After spending 2.5 years as an operator at LIGO Hanford I thought it was about time to move on. Well, my visa extension was expiring but that wasn’t a surprise. I planned for grad school from the very beginning (and I couldn’t be more thankful to the higher-ups at the site who hired me knowing that I’d be gone in a couple years). I never planned to move to Australia though. I had to drop off my two cats halfway in Bangkok with my parents before I continued my trip to Canberra. I was playing it by ear. This was June 2017.
After having spent less than half a year at ANU I heard of the LIGO commissioning break and saw the opportunity to be involved in something fun. I asked (almost begged) my advisor David McClelland to send me back. He kindly did, a couple of times, to install and commission the ANU designed squeezer (as David would emphasis, it’s true though). The very first time I was sent back I barely knew what squeezing was. I spent about a month reviving the 2um squeezing experiment to its old glorious self and then I was off to Hanford alongside with a postdoc Terry McRae.
After having to follow someone else’s schedule for most of my PhD I thought I couldn’t be happier to be back at ANU lab where I have control over my own. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 lockdown and now after-hour lab access restriction means I couldn’t get things done whenever I want (I’m naturally a night owl). But looking on the bright side it is easier to set aside time to enjoy my hobbies such as drawing comics, taking photos, and making videos (which I haven’t done recently). I take commissions and participate in small contests for small coffee money when I can!