Well, let’s see… first there was the MSc dissertation and its numerous corrections & over-deadline edits (I don’t recommend that to anyone, by the way).
Oh, but wait, there’s more… before that, I had one very busy week mentoring high school students in a Robotics project integrated into the activities of the Physics Summer School for high school students (year 10 to 12…). It went OK (it is my third time coordinating the project), but it is *very* time-consuming and demanding (both physically and mentally).
Add to the mix some very regular marathon training (a friend of mine at my rowing club managed to convince me to sign up for the Oporto marathon, even though I still don’t know whether I’ll be in the country by then – more on that later), and you can imagine that with all of this (our trainings oscillate between 1h-1h30 run sessions and some weights) there isn’t that much time left.
But there is always time for a Douro river descent! (of course!) This year we started in Caldas de Aregos, a bit upstream from Carrapatelo dam (approx. 10 km), and in total we covered 66 km in two days, using our old, battered but always fit for the job 8-Yolle. Almost perfect weather (a bit on the hot side, but we rowed mostly in the mornings & evenings, and also a bit windy, but the Yolle can take it all with ease!), and everything went smoothly apart from the night camping at Melres – apparently all people with tuned cars and loud music within a 20 km radius seemed to have converged to that particular river beach that night, and it was long after 4 AM that they either fell asleep or drove somewhere else. And our senior coach had no problem in waking us up at 700 for us to move and get the boat ready! 🙂
Since I came back from England, I’ve been rowing a lot, spending some time with my friends and family, all things that I missed while being 2000 km away in that green corner of England. However, it seems that I will probably miss all those things again in the near future, because one of my PhD prospects (so far, the only one confirmed) involves a full 3-year stay at Kent. Honestly I am very inclined to take it, but it is very hard to leave Porto just 2 months after I got back home – my friends, my family, my beloved Douro river, the lovely climate all year round (even those chilly mornings in January have their charm!), all that weigh hard on the other side of the scale. But one must follow what is good for him, and it may not be the easy, comfy option (almost never is!).
So now I am facing a return to Kent in perhaps one month’s time. But first there are still some loose ends to tie, namely my Master’s degree – the dissertation was (finally!) submitted last Friday, but there is still a lot to be done.
Let us see what the future holds. Like we say in Portuguese, “vamos indo e vamos vendo“!…