About 2020 …

… and why I consider the year a success despite all the things that happened.

You may be wondering now how I even dare to say that 2020 was a successful year, despite all the things that happened in the world.

2020 has certainly been an interesting, exhausting and difficult year. A global pandemic has kept us on our toes, forced us to rethink our lifestyles and given us a moment to step down a gear and appreciate what is happening around us.

COVID-19 has forced the world to shift down a gear. To take the wind out of its sails for a bit and concentrate on the important and essential aspects.

VAMP, Sonderausgabe ’20, page 36ff. (my possibly last VAMP article ever…)

But nevertheless, I think 2020 has been a successful year. Let me mention a few things that support this statement.

First of all, I got the offer for my PhD, which really changed my life. After studying at ETH Zurich for almost 5 years, it was time to discover what the world had to offer. Back in November and December 2019, I started sending applications to different universities and also had a few interviews before 2020 kicked off. On 4 January, while I was still in Gothenburg, Sweden (coincidence?), I received the offer for my PhD position at Lund Observatory. Back in Switzerland, I started preparing for this great adventure by starting to learn Swedish with Duolingo, reading Wallander books, listening to Swedish podcasts and music and reading up on the Swedish way of life. At one point I even watched the film ‘Midsommar’, which I was told did NOT reflect the Swedish Midsummer!

But before I moved to Sweden, I still had to do some work in Switzerland. I finished and handed in my Master’s thesis on 14 April, and a few weeks later, on 4 May, I presented it to my supervisor’s group. I was awarded the VMP Assistentenaward, a prize for excellent teaching given by the Student Association for Physics, Mathematics and Computational Science and Engineering at ETH. Sometime in June, I received my thesis grade and sent in my degree request on 23 June, together with my best friend!

I spent some wonderful holidays with my two best friends – see here – in Switzerland and explored my very own home country before leaving it for a longer period of time.

In the end of July, I was supposed to move to Sweden – see here – but Corona put a spoke in my wheel there. And then in August, I finally made it to Lund! I had successfully moved to Sweden – see here!

From the first moment I arrived here, I was excited to explore every possible corner of this beautiful little town in southern Sweden. Setting foot in a rehearsal of Lund’s best and oldest student orchestra – Bleckhornen – was the best decision of my life so far, even though I couldn’t really follow the discussions as they were held in Swedish – some would say the amount of champagne (‘bubbel’) played no unimportant role in this matter. 😁

I have met wonderful people, both through Bleckhornen, but also through work. All these wonderful other PhD students and PostDocs at Astro that I have had the pleasure to meet have become my family here and we will gather tonight to celebrate the New Year – in accordance with the 8-person limit for gatherings in Sweden, of course! How are you going to “slide” into the New Year?

I hope you can see how I dare to say that 2020 was a successful year. And even though it may not have been so pleasant for many people in this world, I am very grateful for 2020. I remember telling my mother that 2020 would be my year – I don’t remember exactly why, but I did. I have to admit that 2020 has been amazing in many ways, but it has also given me a lot of time to reflect and reinvent myself.

I joined a dance team for the orchestra – instead of a football team, as friends and family might have expected. I started wearing glasses (sometimes) – instead of just resorting to contact lenses because glasses are uncool? I started my PhD and am massively happy with it! 😊

2020 was difficult in many ways, and we hope for a better 2021. Remember that changing the year in which we write will not simply solve all our problems, but it will certainly give us renewed energy to get through this ongoing pandemic and make the best of it.

Having said this, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful last day of 2020 and a Happy New Year! ❤️
Thank you for putting up with me, for reading my blog posts, for being my support. I wish you all the best for 2021 and hope to see you. Keep your head up, keep smiling and enjoy the little things in life, like standing by a harbour in Löderup, enjoying the warmth of the Sun and the wind blowing through my hair. A Wallander story is in preparation for 2021 ☺️❤️

– Bibi

Löderup, Skåne, Sweden

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