Sunday, July 26, 2009

Leaving on a JET plane

As I'm in group B, I haven't gone yet. Still, as my last weekend in Edinburgh for the foreseeable future draws to a close, it seems like a good time for some pre-departure reflections.

I just went for a walk. I've become a bit hooked on walking lately; it all started as a way to deal with the considerable stress of finishing my thesis before leaving for Japan. I would often take a stroll of an evening to help me unwind from writing/analysing/hacking and boost my (slim) chances of sleeping well. Now I can't stop, and I'm having to find more and more unlikely routes around Edinburgh's south side to keep things fresh. I am very much looking forward to having a whole new town to walk around in.

Tonight's walk took in King's Buildings, the campus where I worked from 2005 to 2008. Now that I've got my PhD, it was strange but pleasant to reminisce about those times: nervous enthusiasm in first year, growing disillusionment in second, fear in third (the less said about the fourth the better...). I can't really get over my surprise that it all somehow turned out alright in the end, and I could now legitimately preface my name with 'Dr' if I were sufficiently pretentious.

I've been practicing introducing myself in Japanese today. My predecessor told me that learning these six or seven simple sentences and saying them to various people would be very important. I was also reading his blog today with renewed enthusiasm (I'm a little reluctant to post that link here, because it's essentially full of spoilers for this blog). I had a quick look over it back in May when I found out I was going to Nanyo but now I'm poring over the details of his arrival to try to prepare myself for the novelty assault I'm about to experience. It sounds very exciting indeed. I was particularly pleased to find a photo of what will soon be my house. It's quite strange though, it reminds me of that Bjork video where she finds a book that narrates her life before it happens.

I am sad to be leaving. There are people I will really miss. Whenever I see anyone now I wonder how long it might be until I see them again. But I can't stay in Edinburgh all my life, and I can't really think of anywhere else I'd rather be going or anything I'd rather be doing. And it's not like I'm leaving forever; my contract is only a year and five years is the very longest they'll let me re-contract. In the meantime, I have the internet to keep in contact with everyone.

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