Finally I have gotten around to writing a blog. Everyone has been working 100% of the time. That might be an exaggeration but actually it’s not. So anyway enjoy this rare blog about the station we are living at!
The first few days were a hazy blur as everyone acclimated to the jet lag, cooler temperatures, and settled into their work. We were given a tour of the station which is rather expansive, or at least in my mind it exceeded the size I had in mind.
All four of the girls are rooming together and the three guys + another student doing research here are rooming together. The building we live in is called Carex and has the very Swedish characteristic red building black roof. The rooms are rather cozy with a bunk beds on each side and a closet on each wall.
Across from the sleeping rooms (because really that is all we do in them) is the kitchen and hang out space. The building is called Troll House. The name is not representative of the place, but rather a reference to Nordic folklore that is dominated by trolls. The kitchen houses all 7 of us plus 3 students from last year’s program and 1 other. The kitchen is pretty small….
But there is luckily plenty of us who have been cooking together some delicious meals (see soon to come food blog!) which makes it much easier!
Our lab is called Salix (I hope I spelled that right) and is not connected to the main lab building. It is quite spacious and has windows on all sides meaning 24-7 natural light for even those late night test runs.
The lab has lots of room, but many of the machines are in the main building which is like a catacomb. The number of stairs and rooms and levels is still unknown to me. It took me at least 3 days to figure out how to get to the balance room! There is also a lecture hall and another building with classroom space.
A short walk down a graveled path leads to the dock. The lake it just absolutely beautiful especially after 10pm when the sun is just below the mountains.
Right next to the lake is the sauna!! The sauna is a huge Swedish custom, so much so that most families have a sauna. The sauna is a small building with a wood burning stove that you put logs in and heat up while throwing water onto the stove to create steam. The typical use of the sauna at the station includes staying int the sauna until you get really hot and then run and jump in the freezing lake. It sounds crazy but feels wonderful.
The inside of the sauna is made of wood and can get up to 80-100˚C. The custom is to go naked in the sauna but many outsiders (like ourselves) tend to wear bathing suits/towels. Here is a picture I snuck of the sauna while it was in use:
The main building also has an indoor sauna and a personal sauna which is incredibly relaxing. I prefer the outdoor sauna though because usually it is a social event where you get to meet people from everywhere!
And that brings me to a key point about the station. There are many people from everywhere staying at the station doing research. One of the first questions you ask someone is where are you from? To this question I have received many answers, anywhere from Sweden to China. There are also people from all levels of scientific research: Grad Students, Post-Docs, Undergrads, Principle Investigators, Lab Techs, and aspiring high school students.
So far the experience here has been great and many more blogs are too come (soon hopefully!)