The Joy of Coming Back

about-anna-parsec-wallis
by Anna Parsec
Updated: February 11, 2024
9 minute read
MSSL and the beautiful Surrey Hills

We are introducing a new series on our blog – our weekly memories. We have no idea what the purpose of this exercise is. However, we do enjoy looking through all of these posts with pictures and memories. It is like our photo album we sometimes pull out to smile about some adventures we’ve experienced. If you had some pleasure too, we are happy. We also decided to add a bit more practical details to our weekly report by providing our actual weekly living costs.

Monday 29 January 2024

Travelling home from Bangkok

Thinking back to the beginning of the week, it is pretty unbelievable that only on Monday morning we woke up in Bangkok – day 137 of our travel. On that day, we travelled for 4 hours to Shanghai, spent 6 hours at the airport with non-existent Wifi, which is pretty shocking, and then flew over Russia (and somewhere over Saint Petersburg) to London for 12 hours.

James and Anna waiting in Bangkok Airport
Tuesday 30 January 2024

Arriving to our old home in London and then to our temporary one in Surrey

Our first point in the UK was our old house in North-West London where we left our suitcase with Neda. On the way to the house, we met Manfredi who said, ‘Has it been 4 months already?’ We get that a lot. People cannot believe it’s been 4 months because they knew we would be back in that timeframe. Equally, the space lab staff says, “Is it now February?” remembering that my PhD was meant to start on 1st Feb 2024.
Under the clock at Waterloo train station
Wednesday 31 January 2024

Cycling from Guildford to Cranleigh

It’s hard to extract only one memory from that day because it felt like we haven’t lived such a full and adventurous life for months (even after 138 days of travel around 10 countries). Getting new bikes and cycling through the English countryside? Making our dinner with ingredients we craved for months? Simple pleasures we suddenly appreciate with an increased wave.
Anna cycling from Guildford to Cranleigh
Thursday 1 February 2024

Anna's 1st day at MSSL

It won’t be easy to forget the first day of my PhD at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. We cycled to the lab, which took an incredible amount of effort and 1 hour of time one way (James cycled 4 times that day: to the lab and back and then again to the lab and back, all to make sure that I am safe when I am cycling to the lab and back). What is happening at the lab and during my PhD is a big separate story, so bear with us.
First phd day at Mullard Space Science Laboratory for Anna

Friday 2 February 2024

Anna becoming a rocket scientist

Cycling got massively better after only one day, but it still was incredibly challenging and tested our stamina. We laughed that at the interview for an astronaut role, I will be asked about my physical preparation and I can say ‘PhD at Surrey Hills’. My space day was quite curious because my main achievements of the day were: to turn on the screen, log in, connect to WiFi, print. Rocket science!
New office view for Anna at MSSL in Surrey
Saturday 3 February 2024

Hunting for a place to live in Surrey

We are based in Cranleigh temporarily while hunting for a place to rent, a house to purchase, or a piece of land to build our banya (and the house). Hence, instead of resting on Saturday morning, we had to leave for the viewing in Horsham at 8am. It was annoyingly cancelled while we were on our way, so we just walked around Horsham to get to know the area. It was nice!
Shopping in Horsham Surrey
Sunday 4 February 2024

A lovely morning in an area of outstanding natural beauty

We had such a lovely and cosy morning that we hadn’t had for ages. Later we did consider going hiking, but when we realised that we needed to do some shopping, we didn’t hesitate long. As you may know, food shopping is one of our favourite activities somehow. We didn’t get much, but the key reason to go was to get ingredients to make scones. I’ve made them a dozen times so far, and these were my best! James confirmed.
James eating scones made by Anna
If you are curious, here are our living costs for this week.
Cost
Note
£1,568
Housing
£325
Airbnb with a monthly discount of 30%
Transport
£955
Flights back to UK and travel costs around Surrey & London, including our new bicycles to get to MSSL
Food
£161
Shopping which included quite a few long lasting items
Other
£128
Everything else including Amazon purchases
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First published on: February 4, 2024

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