On a sunny Monday afternoon our plane landed at Denver airport. It was like coming home after a long vacation. Half a year to be exact. In front of us was boundless grass land and the knowing that somewhere out west the mountains would greed us. The funny thing about Colorado is that down below the landscape looks exactly the same no matter if its winter or summer. Sitting in the car and driving to Boulder it felt like one of those summer days back in last year. Nothing had changed.
The perk of my job as a scientist is that you get to have a special relation ship to many places on this planet. I often visit several cities more than just once or twice when doing a measurement campaign or participating to a conference. These are my other homes, where I always feel welcome. My first-second home was the forestry field station in Hyytiälä, Finland. I acted as it was always a drag to go there but actually it was a lot of fun, especially when I was there basically alone to take care of the instrument during measurement campaigns. It was still those yearly years as a scientist when you weren't stressed over the results and had less responsibility as a student.
My second-second home was the dorms in CERN. During several month long campaigns I got to know the place pretty well (above and under...). I shared my faith with like-minded students and we had our own rituals to feel at home. At the same time I was introduced to the world of airborne measurements (where I'm still happily at). I was participating to campaigns with the German HALO aircraft and was spending more and more time in Oberpfaffenhofen - a small town near Munich. That became my third-second home.
It was the proximity of the mountains that always fascinated me - the girl from Finland with only wide forests and seas. I used to jog in CERN and try to catch the Mount Blanc and did trips to the German Alps from Oberpfaffenhofen. So no wonder that I immediately felt at home in Boulder the first time I visited it. This time is my third and I'm always so excited to come back here.