This week was filled with running experiments—the actual reason that I am supposed to be here. Given that the whole process has moved pretty fast, I guess ten weeks is an OK amount of time from starting at zero to working with participants. Unfortunately, since the experiment is still underway, and anyone can read this, I can’t say too much about it. I can say that recruitment has been going surprisingly well. By the end of the week, nine people had run through the experiments. Given that I want at least 30 people, this is pretty good. I can only hope that this continues. I’m still a little behind in getting the data sorted into data I can analyze, but it is at least being stored safely.

Given that my activities this week were things I can’t talk about, let’s turn to something I can talk about. I did get to attend two Christmas parties. One was the Christmas Party for the Doctoral Students (happily, they don’t do any ID checking, so you can attend even if you aren’t a PhD student at the University of Hertfordshire). It was nice to talk with some other PhD students in the school. Plus the party had free beer, which is mostly unheard of in Scandinavia. Of course, the party only ran from 3:30 PM to 5 PM, so it had a built in limitation.

I also attended the large Christmas Party for the entire university. It was held on campus at the Student Forum, and it was a large affair as you had to get tickets up front as there were only so many positions available. The party had three different food stalls where you could get food, three chocolate fountains, and a bar that specialized in gin and craft beer. I would have taken pictures, but a large part of the time was spent in lines waiting to get food. Later in the evening, a bar opened in another level for dancing, but I had lost my party mood and opted to go home.

Both of the parties showed me that the Christmas Jumper is a big thing. I think this translates into American as “[Ugly] Christmas Sweater.” I’ve always thought this a joke people do at Christmas, but it seems to be a tradition that is kept alive here as people wear them proudly to Christmas parties, and they have contests for the best. While the sweaters won’t be the height of fashion, there is certainly a lot of effort put into them.