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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Perspective

As I alluded to in my previous post, visiting my MSc university made me remember what I missed about my life there, what I didn't, and why I decided to leave both the city and research area.

There are a lot of great things about Winnipeg: the people, of course! There is an amazing sense of indie-culture there...movies, music, art, even food. There are so many choices that it's almost overwhelming. I greatly miss Movie Village (a movie rental place with an unimaginable selection) and Baked Expectations (the best dessert place ever). I also miss the festivals in the summer, and the dance studio where I first learned ballroom dancing.

There are, however, numerous things that I don't miss: the winters top the list (it still makes me cold just thinking about it), how run-down some areas are, the crime rate (my car was broken into three times, I had my side mirror smashed, my window smashed, and my tire slashed, and my apartment broken into - all in 2.5 years), and how graduate students are treated at the university (and a lack of money/funding).

As for the research, I studied an X-ray binary system, SS 433. It was very interesting, but I found it to be a) too high-level physics (quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, magnetohydrodynamics, all wrapped into one object), and b) completely inaccessible to the public. No one knew what I was talking about when I would explain what I was working on. For my PhD, I really wanted to do something that was closer to home that people could identify with.

You could say this trip really put things into perspective for me. I now remember why I left, why I changed research areas, and how things aren't as bad here as they could be. I really do love studying stuff in our solar system (maybe not at the hard-core research level, but still). It also makes me appreciate this city - even though it's not perfect, no city will ever be, so maybe if we put in the effort to enjoy our time here it wouldn't be so bad (especially if we end up staying here, which is becoming a good possibility).

So, the plan is to (try) stop complaining about things here, and start enjoying life. Afterall, if we're always living for the future, it's not really living, is it?