Nothing new, really…

… but nevertheless loving this place.

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Over and out. I’m going to the beach.

It’s official! I’m unemployed!

Following the relatively weak presentation at Aalto University a week ago, yesterday I gave my second and last master’s thesis presentation, this time at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Lisbon. In contrast to the presentation at Aalto, the IST presentation would be graded, and make part (20%) of the final grade of my thesis.

This slight pressure seems to have been what I needed to motivate me to give a great presentation. Because the presentation certainly went great. So great that even the program director (a professor with whom I am certainly not on good terms with) commented the presentation by saying that “we already know you give excellent presentations”. Coming from her, that is certainly a compliment.

Thesis presentation

Following a long discussion and questions session (40 minutes or so) the jury was left alone to discuss the grade. And the result?

19/20

Practically the top grade. 20/20 is probably reserved to him or her who cures cancer or reverts climate change, so I’m pretty satisfied with my grade.

However, every rose has its thorns1, and my main thorn is supposedly my arrogance. The professors made a big deal out of me not including my supervisors and the European Commission(!) in my thesis acknowledgements. After all, they said, this would probably not have been possible without their help, and certainly not without the scholarship from the EC.

Perhaps this is a combination of Sweden being a country very low on formalities, me in particular disliking formalities, and the Portuguese society being completely obsessed by formalities; but it was still a pity that they got something to complain about. But like Michalis said, when they don’t find anything concrete to comment on, they look for irrelevant details instead.

So I have promised to add at least the EC to my acknowledgements. But since I am the way I am, I am now also tempted to thank:

* The Swedish government for also funding me throughout my 7 years of studies.
* The Swedish inhabitants, for paying the taxes that have led to these funds.
* The EU inhabitants that pay taxes, since that is what ultimately payed my EC scholarship.
* Argentina’s black exchange market (and thus indirectly the Argentine government), for giving me 50-80% more pesos for my Euros.
* etc…

But I will surpress this temptation…

Anyway, I will now celebrate my unemployment by going to the beach. After all, we’re expecting 31°C here today.

Over and out!

1. One thing I love about blogging in English is that I learn all these new proverbs. In Swedish this proverb is “Even the sun has its spots” (Även solen har sina fläckar). But that this is Every rose has its thorns in English, was new to me.

The Stockholm ego

Now and then I get reminded of why I do not want to live in Stockholm. I often mention the weather and distance to the rest of Europe as arguments, but the main reason is actually a different one. I cannot stand the arrogance and self centeredness of many people from Stockholm.

However, I haven’t spent much time in Stockholm in the past few years. And when I do, I mostly meet my friends and family, whom I naturally don’t think qualify into this category; if they did I wouldn’t waste my time calling then friends.

So I tend to get reminded during my travels instead. And one place you can be sure to meet them is on direct flights to popular tourist destinations in Europe.

This time, the arrogance was represented by some guys in (I guess) their mid-to-late twenties, singing, beat-boxing, and table drumming their way down to Lisbon. They cannot have missed the fact that they annoyed the people around them; especially since even I got disturbed, despite sitting 6–7 rows away.

I haven’t done enough charter flights originating from other cities than Stockholm to say whether this is unique for people from my home town. I also by no means claim that this behavior is common. But I can’t recall experiencing such self-centeredness on any other flights, so it serves as a good reminder (albeit metaphoric evidence based) of why I don’t like Stockholm.

There and gone again. A thesis’s tale

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Ready for recycling

Two days ago saw the arrival of these insignificant pieces of work to the world. For a moment I was the owner of two hardcopy prints of my own master’s thesis. 20 minutes later these were passed on to the university, most probably to never again be opened, until they sooner or later find themselves destroyed; either in a deliberate recycling effort (most probably), or in an unfortunate library fire (not so probable). Nevertheless, with these masterpieces of design and research excellence, the first part of two for closing my euSYSBIO chapter is completed.

Five days in Helsinki are now immediately followed by nine days in Lisbon. A not insignificant change for the better:

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Other factors are: better prices; better food and drinks; better-sounding and more understandable language (and people applying it to communicating), a more humane drinking culture, and closer to BsAs (yeah right…).

My experience also tells me that Portugal has more psychologically and socially retarded biology professors per capita. However, this fact is filed under somewhat less positive features.

Nevertheless, it was great to meet some of my old mates in Finland. It was especially revitilazing to meet and discuss with good ol’ Gonçalo. A great mind, always sparking with ideas. I’m also super grateful to both him and Maiia for accommodating me during these days.

Anyway, next stop Lisbon!

The only thing that is clear is that the future is unclear

Another week has gone by here in Buenos Aires, and I now only have five days left here. Sentimental for many reasons, but since I have not been roaming around Argentina this month as I originally planned, it has also been bit boring at times, sitting around with nothing to do—especially while Lorena is at work or in class. So in a sense it will be nice to finish this chapter and start getting at least my near future sorted out.

Exactly what happens during my next half year is still unclear—about as unclear as most of my past half years have been since 2004 or so. A small proof of this is my flight ticket folder where I have filed most of—but not all—my flight tickets since 2009:

I wonder with how many tons I have exceeded my CO2 quota over these years...

I wonder with how many tons I have exceeded my CO2 quota over these years…

At least half of these are connected to work and studies rather than leisure, indicating how much I have been moving around in the past. I have to admit that this has started to get a bit tiresome, as I do not really know what is home anymore. Also, although moving around allows me to get to know people from all over the world, it also inevitably always leads to goodbyes—sometimes for good. This is the main negative part of solo-nomadic living.

Nevertheless, for the moment I have no reason to believe that this temporary living is coming to an end, at least not during the next 1–2 years. But exactly how temporary and where this temporariness will take place, is still shrouded in mystery…