As many international students do in December, I went back home for Christmas and to celebrate the New Year. I returned to Montreal this week and I’ve been getting back into the same-old rhythm after a nice vacation. It usually takes me few days to get fully focused again, which is not that bad. January in Iceland is one of the worst months of the year: Christmas has passed, no major activity to look for and we have very few hours of daylight. On winter solstice we have 4 hours and 7 min of sunlight, reaching a maximum angle of 2.7°. Every time I go back home for Christmas it always surprises me how short the day is.
We do have one tradition to “light up” our day(s): by law, the public is allowed to use fireworks on New Year’s Eve and few days before and after! Before 2008 the sky would light up like never before, each year getting crazier and crazier. But then of course we had our economic “issues”, but there are still significant amounts of fireworks sold to the public. The picture with the entry is taken from my parent’s place when 2012 was only few seconds old. Pre-crisis time was much different, take a look at the video below which is from 2007.
For the first time since I moved to Montreal (5 years ago), there was more snow in Reykjavik than in Montreal! This might sound like a shocker to some – after all, it’s Iceland, “land of the ice and snow” as portrayed by Led Zeppelin in Immigrant Song – but the fact is that we do not have very harsh winters in the area around the capital, we thank the Gulf Stream for this. However, go into the country and you’ll find 13 glaciers that cover 11% of our country, one being the largest glacier in Europe, and of course there you will find a much colder and harsher climate.
So as I wrap up my first Grad Life entry of 2012, I hope everyone enjoyed 2011 and are excited for 2012. For me, this will be an action-packed year; this is my last year as a PhD student – assuming everything goes as planned … Research wrap-up, thesis writing and job hunting is all going to take place before the fall. Exciting times, I can’t wait!