Midterm update

Hey, all, sorry for the long pause. It’s been a bit of a crazy semester, so this is just a quick update for those who are following less for good writing and more just to know what I’m up to. If you’re looking for an insightful or poetic story, just click away and wait for the next one.

Anyway, I’m just about drowning at this point. I’m not complaining. I love it. I’ve missed this feeling of being slightly overwhelmed but knowing that I’m learning and growing every day. Looking back at the past few months, I’m already astounded at the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained in such a short period of time. I’ve learned a boatload about what goes into planning and operating a wind park (though I have a great deal more to learn), I’ve gotten my written Swedish to the level that I can read real news articles with probably about 50-60%% comprehension (spoken is much further behind because I almost never use it; everyone here speaks great English). I’m continuing to practice every day. Maybe by the time I have to start looking for jobs, I’ll be moderately competent.

We finished up our first course a couple weeks ago (we only have one or two at a time, but it’s still several hours a week of lecture). Now we’ve gotten into our two most technical courses, Wind Turbine Technology and Wind Resource Assessment & Energy Estimation. The math and problem solving are pretty basic compared to what I had to do for my last degree (only half of our class has an engineering background, so they’re not throwing us in too deep), but I, of course, can never do things the easy way. Because I’ve resolved that I’m going to do my thesis on a topic that will require a solid basis in aerodynamics (which I will also have to rebuild over the next few months), I decided to do something completely different for a research paper in Wind Turbine Technology. I’ll be evaluating the development and the technology behind variable slip induction generators (when I first hear the term, it made about as much sense as this guy: https://youtu.be/aW2LvQUcwqc.

BUT now that I’m a few weeks deep into my attempt to teach myself the fundamentals of power generation, things are actually starting to make a lot of sense. I have just over two weeks to produce the first draft of the ~4,000-word report, but I’m definitely already feeling the pressure. We have a few other projects going on at the same time, next week will by a very busy lecture schedule, and I’ll be in Stockholm half of this week for the Wind 2016 conference. I’ll get to meet with leaders in the wind power industry (mainly from Sweden) and hear a bit about the state of the industry (while practicing my listening skills as the talks will be given in Swedish).

I’ll try to wrap this up because I’ve also been making time to stay active. I’m at the rock wall 3-4 times a week. There I’ve also experienced the wonderful feeling of a steep learning curve. I conquer new routes on the bouldering wall every other day, and it’s incredible to feel how the moves and holds that were impossible for me last week are now routine. I can’t remember the last time I got better at something this quickly. I know I will plateau pretty soon, but I’m enjoying this period while it lasts.

I’ve also started work on my own writing again. I’ve completely restarted the story of my adventure last winter. It’s slow work, but it will get there eventually. I’m taking inspiration through an audiobook of War and Peace, which is a fantastic read. Yeah, it’s extremely long and a bit dense, but it’s an incredible examination of history, society, and the human condition. And for busy people like me, audiobooks are amazing because can I do the mundane but compulsory tasks (like clean the kitchen) while getting lost in the terrors of Napoleon’s disastrous charge into Russia.

I think this will have to do it. I’m off to get changed and run down to the wall through the bitter cold. Yes, it’s getting really cold out here. and dark. Night fell in earnest before six today, and it gets earlier by a few minutes every day. But I learned a great new Swedish phrase today: Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder = There is no bad weather, only bad clothing!

Hope all is well on your end of the internet!

Hälsningar från Visby! Ha det bra!