Of things that are up

Hey.

It’s been a while. A year, to be exact. Last thing on here is a recipe for pastel de nata. Funny enough, we only learned about the true knowledge for pasteis creation after that post.

So much has happened in between.

In a futile attempt to do the passed time justice, I’ll recap things here for both of my readers (hello!👋).

A year ago, I had transitioned into sci-comm as a professional in a small Potsdam based sci-comm office, conveniently attached to my former workplace during my PhD. I had my own little projects and some bigger things I was involved in, but it was all very tame and straightforward.

Oh, and also Doro was very very pregnant.

All of the last quarter of 2018, and the first of 2019, was a weird transition period. We still had time and sleep (Doro continuously less so) but also had to take things slower, attend doctor appointments and reduce the minimal amount of partying to almost zero.

To enjoy a last pre-birth travel and some sunlight, we went to Portugal and learned about the art of baking pasteis. I make pretty good pasteis now.

Then, we went to Leipzig and enjoyed the Chaos Communication Congress. Doro had to go easy on the mate and we had a good time. Here is a photo. It’s not a good photo. It just shows how we have been at 35c3.

I’m using my photo roll as a reference for what happened when because, honestly, I don’t remember much. My memory has been wiped clean and I heavily rely on technology to fill in the many gaps. If someone would be to hack my photoroll and replace it with one of a complete stranger, chances are I wouldn’t notice.

2019 began like many other years with January first. On one of the many following days, Tegan and I launched something that grew to be something I’m really proud of: Plants and Pipettes. In a blog and podcast we present, discuss and have fun with molecular plant science. I’m quite in love with the stuff we created and still create. We are so free and independent in our work that it is a pleasure to try out things, do everything the way we like and just have a good time.

Plants and Pipettes is also a way for me to play around with illustration as I draw pretty much every figure we publish. I always wanted to learn more about drawing and now I can say that I did. Here is a drawing of a confused mouse and an Arabidopsis plant.Funnily enough, we were not the only ones growing new humans. A good friend shared pretty much the same due date with us, and others followed in the weeks after. Suddenly, a pretty baby-less world was all about babies and only babies. Weird what an age group can do for you. 

Looking back at the months leading up to birth day, my photo stream doesn’t tell too many exciting stories. I ate a lot of Japanese food with friends, cooked a lot of karaage chicken and traveled for work to Münster. Basic stuff. 

One of the last things we did before the day was to enjoy cherry blossom in Berlin. 


And then, it happened. On April 6th we began a new part of our lives. What followed were the hardest 8 weeks we ever experienced. The joy about having a healthy boy lasted only briefly before we were crushed by exhaustion, desperation and pain.

I don’t really want to lay out all the details here. Instead, I’ll summarise it like this: Sometimes you’re lucky with childbirth. More often, you’re not. Downstream of a bad start is a worse first period where healing overlays with figuring things out and where a newborn struggles with basics and the parents struggle with everything.

It’s weird. I know that the first 8 weeks were the absolute worst. I had never felt worse in my life. Thanks to hormones, time and sleep deprivation however, this period feels harmless and tame. Only when looking back at some photos I remember how bad it was.

Here is me at 2 am with a screaming baby in a carrier.

All bad things come to an end. Almost to the day, after 8 weeks everything changed for the better. The boy learned to drink, we healed enough to begin to share some work and all of a sudden we could begin being a family.

I hope I never experience anything like these first weeks ever again. I know that I’m incredibly privileged to have only suffered once, briefly and just by caring for a newborn and not by being subjected to violence or terror. Still, this very first time was no time of joy.

Today, however, stands in stark contrast to the first 8 weeks. We are a happy family, I am enjoying my parental leave after my contract at the sci-comm office ran out and the boy is developing beautifully. He is far from being an easy child but he is a happy and bright one.

Here is me, begin a cool dad in the subway.

I still sometimes wonder whether this is real. Us, being parents, him, being here for pretty much ever (if all goes well), and the focus being on just that: raising a child.

So, that’s what I have been up to. Small stuff. Big stuff. Busy stuff.

I don’t know what will happen with this blog. Yearly updates? Turning this whole thing static? Shifting focus and becoming a daddy blogger? I don’t know. I guess both of you have to just roll with the punches.

If you care for more updates, check my instagram and consider following plantsandpipettes.com. I think it’s really cool.

This Post is Gulasch

What do you do when you have a ton of ingredients and no the energy to create a dozen different dishes? Gulasch. Everything in one pot, cooked slowly, yum! This is what this post is. 

Madeira

When friends invite you to their wedding party, you don’t say no. Especially not when it is on Madeira. What better reason is there to go than to finish a week of holidays with a splendid festival of two of your friends’ love. And it gets even better if you don’t go alone but bring 10 friends and live together in one house.

I have been in Japan

Last year was a good year when it comes to travelling. Not only was I so lucky to see the amazing Iceland with Doro, thanks to her identity as an international woman of mystery she could bring me along to Japan as well.

And so I left Europe for the first time ever on an international flight to Tokyo.

Doram on Ice

Whoa it has been a long time.

Welcome back, me.

I brought something special to make up for the long silence. Photos from the most beautiful place I ever visited. Iceland.

And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon tree

Germany is cold. That is why Germans have a lot of outdoor jackets even though we just go from our heated and insulated homes to our heated and insulated work places in heated trains. Well, only heated when the heating is not needed.

This year, we did not embrace the coldness and escaped to Italy for a weekend. 

Sur la planche

Days are getting shorter, darker, colder – a perfect opportunity to revisit my summer holiday this year.

Today, ten years ago

In about a week’s time I’ll be hopefully on the shore of the French atlantic coast in Brittany.

Ten years ago I’ve been already there. We were a group of friends, Henny, Yann, Giannina, Julia, Yannick and me, and just a year short of graduating high school. In August we decided to head out to France, in an adventurous journey of overnight bus and train, to spend a week or so in Yann’s family’s little cottage near the coast. In Erquy we promised to dig out the garden in exchange for room and board. Well, we provided for ourselves, but we were really happy about the house.

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Being just around 18, none of us could drive anything but a bike, and so we hiked and biked around the area. We were enough to split up on days, so some of us explored the coast on foot while others just enjoyed the sun on the beach, playing volleyball or go for a swim.

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Last week ten years ago it was Yannicks birthday. We celebrated with Haribo and beer and even his parents stopped by for a bit. I don’t recall exactly why they were in the area, but they were very welcome.

I was on antibiotics due to a tick’s bite some days before the holiday. I was extremely light sensitive and alcohol affected me way more than I expected. One night I tried to climb out a window because I didn’t want to stay behind while the others went to the beach. I was way too drunk. Yann and Yannick used their towels to shush me back inside. I fell into bed and slept.

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To this day I remember that summer. It was my first time on an adult-free holiday, far away from home, surrounded by friends. I just bought my first DSLR, a Canon EOS 350D, and played so much with it. I grew closer with Giannina, with whom I only had few interactions before. And I had so much fun with all of them.

When it came to fulfil our debt to Yann’s parents, the digging in the garden, Yann, Yannick and I went topless and just by sheer muscle power moved around 2 cubic meters of dirt. We then first posed for some photos and then proceeded to drink and dance to music in the streets. It was glorious.

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As with any good time, also this one went past way too fast. And with any good time, this one created plenty of long-lasting memories. The meals we prepared together, the evenings at the beach, the long hikes on the mountainous shores of Brittany, the jokes and the discussions. I miss the days we had.

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Today, six years ago, a drunk driver ran his car over Yannick, who was biking down a street in San Francisco. The driver checked what had happened, got back into his car and drove away. Yannick died.

I miss Yannick.

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Veni, Vidi, Venice

Every good American knows that Europe has three Cities: London, Paris and Venice. It is of utmost importance to visit every single one of them and only them. This is to be educated about the old world and to tell the family back home, how much culture there is.

Doramparty

On this year’s longest day we made the next step into adulting: putting rings on each other, signing papers, saying the big “yes”.