a city above the Arctic circle. I  pass

Meine Stadt

"Das hier ist meine Stadt, steig ein und ich nehm' dich   (This here is my city, get in and I'll take you) Ein kleines Stückchen auf meinem Weg mit                    (A small piece of the way with me)    Ich zeig' dir, was es hier zu sehen gibt                              (I'll show you what there is to see) Das hier ist meine Stadt...                                                 (This here is my city) Bremerhaven, ich hör' dich, ich fühl' dein Atem              (Bremerhaven, I hear you, I feel your breath) Der Weg hallt durch deine Straßen                                   (The path echoes through your streets) Und alles ist grau in den Gassen und Blocks meiner City" (And everything is gray in the alleys and  - "Meine Stadt" by Moe Mitchell                                         blocks of my city) Back when I lived here, a friend showed me the song quoted above. It's by an R&B artist from Bremerhaven, and it's th