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.
As it so happens another year passed in the blink of an eye. I moved places, made a house worth living in and got married. And last weekend it was already time for the Science Hack Day Berlin again, which attended last year with great success.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
insert something about time has passed yadda yadda
I am doing so many things at the moment but still I feel like I don’t have anything to tell on this blog. Yes, the house is coming along fine, yes, at work I do work that sometimes works, yes, I eat all of the things.
In the last post I counted the weeks between that post on the previous one. Well, I’m not gonna do that now.
We moved. January was hyper-busy, due to a shit landlord of the old flat who overthrew all our plans for a smooth and easy transition. Instead of handing all our unwanted stuff over to the new tenant for a decent compensation, the landlord declared a rent-stop for the flat and we were left with a metric shitload of things to get rid off. We struggled but managed in the end.
The moving day itself went super-well, thanks to the many helpers without whom this achievement would not have been possible. It payed off to have helped all the other moving parties in the past. We hurled tons of boxes and furniture down 4 flights of stairs and up another two. We filled the basement of our new place to the brim and stacked the boxes neatly in the living room. Finally we were done and we finally moved completely into our new home.
Obviously the work wasn’t over then. Since the end of January I spent every weekend either at Ikea, Bauhaus and furniture stores or in the house setting up the furniture. That is the main reason, why I did not post anything: nothing really happened. We got cupboards, a couch, I installed all the network gear necessary and we did minor work in the garden.
At work I jumped between smaller and bigger presentations, my first real results and a workshop about electronic lab books, where I was an invited speaker. An interesting experience, certainly, but it also added to the workload. I developed a lovely little headache that is always with me, and for a couple of weeks now it rises and falls, but never completely leaves me. It’s a clingy little thing.
I did not really take any interesting photos lately, my camera had more pictures of plants and furniture to sell than anything else. I put the few okay ones interspersed in this post. I hope that soon I’ll be back up photographing stuff and people, I really miss the creative work.
Speaking of productiveness: I finished two things that I’m a bit proud of. The first thing is a guest post in Sarah Shailes‘ blog „Plant Scientist“ where I talk about the chloroplast and why it is an interesting organelle. It was a welcome experience to write that post, and thanks to Sarah I believe it turned out pretty decent. And who knows, maybe soon I’ll use that experience for something of my own.
The second thing is way more hands on. I managed to clean out a room in the basement and build a workbench from scratch in there, thanks to my birthday gift: a cordless circular saw. We bought some 20 meters of wood and I cut it to size and constructed a rather sturdy work bench. I’ll soon put a little time lapse of the process, once I can clear out some technical difficulties in the production.
So what’s going to happen now?
I will certainly work a lot, I am in an intense phase of my Phd, but it hopefully will yield some good results in the end. I want to use my newly acquired workshop to build some furniture pieces for our new apartment. I will create more. The last year was determined by the house that needed a ton of attention, and now the workload there will reduce and I hope to have some time to think about different things.
Like the garden. Over Easter Tegan and Iman came over to help with removing some tree stumps and in general clearing up the garden. Iman was not even stopped by the fact that it was his birthday and soon we prepared a decent patch that was shrub-free.
Today we added a bed after we removed 400 tons of roots from the soil. Soon there will be tomatoes. And salads. And what not. Doro has the overview.