Keeping regular contact when travelling around for work brings its own challenges to distant parenting. This week I travelled to Finland for a seminar organised annually by the Archaeological Society of Finland. I had two extra reasons for travelling; firstly, to promote the Monographs of the Society (MASF) for which I am the Editor-in-Chief, and secondly, to promote the Nordic Archaeological Theoretical Group Conference at Stockholm, organised by my employing institution. Naturally, I have our session to flock, but to inform my colleagues about the relatively early deadlines for papers and registration (the cheaper registration fee will disappear already on January 11).
I was unsure where I will have an opportunity to skype and I was worried about this, considering how regular our routine had become. I heard that we were to have a wifi connection on the Finland ferry to Turku, so I headed to the direction of the bars and cafeteria that were flagged out for laptop connection. A friendly bartender explained how the connection is normally the best at the certain end of Whiskey Bar, so I ordered a pint and placed my laptop onto one of the bar tables. Getting the connection was easy and I could check the Guardian before logging in to Skype.
So good so far, but I should have known that it cannot be this perfect. I was on a moving boat after all and the picture quality was poor and pixellated and it froze at random intervals. Number One Son was initially happy to see Mummy, but his interest vanished, when Mummy did not move and the sound quality was poor. He disappeared into his room without coming back. Archaeologist Husband informed me that the sound was cutting randomly and he had great difficulties of making any sense of what I was saying. Thus, the skyping session was short and I could head to have my dinner before a comfortable session in my cabin with Miss Marple and salty liquorice.
The following evening I was unable to skype, since I had taken the Christmas presents instead of a laptop to my brothers. They did have a wifi network, but now Skype on their computers, so I ended up upsetting Number One Son who did want to see his Mummy. Luckily, the biological research centre of the University of Jyväskylä did have a well-functioning wifi system, so the peace was restored on the home front after Mummy could fulfil her parental duties. The same was true with my friend’s house, although I managed to lose the image with Skype after mistyping the password. But he could fall asleep to the sound of me reading his bedtime story. Tonight I am waiting to hear, if my return ferry has a wifi service and if I end up skyping in the pub or cafeteria.
The evening ended with a fail, when my laptop decided that a half of the battery life meant that it was totally flat. It shut itself automatically down and I had to text Archaeologist Husband that I had failed.