Another early morning. I woke up about 5am today, this jetlag is starting to get to me. I need to be able to have a little lie in another morning. Co I wonder into the kitchen, microwave a cup of coffee from the pot that I put on last night, and sit down to a bowl of Rice Chex. A shower later, and I’m off to meet Darkhan for the ride in.
On the way to work, we stop to pick up another visitor to LIGO (whos name eludes me) from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). We all get to work, and on goes the grind. For the morning, whilst I’m waiting for a chance to meet with and talk to Mike, I read more, and I work on some Matlab stuff that I’ve had hanging over. Throughout the day, I meet some other people, like Alisdair(sp?) (I think, not a good day for names), another Glasgow alumnus, but a veteran, not working at Caltecxh and touring briefly between LHO and then LLO, and like Ellie, who is working over here for the remainder of the month, finishing up some stuff relevant to her Ph.D back in Adelaide. She’d spent a year here previously.
At lunch, I call Joe. Let me talk to you about Joe. As I’m writing this, the day after it happened, Joe has consented to featuring more heavily, so here we go. Joe and I first met during my undergrad studies in Swansea (South Wales, if you don’t know). We’ve been together for what is fast approaching 4 years, and they’ve been great. We are very much in love. Joe is still studying at Swansea, so we’ve been doing this long distance for two years already, since I graduated. Moving over to America has been hard so far. The time zones make it difficult to talk, but we try to talk every day, but its usually over text. He’s in his final year at Swansea, after which we are going to move in together in Glasgow, and that thought makes me very happy indeed. So whilst my time here in Richland is going to be great, it is bittersweet. Whilst I’m settling, it still feels bitter, but I have to give it time. I just got off the phone to him now, actually. Here, its about 8pm on Saturday evening, February 6th. There, it’s 4am Sunday morning. He was drunk, and sweet. And very drunk.
After lunch, I run into Mike as he’s grabbing coffee. We agree to meet this afternoon, when he has a moment. \time passes, tick tock, and we meet. This is the first time that I’m speaking to Mike in a way that isn’t just in passing. It seems like everyone is vying for his time, so I try to make the most. In this meeting, we discuss my strengths. That is, what I’ve been working on with Graham (my Glasgow supervisor) for the continuous wave (CW) search effort, and what I would like to work on whilst I’m here. I mention that I’m not so good with my hands, and would like to stick to coding, if possible. It didn’t seem that that went over so well. Between Evan, who has an old CW hat, and Darkhan, who is working on calibration (I don’t know what Vinny does – we’ve barely exchanged more than a sentence), there aren’t many practical fellows. Anyway, we agree on something to get me started. It’s a little fetch-questy, but that’s ok. It gets me to know people, and get familiar with some of the basics of working with the detector. He gives me some names to follow up, some software to look at, and he’s going to dig out an old report, so that I have something to do going forward.
So I send out the emails, look for some software, and after that, go out and try to look at the machines in the control room. The control room is a room full of computers and giant srceens all on one wall which read the live status of the detector. I log in, try to get acquainted with some of the software, and with no real agenda, slink back to my desk shortly thereafter.
Tick Tock. Time passes, and its home time. Once again, the jetlag has shattered me, and all I wanna do is sleep. But I told Darkhan that I needed to go do groceries, and that’s right, I do. So we do. After dropping the other guy (seriously, names, am I right?) back to PNNL, we go to a Safeway supermarket. It’s a really nice shopping environment, and seems much cheaper than Albertson’s. I buy, like, everything. Freezer food, meats, veg, fruit, dried things, cleaning products. The kind of shop that would normally come to £60+. At the checkout, I get a savings card, which brings the total from about $100 to $75. At current exchange, that £50 or so. I like Safeway. Then, Darkhan goes to get his food for the evening at the BK drive-thru, and offers to take me to a place called Fred Meyer to pick up some Tupperware. The place was HUGE. We didn’t find what we were looking for, so we went home.
Back home, I microwaved the last of the bolognese, which was about all that I’d eaten since Wednesday. On Facebook, a friend asks me, regarding the expenditure at Glasgow airport “Doesn’t an F-1 visa have a grace period?” to which I respond “I don’t think so”, and then checking. It turns out that yes, it does. The end date of the visa corresponds to the end date of the program on which I am enrolled, and there are a few grace periods involved, but the information seems to be shaky, but it is certainly possible to extend a stay. Bugger.
And with that, I messaged Joe, who was then considering waking up, and went to bed. I was feeling particularly unsettled. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. I wasn’t yet in the swing of work. I wasn’t used to the time-zone, I hadn’t had much interpersonal contact outside of work. But I have a bank appointment, and numerous other things to do tomorrow. Better get some decent shut-eye.