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September 2013  
 
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Far over the Misty Mountains cold....  
01:35am 03/04/2013
 
 
[Ranna Let The Yankees In The Chip Shop]
Back when I frequented LJ, my friends page slowly get emptier and emptier. Occasionally it would be dotted with someone apologising for having not updated in so long. I always wondered how it was possible to drift away. But now it's my turn. The odd thing is that I'm always around LJ. Usually I'm updating cakecrumbs or moderating bakebakebake. I guess by the time that's done, my motivation for here has gone and the journal I intended to write never happens.

So. What's up with me?

Most notable, I suppose, is that I gained my second degree. I finished my Master of Science (Zoology) with Distinction. How I finished so well after all the crap I went through I don't know, but I did. It was a wonderful experience, a still ongoing experience to a degree. My supervisor was always the type to make me do all the hard work from the ground up. Being my first research project I made a lot of mistakes. But I learned a lot of lessons. Many more than if I had of been given a research project on a plate the way many of my peers have.

One of the most important lessons was that of collaboration. The Zoology Department at Melbourne University was endlessly supportive, but no more did this shine through than during my seminar. Towards the end of the degree we all have to give a 20 minute presentation (including question time) on our research in front of the whole department. Like most people, public speaking fills me with fear, but speaking in front of senior researchers (many of whom are world leaders in their respective fields and some are called on by various governments for advice) felt like torture. Add to this that I had to go last due to my supervisor being in an ethics meeting (she's the head of the ethics committee) for most of the day and I could not have been more nervous.

I felt like a train wreck but it apparently went well. I was approached by so many members of the department afterwards congratulating me on my presentation and offering me advice and information. Even during question time I had more people offering information and further insight than asking questions - a far cry from the complete grilling some other students got. The Head of Zoology even came to find me after to say congratulations -- my supervisor was sitting in front of him during my presentation and she told me she heard him mutter, 'Wow, that was really good," after I finished. What had filled me with fear turned out to be a really positive, encouraging and motivating experience for me.

After the thesis madness was over (I ended my degree not sleeping for three days in a row to get my thesis done on time. That was not healthy) we only had a few days to get a PhD project lined up. So my supervisor and I decided it would be better to have a year off, work on getting my research published and getting my life in order before starting PhD, rather than rushing into a project for the sake of it.



In the interim, I went on my first real holiday with Cameron. We went to New Zealand and I had so many firsts it was like a cherry squishing festival.

I spent a lot of it getting my Tolkien geek on. I strolled through Hobbiton and drank ale at the Green Dragon. I carried the One Ring through the black gates of Mordor and all the way to Mt. Doom itself. I sped through the Ford of Bruinen at 80km/hr muttering, "Nîn o Chithaeglir lasto beth daer; Rimmo nîn Bruinen dan in Ulaer", before singing at the foot of the Misty Mountains. I woke to sunrise over the Misty Mountains, before travelling beyond them to search for gold. That said, our gold hoard at the end of it would have made Thorin embarrassed for us.

When I wasn't having a geekgasm no one else in my company related to, I spent time drinking in the scenery. Rotorua was magical, from its bubbling mudpools and geysers, to the traditional Maori welcoming, cultural celebration and hangi feast. I walked to the foot of Franz Joseph glacier, and flew to the head of it, the latter of which being one of the most incredible experiences in my life. I spent time with endangered critters, such as the yellow-eyed penguin and the adorable kiwi bird. I travelled the country from the tip of the north island to the base of the south, travelling by plane, coach, bus, helicopter, gondola, steamship, locomotive, ferry, jet boat and minibus -- half of which I'd never been on before. I walked along the stunning harbours of Auckland where I arrived, to the broken streets of Christchurch right before I left, where I was inspired by the ability of the residents to stand up and begin to rebuild despite the constant quakes that still plague the city even while we were there.

But the best moment was travelling out to sea on a small boat and stumbling upon a wildlife encounter so amazing it eclipsed anything I've experienced as a Zoologist. A large school of barracuda could be seen feeding on schools of smaller fish below the surface, who were attracted to the area by a school of krill. This in turn attracted the fur seals, who surfaced with their enormous catch to slam it on the surface of the water in an attempt to break it up into bite sized pieces. This attracted an enormous flock of hundreds (if not thousands) of birds, including the impressive and endangered Southern royal albatross as well as two other species of albatross, 4 species of cormorant, and a number of species of gulls, petrels and terns, all vying for the scraps being flung about by the seals. It felt like stepping into the middle of a wildlife documentary.

I was sad to leave such a beautiful country, but if the experience taught me anything, it is that I am incredibly lucky to live here in Australia. For New Zealand reminded me so much of home, a home I have only seen a tiny fraction of and is every bit as beautiful. My only hope is for a long life spent exploring as much of these two countries as is possible, and working to conserve it all.


All the rest can wait for another time.
location: Home
mood: hyperhyper
music: Misty Mountains :: The Hobbit Soundtrack
 
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(no subject)
 onlylisa
 
07:42pm 02/04/2013 (UTC)
 
 
Lisa
I'm glad you updated. It's hard to know what someone is up to from Facebook.
Are you finished with Spotlight?
 
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(no subject)
 rhiannon_666
 
02:41am 03/04/2013 (UTC)
 
 
[Ranna Let The Yankees In The Chip Shop]
If I had a blog post for every time I intended to update you'd be sick of hearing from me by now haha. I'm going to try making more of an effort cause my absence from LJ means it's the first time in my life I'm not keeping up a diary or journal of my life.

I am indeed finished with Spotlight. I finished there in 2011. I moved from part time to casual and three weeks later the regional manager decided to get rid of all casuals cause the store was running at a loss. It made it easier cause my research was 7 days a week from morning to night (some days it was a 4am to 10pm thing) so I eventually didn't have time to work anyway. I spent Masters living off my scholarship instead.
 
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(no subject)
 onlylisa
 
12:26am 04/04/2013 (UTC)
 
 
Lisa
Spotlight - I don't know what it is about that place but it's depressing to go into.

Yes blog more, you'll regret not having it to look back on if you enjoy doing it.
 
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(no subject)
 rhiannon_666
 
02:03am 05/04/2013 (UTC)
 
 
[Ranna Let The Yankees In The Chip Shop]
I often say the same if Lincraft! Though a lot of customers at Spotlight would tell me how they hated the Brunswick store.
 
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(no subject)
 cdejonge
 
10:05pm 02/04/2013 (UTC)
 
 
cdejonge: SWN
It's weird how you hadn't blogged here for a while, even though I was so used to it in the past. Like you said, the increase of blogging in cakecrumbs and bakebakebake has sort of made that change seem less noticeable.

It's lovely to hear and remember the details of your Masters degree. And I'm glad you detailed the events towards the end, including the many compliments you received. I hope you never forget how much you achieved, and how great you did, even with the constant hurdles popping up along the way.

That was a nice little summary of our time in New Zealand. I was so glad every time a LOTR reference was mentioned, especially when it wasn't expected. It's such a beautiful, relaxed country and I'm looking forward to exploring more of it and our own country in the future. Eventually, I'll upload all my photos too. :P

All the best for you this year and the many years ahead. Looking forward to experiencing your many future achievements along the ride.
icon: SWN
 
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(no subject)
 rhiannon_666
 
02:42am 03/04/2013 (UTC)
 
 
[Ranna Let The Yankees In The Chip Shop]
I keep meaning to go through my photos and then it doesn't happen. Much like everything else. (I have to go make the poll for BBB and fi the slideshow and ugh. )
 
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(no subject)
 cdejonge
 
03:18am 03/04/2013 (UTC)
 
 
cdejonge: SWN
I'm in the same boat for the photos. As well as many other things I keep meaning to sort out, but never get around to. :P
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