Feliz año nuevo!

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”
— T.S. Eliot

And so, here we are – the first post of 2014. 2014!! Can you believe how quickly the past year went by? It honestly seems like every year goes faster and faster, and I’m already starting to feel ‘old’ thanks to horrible realisations hitting me when in conversation with other people such as:

  • The average age of the Liverpool FC squad for the year 2011-2012 was 25.42. I am already 2 years over the average.
  • The movie The Lion King came out in the cinema 20 years ago.
  • All of the ‘Millennium babies’ will start to work towards their GCSE exams next year.
  • The game Super Mario 64 is 17 years old.
  • This year’s University undergraduate intake (born in 1996, I might add) won’t have been alive when Take That were famous the first time.
Take What?

Take What?

Talking about this with Oscar, he came up with the theory (being a scientist and all) that time seems to go especially quick because we are always working towards some deadline. There’s always a paper that needs to be published ASAP,  a thesis that needs submitting (I feel sick), a talk to prepare for an upcoming conference, a shift at Paranal on the horizon… There’s always something that seems to make time disappear down the proverbial black hole.

I find it hardest to resolve the feeling of simultaneously wishing time would go both fast and slow. My time in the UK this July-October was a classic example, where I was wishing it would hurry up because I was missing Oscar but at the same time wanting my time there to last forever because I loved being back in my home town with my family and closest friends again. Right now, I am wishing the next three months away so that I can get this stupid PhD and viva out of my life and start my 6-month internship with the Education and Public Outreach Department (ePOD) here at ESO – something I am actually really looking forward to and can’t wait to begin. But that’s a whole three months of my life I am currently willing to gloss over! A lot can happen in three months, though, and I don’t want to miss out on it just because I am currently sick to death of research. For example, it’s only the 7th January at the time of writing and already I have spent New Year’s in Chillán with Oscar’s family, we have a new, furry addition to the González-Tyndall household (Frankie – the best compromise we could come up with to prevent Oscar from naming him Frankenstein, and subsequently embarrassing me on doorsteps for the rest of his little kitty life), and we’re hopefully going to start looking for a house to move into rather than our now-too-small apartment. Imagine what could happen in the following weeks!

As you can tell, little Frankie is having a hard time settling in...

As you can tell, little Frankie is having a hard time settling in…

After a spectacularly rough 2012 and 2013 not being without its own battles, the past couple of years have been nothing short of exhausting. Saying that, 2014 has got off to a pretty good start and 2013 still gave me plenty to be thankful for. I’m not really one for making new year resolutions, but my main theme is going to be this: this year is the time to stop forever looking forward to the future — or back to the past — and to take note of what is happening in this very moment. Else I might just miss out on the good stuff.

And so to finish, I would like to share with some examples of the aforementioned ‘good stuff’ that happened to me in 2013 (in chronological order):

— Oscar, obviously at the top of the list. He appeared full-force in my life exactly when I needed him and saved me from getting myself into sticker situations than I already was. My infinitely patient, selfless, generous, passionate, driven other-half is nothing short of a blessing in my eyes. \end{soppy_bit}

Lucky, lucky, lucky!

Lucky, lucky, lucky!

— Spending 5 days on Easter Island with Oscar and three great friends; Rebekka, Roger and Javier. Not one visit many people can claim to have done, and it was fantastically surreal. Riding on horseback on the island under a perfectly clear night sky showing the Milky Way in all its glory? Truly unforgettable.

Not to be mistaken for Mo'ai

Not to be mistaken for Mo’ai

— Going on a 4-day hike in the Cerro Castillo national reserve in northern Patagonia. Rivers, mountains, glaciers, jaw-dropping views… Absolutely dying for more scenery like that!

Now that's a view you don't see every day...

Now that’s a view you don’t see every day…

 — Going to my first Chilean football matches to see both a local team, Universidad de Chile (La U) play Newell’s Old Boys from Argentina (and subsequently vastly improving my knowledge of Chilean cursing and insults), and watching the Chilean national team play Uruguay as part of the World Cup qualifying matches (“Chi! Le! Chi-chi-ci! Le-le-le! Viva Chile!”)

Getting into the footy spirit

Getting into the footy spirit

— Tagging along with Oscar to a conference in Granada, Spain, followed by me bringing him home to Liverpool for the first time. Real ale in real pubs, taking a tour of Anfield, seeing the sights, drinking coffee in Central Perk… it was a great trip for both of us!

Practicing his interview technique

Practicing his interview technique

— My lovely friends at ESO throwing me a surprise leaving party just before I had to go back to the UK for three months. I’ll never forget this seemingly endless stream of people coming out from hostess Rebeca’s balcony singing “Happy farewell to you!”

And surprised I was!

And surprised I was!

— Spending three months back in Liverpool with my family (ignoring the thesis-writing part), a place that I will forever consider to be home no matter where I currently am. I got to watch Sigur Ros and the Hallé orchestra perform under the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory which were both mind-blowing performances. I went to an English winery with my Dad, had a visit from weeeeee Catherine, and got to spend time back in my church with some awesome people. Loved it.

The Lovell telescope, excellent screen for movies!

The Lovell telescope, excellent screen for movies!

— Going to my last conference on the beautiful island of Florianopolis, Brazil. Sun, sea, sand and plenty of caipirinhas.

Suppose it's alright...

Suppose it’s alright…

If this is what last year brought me, I am excited to see what else is waiting for me around the corner!

2014? Bring it on.

Hasta la proxima,


1 thought on “Feliz año nuevo!

  1. Happy New Year! Very glad to see you living life to the full. But oh, boy, the first part of your post – now I feel REALLY old and wrinkly. Try being two years over twice the average age of Liverpool FC’s squad! (Like I really care!) Shimmy on, 2104!

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