End of Classes
I have spent most of time since last week reflecting on the fact that all the assessed parts of my classes have now finished. Just in time for summer! Just a 15,000 word dissertation assessing the potential for glacial lake outburst floods in eastern Tibet to write, before the start of August.
It was interesting presenting some early work on this project at the postgraduate conference, and in some ways justifying why I was looking into this. Someone told me that they were impressed as I was researching a topic that could directly influence people from the dangers of a geohazard and that they had chosen their topic because it was on offer and sounded cool. It amused me as most things related to glaciers 'seems cool' to me.
Truth be told, it is the environments that glaciers occur in that interest me, the mountains, the cold air, the silence, the photographs that can be taken and the total peace of mind that can be attained.
I have made no secret of the fact that I was disappointed with the grade that I was given for the presentation, I believe the marking system to be flawed and the markers staying anonymous stops discussion being possible. Fundamentally anti-science in an academic setting. Reading the handbook on the appeal process, I read between the lines, was basically don't waste your or our time. Of course, the mark for this doesn't matter as much as the feedback that I received from some of the audience members that contributed some excellent sources of new material and resources. I have found that issues that disappoint me are usually not worth worrying about and the people involved, less so.
After a 'tour de force' of The Hague municipal government offices (due to an incorrectly addressed tax bill) I have finally sought refuge in theCentraal Station Starbucks for some much needed news updates and coffee intake. Having lunch with a friend earlier this week I commented that the bureaucracy of The Netherlands wasn't that bad once you had registered and were living here. The irony that my 'de-registering' from living in The Netherlands was processed incorrectly and had caused my municipal tax fee to be auto-sent was not lost on me as I traveled from one end of The Hague to another seeking resolution to this 'error'.
I have also found that the most amount of fun you can have is digging through mail that is still being sent your old address. It doesn't matter how thorough you are at informing banks, people, shops and any other promotional lists you will still have a ton of mail after a few months. Soooooooo much fun to be had. Sweating through the 'belastingdienst letters' (tax authority) and cursing over the missed deals from 'de Bijenkorf' (think John Lewis or Sears depending on your western culture). There was also a card that came out of the blue tugging at my past. It made me pause and think.
Getting a few days away from Edinburgh and traveling back to The Hague has also given me some time to reflect on the last few months of work. It's amazing how some distance can give a little perspective on life events and shows exactly how much some issues are worth in the grand scheme of life. That's not to say that we should stop caring, or standing up for, what is important to ourselves.
Visiting The Hague has been interesting, much of it is how I remember, with some inconsistencies, such a shops being different, the train station renovation being finished (after ten years) and most of the people I knew (know) still being around. There are missing pieces of my life here, experiences that have adjusted my opinion, fun times that will never be recreated and people that have moved on.
It's warmer than Scotland. The people are more relaxed. Their fashion sense ranges from stylish to irreverent and at times it makes me smile, for instance the photograph above. My photography has been limited due to time constraints, and to be fair I think that I shot almost everything in The Hague during 2013. I took a couple, click to enlarge below :-)