I was thinking about the environment yesterday. Today I was thinking about money so for now I will just write about the environment in some bullet points:

  • I flew over Brazil when I went from Sao Paolo to Mendoza. I saw forest fire all over the place. Little smoke spots kept popping in the view too frequently. No, this was not the Amazon forest, but it shows the situation in Brazil about fires. It seems people are used to having them around. Deforestation is a long standing problem in Brazil.
  • I have been thinking seriously about climate change over the last few months. I was surprised to find out that most of the greenhouse gas emission happens due to livestock production. I have been thinking about sustainability in this sense – not just food, sustainable life in general.
  • Due to these ongoing thoughts, I watched two documentaries yesterday – one about electronic waste and another about the impact of meat industry on our environment.
  • I am not acting responsibly yet, but I am conscious about my actions. I am learning. I will make changes to my life very soon.

Thinking about life:

I have to move out of my current apartment because the home owners are selling the house. Actually, it’s good that this is happening. I wanted to change my apartment because it is a little too expensive, but I wouldn’t have done it myself so quickly if I had the freedom to stay. But soon after I told them that I can move, I realised that the Dutch housing market has gone crazy since the last year when I got this apartment. The rent for similar apartments have gone up by almost 200 euros per month, sometimes without including the utility expenses. And I thought I was paying too much right now. No… This is too much. Paying 1000 or 1100 euros per month for a tiny apartment is clearly too much. I have a feeling that the Dutch housing market is exploiting people who need to rent. It’s natural, in a way, because there’s a housing shortage in the whole country, but now the water is starting to get over the head.

I have been living in this country for two years. Ever since I arrived, I have been thinking about what to do after my PhD. I travelled to other countries to see what life is like there. I talked to my colleagues who are from there. After all the talks, visits, and living here for two years I have started to be confident to say that I want to stay here. I definitely do not want to go back to India. The life there is just too bad. I prefer to have a rich life (not moneywise) than making work my life. I would say work is the most important reason I am thinking about staying here, and not about going to US, India, rest of Europe. Anyway, this clarity about staying here lead me to the thought of buying an apartment instead of renting. In principle I can do it. There are some conditions from the banks to give me a loan (as I read on the internet). I don’t meet some of them, but I need to have a proper consultation at the bank once they open again in January. But that’s pf course not all. I also need to talk to the housing agencies. In principle they should also be able to work with me. I saw many agencies that work with expats or academic staff. But let’s see if I have enough money, the loan, and a agency who wants to work with me. After all this, I have to see if there’s an apartment available that I can afford. Hmm… it’s quite a bit of work, but this is something I need for my private life. I don’t want to dump 1000+ euros every month for 3 years in this housing black hole.

I have also been thinking about work. Now that I have seen academic life in India and in Europe, do I see myself continuing in Academia after my PhD? I have been thinking about this as well ever since I started my PhD. I couldn’t say anything for a long time but for the most part I didn’t want to stay. Then almost 6 months ago I started to go in cycles – up and down. I enjoyed the flexible working hours. I enjoyed working with driven people. It was empowering. It was inspiring. But there are many other practical things that I want in my life, and academia is not going to give me all that. So I have more or less decided that I am not going to stay. I have been thinking about deciding for a long time but I got a push now due to my housing situation. Our needs are connected. Deciding on one thing helps us start the chain. In my case this chain starts with deciding to stay in or leave academia. If I leave academia, I can stay here for a long time, hence I can buy a house and make other life decisions accordingly. Let’s see how this goes. I haven’t discussed it with other people yet. As of now I am trying to make up my own mind about it. Before taking action I should talk to my contacts here who work in industry to see if I can count on finding a job here in this market after my PhD. I would also talk to my friends to just bounce these ideas off them to see if I am missing something. Of course, all this assuming that I have the money from my savings and the bank, housing agency, and an apartment. Hmm…

Life’s good! Ciao!