Thursday, June 30, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changic Arctic Field Notes: June 26th by Laura Schultz and Saloni Sheth

This article and the images originally appeared on KTH's Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic blog. 

There you can read about the Arctic course taking place in the summer of 2016! The participating students from KTH Royal Institute of Technology together with the students of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are writing about their experiences throughout the course.

June 26th by Laura Schultz and Saloni Sheth

Today, we struggled.

Saloni’s morning: The morning started off rough with over-packing issues, so I rushed through getting ready and headed to the bus stop to meet the rest of the group. Unfortunately I missed the bus—and my group—by three minutes and the next one wasn’t for another half hour. I resigned myself to getting to the train station by foot, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I accepted the fact that I looked like a mess in the rain, running with two suitcases, a hiking backpack ready to burst at the seams, a knapsack, a jacket, and furry hiking boots. Thankfully, I found the rest of our group waiting at the train station, and when they saw me arrive out of breath with my luggage they all applauded. I thought my morning journey would be the roughest part of my day—it couldn’t possibly get any worse, right?

Laura’s morning: I thought the day would be just fine when I woke up. I got out of bed, showered, and had breakfast all in good time. From there, I started to get delayed- I had to forgotten to take my trash out and my last minute packing of loose items took longer than anticipated. But the real problems began when I had to leave Lappis and carry all of my luggage… which included a suitcase, a duffel bag, my backpack, a boarding bag, and a tote bag. It was a combination of my own overpacking and my mother’s encouragement to bring more that led me to be this weighed down. Thankfully, after getting it all outside, I caught the bus to the subway and then the subway to KTH, a process that looking back was relatively pain-free. However, once we all stepped out of the subway station, the worst part of my day began.

The journey:

Walking to Dag’s office on the other side of campus was painful for all of us. And it certainly didn’t help that it was raining. Once we got there, we dropped off our extra luggage and thought the difficulties were over. That was when we got the news that our flight had been cancelled, and that the next flight Norwegian Airlines could get us on wasn’t for four days. After looking into alternate options, we found an overnight train that left that afternoon and would get us to Kiruna by morning. Excited to take the scenic route, we were content with this plan. Then we realized that nine minutes in between train transfers was too risky and could leave us stranded in the middle of the night in a random city. Now the best option was to book a different airline for the next morning. This would work out fine for ten out of the thirteen travelers in our group, but for the three of us that would be on standby (the two of us and Enrico) it was just one more struggle. But we have no other choice, so here we are, waiting at the airport and hoping three people just don’t show up for this flight. The positive highlight of yesterday is easy to pick out—when we were headed back to Lappis for the night and Enrico bounced off of the bus walls… Maybe it wouldn’t have been funny on any other day, but after a day like yesterday, any sort of comic relief was very welcome. :)

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