Best moments of 2016

Gledelig jul and Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has had a peaceful Christmas, and stuffed their faces with all the good food and candy that belongs in this holiday. My Christmas was spent in Oslo (my home town) with my family; my mother, sister, her girlfriend and their dogs. Even though there was no white Cristmas this year, at least we had sun!

Some of you have messaged me and asked if I have quit blogging, since there has not been much activity recently. The answer is definitely no! I enjoy writing, and I get to do so many awesome things during this PhD journey that I love to share with you. In 2017, one of my new year’s resolutions will be to blog more frequently!

2016 has been a great year for me. During this first year of my PhD, I have learned and experienced so much. I wanted to do a recap post of all these moments, but I may do separate posts on some of the highlights later. Some of them definitely deserve that!

The moments and experiences are impossible to rate, so I will just list them in chronological order:

Arctic safety course in Svalbard

In January I got my first meeting with Svalbard. Still relatively fresh in my PhD, I was sent to Svalbard for a week to learn how to survive and work in the Arctic. I was in good company, I got to go with two of my colleagues and friends; Martina and Andrei.

The course was AS-101 Arctic Survival and Safety, taught at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). We covered a large range of topics such as use of rifles and pyrotechnics, polar bear protection and precautions, first aid, emergency camps, navigation, use of communications systems, behaviour of sea ice, glaciers and avalanches and rescue scenarios from all of these.

The week was filled with both theory and practice, and we got to do some amazing things. I had never shot a rifle or swam in an icy lake before, and got to test my limits!

Field work on the ice in Svea

In March, the week before Easter, I got to utilize the safety training from January. I got to accompany my supervisor and his students in the course AT-307F for field work on the ice in Svalbard.

The field work took place on the Van Mijen fjord, outside Svea. From Longyearbyen, it is about a two-hour drive with snowmobile.

The students performed field work, testing physical and mechanical properties of the ice. Also, we helped my collegue Wenjun in performing large-scale fracture experiments on sea ice floes.

Presenting at the SAMCoT scientific workshop

Every year, the SAMCoT project I am a part of holds a scientific workshop for the scientists to present their work to our industry partners. This was my first time during my PhD to actually present my work to a large audience.

As a six-months-in PhD, I still felt insecure about my topic and what I was going to do. A lot of my collegues were presenting results, and I felt stupid for not having any results to present yet.

Nevertheless, I presented on the background for my work, why what I am going to do is important, and what I am going to do in my PhD. I was super nervous, but got a lot of positive feedback and creds for my presentation. It went well, and felt great!


Me presenting at the SAMCoT scientific workshop 2016. I need to work on my presentation face; smile, babe!

Anna and Jostein’s wedding

Two of my good friends got married in May, and I was so lucky to be maid of honor for the bride, Anna! Watching someone get married and promising each other their lives is always beautiful and special. However, being up there on the alter and watching her come down the isle with her father was one of the most touching and memorable moments of my life. Considering how nervous I was that everything was going to go well, you’d think it was me getting married! Fortunately, everything went smoothly, and they had a beautiful wedding.

IAHR conference in Michigan

Just a couple of days after Anna and Jostein’s wedding, I headed to the US and Ann Arbor, Michigan for the 23rd IAHR International Symposium on Ice. This was my second conference, as I was fortunate enough to write and present a conference paper on my master’s thesis work at OMAE in St. John’s, Canada in 2015.

My paper was a cooperation with colleague and then-UNIS PhD Renat Yulmetov on drift prediction modelling of icebergs in pack ice. Detecting and drift prediction of icebergs are important, as they pose a hazard to ships and offshore structures (remember Titanic, anyone?).

My presentation went smoothly, and I also attended a lot of other interesting presentations. Conferences are fun, also due to the social part. I went with a lot of my colleagues from NTNU, and there are usually social gatherings organized. We got to go on a  proper old-school riverboat on the Detroit River, separating the USA and Canada.

Summer holidays: Chicago, California, Trænafestivalen and Vinjerock

Immediately after the IAHR conference, I flew to Chicago to meet my Swedish friend Veronica. Usually she is working on her PhD in Berkeley, but we met up over the weekend to explore Chicago. After the weekend, we flew together to San Francisco, and I stayed with Veronica for a week.

Back in Norway, it was time to enjoy some of the summer festivals occurring everywhere. As have been tradition the last years, the festivals I went to was Trænafestivalen, a small festival on the small island of Træna in Northern Norway, and Vinjerock, a small but immensely popular festival in the mountains of Jotunheimen. Friends, hiking gear, tent and long john’s all summer – what can be better?

Arctic Ocean 2016

After the holidays, it was time to prepare for more Arctic adventures. As many of you probably know, I spent six weeks on the icebreaker Oden in August and September, sailing around in the Arctic.

During these six weeks I met some amazing people and had amazing experiences. I cannot even begin to cover all the amazing things, but the one experience that stood out the most was probably visiting the actual North Pole!

See my posts from the journey to read more.

Hiking in Trollheimen

After returning from the Arctic, you’d think I’d had enough of long john’s and low temperatures for a while. But I love hiking, and so does my sister. We planned a weekend trip hiking in Trollheimen, a mountain area which name translates to “home of the trolls”. Despite some snow and not the best weather we had a great trip, and even met some new friends!

Holiday in the Caribbean

Me and my boyfriend Mads decided we needed some sun, and fortunately he had some miles to spare with KLM. We looked at the KLM flight map, and decided to go to St. Marteen/St. Martin. This small island is split in two countries; a former Dutch side, and a side that is still French. The island has a famous airport, which runway starts right at the beach. This means that approaching planes fly right over your head, before touching down. Scary and exciting!

The short and sweet holiday filled up our vitamin D levels. It was nice to finally get some sun and warm temperatures!

For all these moments, there are hundreds more, large and small, that didn’t make the list. Thanks to everyone who was part of making 2016 an awesome year!

One thought on “Best moments of 2016

  1. Great and interesting report! Thank you very much Runa, Hope 2017 will be same exciting! 🙂 Happy New year from Marten


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s