The dark clouds of the reeling economy has reached the ivory towers of academia. Was looking forward to going home, and then informed that I would have to take unpaid leave if that was the case. Given the case that summer is when I get paid double, it's a multiplicative whammy- loss of my double income and an expensive air ticket home. Was agonising over the choice to be made, but mumsy put it in perspective- it boils down to one thing- which is more important to you- money or family? Well, I mean, can you seriously see me calling mum to tell her I'm not coming back this year even though I can afford the time because I might have a chance to earn more money? (She did email later on to say not to come because of the swine flu but that's another story.) So there I was, all self-pitying because I value family more than monetary gains. Turns out that the boss isn't getting paid in summer and all faculty are 'encouraged' to take 10 days unpaid leave too, plus a labmate has declined all summer pay so he has the freedom to attend medical treatment if needed. And after my extended conversation about the value of currency and the true value of things! Sometimes I worry I might turn into a self-absorbed, self-deserving person who believe all things are due to me because it is my fundamental right, but you guys will knock me on the head and keep me in check, won't you?