Sunday, 17 February 2013

A Free Man in Stockholm

Last week made a welcome change, with a resounding positivity as the backdrop to each day, and a productivity that absorbed me completely. I worked from home, starting before 7am every morning and looking up a minute later to find it was past lunch time. I'm finally finding a routine and a method of working that suits me, which is helping me to get really 'stuck in', finally. I wrote a methodology, developed a complicated calculation system for making phonological comparisons, submitted an abstract to the WILD conference (fingers crossed!), submitted a paper to a journal (toes crossed!) and did plenty of reading. So I was in a rather intense state of euphoria by Thursday evening, and about to close down my computer ready to teach some piano before celebrating our anniversary when my phone whistled out as a new email came into my inbox. I checked back to my account to find that an application I'd rushed through just before everyone closed for Christmas had been accepted: I had received a generous grant to study as a visiting student at the University of Stockholm in April!

I wasn't expecting to hear back for another couple of weeks, and had put the idea of going to the back of my mind; as much as I've been wanting to study abroad during my PhD (I spent a semester in Germany during my BA and loved it), the idea of being away from home at this intense period of my life became a bit too much for me to negotiate mentally! I spent a week in Stockholm in November, and fell instantly in love with the city. The people, the food, the thick coffee, the woodlands and colourful architecture: it's a wonderland of a place, and while I was there I could think only of finding a way to live there one day.

So now my wish has come true. My plane tickets are booked and I'll be flying out just before Easter until the end of April. I'll be carrying out an experiment in the fantastic Linguistics department at the University, learning on the job with some of the PhD students there who really know their stuff. This also means that I'll be doing almost all of my marathon training in Stockholm, and with an expected weekly mileage of around 45-60 miles there's no doubt that I'll get to know the city very well over the course of the month!

I'm looking forward most of all to being removed completely from any routine, and being able to temporarily construct a life that doesn't need to pay any attention to how I do things here and now. Outside the time I spend working on my experiment I plan to explore the city in my running shoes, catch up on years of lost sleep, and get the writing done that I never seem to have time for in my current existence. For one month only I get to be completely solitary, and the suppressed loner within is dancing with joy. Some things work better when you're anonymous in a big city: Joni Mitchell was a free man in Paris, after all, and as a free man in Stockholm I hope to catch up with myself ready for all the amazing things that await me when I return to York.

1 comment:

  1. An amazing opportunity! I am very excited on your behalf!
    Lisa x