Returning to the Notes After a Long Hiatus

HAPPY 2020!

Procrastination, Procrastination, that lethargy I wrote about a while ago caught up with me and I have not been able to write anything for my blog. It was not all lethargy though, I was quite busy with my students, both undergraduates, and postgraduates, committee memberships in several boards at my university.

So, I would like to tell you about a few positives and good news that happened at the tail end of the year 2019. I was confirmed as a full Professor of Physics by the council of my university on the 20th of December, 2019 and at the same time appointed as a Deputy Director of Partnerships in the Directorate of Research, Innovation and Partnerships of my university.

That set the pace for entry into the New Year with much better news. Firstly, I had the honor of being selected as a Visiting Fellow on a US exchange Scholar Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California. I am in Monterey already and will be here until May.

Secondly, I was invited as a Keynote Speaker at the International Youth Nuclear Congress in Sydney, Australia. The congress will take place from 8-13 March 2020.

I will be writing on my journey as I traveled to Monterey. I will also take you along on the courses and things I will be learning during my stay.

I would be glad for you to leave comments and suggestions, thank you.

I begin with my travel travails.

Ethiopian Airlines and Travel Woes

The Visiting Fellows spring program takes place from 7th February through to 15th May 2020 including travel days. I asked to be booked on the Ethiopian Airlines flight, which leaves from my town of Kano on the 6th of February. The flight time was 1.35 pm.

Waiting for the connecting flight at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa

My journey to Monterey on 6th February 2020 started on a note with a slight hitch. We left home later than we had planned. I had hoped to be at the airport at 11.30 am to catch the flight scheduled for 1.35 pm, however, due to some circumstances beyond my control, coupled with unexpected traffic, we arrived at the airport at 12.15 pm.

By the time I showed up at the counter, the counter had closed. I spoke to the manager, and he informed me that the only way he would allow me to board was with my carryon luggage only. My check-in luggage, which was my main luggage and contained all the essentials I will need in terms of clothes and accessories had to be returned home. I had to travel and be away for two months without my ‘atampa wrapper’. For anyone who knows a northern Nigerian Muslim lady and her attachment to ‘Zanin atampa’ (traditional Nigerian material tied as a wrap), you can imagine my anguish at not takin my luggage with me.

This had never happened to me before. I had been late to board a flight before but this is the first time I was not allowed to check in my luggage because the cargo hold has been closed even though I had more than an hour before the plane take-off.

Although I was unhappy about not bringing my luggage with me, it was mainly because it contained gift items I had bought for friends and acquaintances at the CNS in Monterey. I have, however, chucked all these down to another lesson learnt on how not to be late for a flight.

To make up for my disappointment with my luggage, I settled down to watch inflight movies. I watched the movie; Hidden Figures. I felt good and proud of those mighty girls who made it easy for someone like me; a black female African from Northern Nigeria, in particular, to be eligible to participate in the prestigious nonproliferation exchange scholar program as a Visiting Fellow to the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS at Monterey). Thank you, Professor Katherine Johnson, and the other great women who worked to ensure that the trajectories for those space missions were calculated correctly. Thank you for paving the way for us!

Long haul flight it was. Thank God I left on a Thursday, which allowed me time enough to get over the jetlag at the weekend before the first day of the program on Monday 10th February 2020. I flew from Kano to Addis Ababa, Addis Ababa, to Dublin, where we remained on board for one hour before take-off. So we flew again from Dublin to Washington DC. Due to different time zones, the journey even appeared longer. We had left Addis Ababa at 10.50 pm on the 6th f February, and we arrived in Dublin at 3.45 am on the 7th. This was, however, still 10.45 pm on the 6th in Washington DC. That meant that by the time we arrived in Washington on 7th, it was 8.15 am, so it appeared as if we had journeyed for about 10 hours when in fact, we had travelled for half the time.

I watched three more inflight movies: Angel has fallen, Ready or not (a crazy movie) and Crazy Rich Asians, which I enjoyed a lot. Time zone differences made this journey truly endless. We arrived in Washington Dulles at 8.15 am on 7th February 2020. The connecting flight to San Francisco was on time at 12.40 pm, which corresponded to 09.40 am in San Francisco. The flight arrived in San Francisco at 3.42 pm. Then the last leg of the journey was on the bus from the airport to Monterey was about two hours.

In summary, including transit times, the journey appears to have taken 32 hours, 45 minutes.

Carmel by the sea Monterey
At the Clint Eastwood Mission Ranch in Carmel-by-the-Sea

In the next post, I will tell you about my first day in Monterey and the sights and sounds of this beautiful town in the Bay Area.


17th February 2020


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