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Breakfast with a view

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Breakfast with a view

The morning of Friday, 19th May 2023 was cloudy and chilly. Fishermen sailed into the La Serena bay, as the tide arrived, runners, walkers, dog owners crossed the beach from time to time. We sat at the lodgia to eat breakfast and I realized that this is the very first time in a decade I could really relax.

The day before we travelled from La Serena to Pichasca. My wife and our son stayed in the village whole day, while I went uphill with Franck to the observatory to do last fixes, cleanups and preparations for the upcoming POLSA inspection. We finished after the sunset, went down to the village and got a nice dinner at Pachamama. I was glad that, Solidad, a nice women running the Pachamama took care of my family, since seeing white, blonde kid with blue eyes was the hell of an event… The Chillean sky above us was partly cloudly, but stars were visible, and, while we couldn’t spent much time under it, in the drive back, we stopped for a moment, so that I could show my wife the Southern Cross, and the beautiful Scorpio constellation, guarding the Milky Way core, not clearly visible from Poland. We’d arrived in Chile just two days before, as a first step of the world-wide trip to finish the deployment of 3 new sites of the Polish Optical Network, the team at Sybilla had been working on for the past year.

Sitting at the 10th floor, in the apartment we rent, just beside the beach, I thought that this is the point I was working for many many years. The time before was stressful to the bones, full of work, after hours, weekends, fixing issues, code, algorithms, project and team management, customer relations. I was close to a break-up, thinking that I don’t know why I’m still here, what am I doing here, working in the domain, that I’m not improving my skills, not developing myself, stuck at a desk and doing basically nothing to become an astronaut. I’m aware that people are jealous that I did a business trip around the world – from Chile, through Australia, to Poland, but it came at a huge cost for me, loosing shape, health and motivation. Only almost a year after, writing these words I can say that all these issues, like stress, they obscure the whole picture, they stop you from taking a breath and look from a perspective: I set my foot in the places I couldn’t have imagine I would ever be able to, doing things close to astronomy and astronautics, following the dream… But it takes much time to recover from stress, to realize what I’ve achieved, and I’m not there yet.

The tide

It was really important to me to take for such a trip my family, to show them places which are otherwise not accessible, even for tourists. Our son stared at the places around each and every day, I don’t even know what could he thought that time, but I hope he’ll remember something, being a 1.5-year old toddler travelling around the world. Maybe he will remember something close to this shot of him looking at the ocean taken two days later, as it is a memory to me now. Or fishermen in the La Serena bay. Or maybe an albinos kangaroo met in the Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, or a family walk at Siding Spring Observatory a week after.