Coming back to life… and on starting a sabbatical year dedicated to scientific research
Well, it has been a long pause but blog posts should be coming at a more regular pace from now on.
For those who might wonder, in between summer vacation and preparing myself, my research group and my family for a sabbatical year in California, I simply did not had the time to update this blog in August and September.
This is my first ever sabbatical (allowed once every 7 years at my university) and since taking my position in 2000 is has been the longest stretch I have ever been at one place. So all in all, this change of environment will, I expect, be energizing!
So I started this coming year with a full list of things to tackle. Or rather two lists: a professional one and a personal/family one!
On the professional side:
- Start new projects
- Establish new, and I hope, long lasting collaborations
- Take the time to know better peoples that I have already collaborated with in the last few years
- Get a chance to work again with my thesis co-supervisor (now in California)
- Learn Python (I found this great online book: Learn Python The Hard Way, 3rd Edition. There is a free online edition too at this link )
On the personal/family side:
- Drive across Canada from Quebec City to Vancouver (Done!). Man I can tell you this is a long drive and I never realized has long it takes to drive from Ottawa to Thunder Bay going through Sault Ste-Marie.
- Complete our West Coast drive started in 2009 when we drove from San Diego to San Francisco. This time Vancouver to San Francisco (Again done – by the way we drove a total of about 6400 km in 9 days, crossing 6 Canadian provinces and 3 US states).
- Do part of route 66.
- Go to Yosemite.
- Enjoy the Californian beaches (already started 😉 )
- Enjoy the Californian wines, Sonoma, Napa Valley, …
- Planning for a few more things, like a Family trip to Hawaii if we can make it ($ wise).
Now let me be clear, I never intended to make lists just for “checking” purposes but rather as a guide which I expect will evolve as time goes by. Still, many items are general enough to stick for the full run.
I have to say that with a month in, I have never been in the lab so much in recent years. Teaching and related activities, easily takes 40% of my times during fall and winter semester. Not teaching, and a reduced load of meetings(!), clearly shows on my daily schedule.
This year, I will also test by trials what I call Student Supervision 2.0: Using Google Drive, Skype, Facetime and others to keep in touch with the graduate students that I supervise at my home university. Will see how that goes. Hopefully, I will be able to host some of them for a few days/weeks at the time during the year. I should hopefully learn a thing or two about long distance supervision…