Last week I was asked by a friend if we are honeymooning.
See, there is this dreaded thing called field work. It’s the little child of Karsten’s PhD. And the reason why we haven’t had any summer vacations for the last years. To be honest, Karsten and I have only had one proper holiday during our whole relationship so far (if you don’t count christmas at our parents place) and that was in 2010 when we travelled around Tanzania. Apart from that, we had 5 days in Rome once, and a long weekend in Stralsund. Oh, and the days on Spiekeroog…which were supposed to be a whole week, but then Karsten had to leave earlier to attend a workshop. Like on our civil wedding when he had to leave right after the wedding dinner.
Instead of going on holiday, Karsten spends his summer days on his field. Two years ago, I joined him as an intern (maybe that almost counts as working holiday – it sure added a whole new dimension to our relationship. I mean, who can openly admit to regularly kiss one’s boss?). If you wonder how the field looks like: it’s huge. And by now full of plants. And all those plants have to be taken care of. They have to be planted, watered (if necessary), measured, re-planted, cut, you have to weed and to cut the grass and and and. And that’s just the outside-part.
Imagine the following summer day scenario: blue sky, the sun is burning, red kites are circling above you. You find the first blooming research plant in the first row of the first plot. Diligent as you are, you start counting the leafs. Counting the stems. measuring the circumference of the stem. Counting the flowers. measuring the height. Deciding on a habit between one to ten. After 10 minutes, you are done. A feeling of efficiency and satisfaction takes over. This is going well!
Until you look up. And you see that there are 9 more plants in the row. And 36 more rows, each with 10 plants. And your view rises and you look over the field and discover that there are 11 more plots. Each with 37 rows. Each row with 10 plants….Now do your maths, dear reader. How many plants have to be measured? The red kites suddenly resemble vultures. Your back starts hurting after the third row. You feel thirsty. And you remember that you forgot the sunscreen.
So, no, we are not honeymooning. But this is the last year with field season. Next year, Karsten has to write everything up. But he can do that everywhere as long as he has internet access. Maybe Sweden? Scotland? Tuscany? Or Canada? One day we’ll have a proper holiday!