I’m sitting the in the lounge at Helsinki airport waiting for my flight to (finally) depart. Originally, in a fit of optimism (lack of realism?) I had booked my flights to Korea for Tuesday, that is three days ago. I had somehow thought that after a week of organizing the Sigcomm conference, I would be able to pack all my things and get everything else into shape in 2-3 days. Technically it would have been doable, except for the minor little fact that I slept most of the weekend after the conference, recovering from lack of sleep. First thing I did on Monday morning was to call our university travel agent and ask for my flights to be changed. Luckily they were of the changeable kind, so now, on Friday, 3 days after my supposed departure, I’m really, really sitting in the airport, waiting for boarding to start.
I got my visa also sort of just-in-time and picked it up on Monday morning as well. For some strange reason, it’s only for 5 months which won’t quite be enough for me, since I would need to stay in Korea at least until the end of January. Well, can’t be bothered to worry about that for now. There must be a way of extending it later on… (the optimist in me raising his head again 🙂 )
Housing is still an open question, but I’m pretty high on the waiting list for the university guest house and my contact in Korea was very optimistic about me getting the place. Do I sense a theme of optimism creeping up on all sides of this visit? Then again, a pessimist would have already given up and stayed at home, so I sort of fail to see why not being optimistic would be a good thing.
My Better Half and the Kids have enjoyed their stay with the grandparents and everyone is doing well. The last month at home by myself has been extremely boring, but I do have to admit that not having to worry about family was a great help before and during the Sigcomm conference, since I could work as late as was needed and focus on the conference fully.
That’s it for Finland then for about a year. I’m off to the usual Yekaterinburg – Omsk – Novosibirsk – Irkutsk – Ulan Bator – Beijing route, which by my recent count I’ve flown 41 times already. This is the 42nd time. Let’s see if there’s any magic in that number. 🙂 (For the nerdy: Yes, I know that flying from Helsinki to Korea doesn’t quite get you over Yekaterinburg and Omsk is a bit questionable as well, but earlier I used to fly to Korea from Germany and then you really do take that path and it’s been etched into my memory ever since; in particular the feeble attempts to sleep around Yekaterinburg and waking up over Novosibirsk with about 3-4 desperate hours to go…)