January 2007


AB, a friend of mine from my undergraduate years is in town, she is chaperoning a class trip and has the evening off! So lets continue roaming the city.

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My apartment suddenly feels so empty.

During breakfast GG and JH were so wonderful to proofread my paper that I will submit for the conference in fall. We see if it will be accepted. In college it was definitely easier to edit the various papers of friends. Now each of us has grown into a very specific work and research related terminology, and it is not as easy anymore.

We went to more memorial sights and more museums until it was time to drive them to train station from where they will continue their journey. I hate those good-bye moments, especially when accompanied by the knowledge that it will take months or years until I see them again. Every time I get teary-eyed.

And there are still so many places I wanted to show them. Come back soon! The sooner the better.

The last two days have been so dense and wonderful. Saturday morning GG and I spend hours on the breakfast table talking about politics and literature and life in general. She has an interesting job in a fascinating city. A year ago we had met each other for the first time when I visited her boyfriend JH, an old friend of mine.

We left a little bit too late for picking up JH at the airport, but his flight was delayed as well, so it did not matter. JH will spend a couple of weeks doing research in a neighboring country and it was impressive how small his luggage was. I have more luggage for my weekend trips.
We headed back home to my place and continued our breakfast for a couple of hours.
It was already early afternoon when we started the city tour. JH had visited me a couple of years ago and knows the city pretty well, but for GG it was the first time. We walked around the main sights and memorials. As soon as the sun set it really got cold and we went to one of my favorite places for eating out with visitors. We got local dishes and nice beer and almost did not want to leave and go back to the cold outside.
The next day we went to various galleries and museums and BD, a fellow doctoral student, joined us. We spend the evening in a chocolate coffee place my old neighborhood, drinking hot and sweet liquid felicity.

I ran late for picking up GG at the airport. Additionally I got stuck in a traffic jam. The only chance I had to make it on time was a possible delay. And the chances were not too bad because of the bad weather condition.
Nevertheless, I rushed to the gate and made it in time for the announcement that the flight was delayed. In the crowed I spotted a student of mine, which hardly ever happens. I immediately knew that she was waiting for her ex-boyfriend – or again-boyfriend?- as he lives in the city where GG had spend the last couple of days. So we chatted for the next two hours until the machine finally finally arrived (oh this modern highway robbery at the airport parking meters). My student lives in my neighborhood, so I gave them a ride during the snowy night.

GG and I talked and talked and it is so nice to have her here. Like a small girls only pajama party. We just inflated the mattress (so loud! My crazy neighbor downstairs will surely post me a complaint note tomorrow morning. Le sigh.) and will go to bed so that we will make it in time to pick up her boyfriend JH from the airport tomorrow morning.

I will have friends from aboard staying for the weekend. The parents of My Best Friend have lend me their inflatable mattress. Now I just need to get my apartment ready.

I am so much looking forward to their arrival!

Office. Work.
Students show up and ask me to be their undergraduate exam advisor, which I willingly agree. I love this aspect of my work. They have to write a research paper and during this process I can work closer with them than while they write their normal term paper in my seminars. Help them to shape their ideas, to set up the outline, to give the whole thing a structure, to line up their arguments, to polish their writing style. And most importantly to balance between academic writing and catching and keeping up your reader’s attention.
However, I wish they would invest more effort in choosing an interesting topic for their research paper, but no, they are not open for experiments and therefore pick very bog-standard topics – despite my plea. Topics that have been widely discussed in academia years ago and I am examining for semesters by now. At least this reduces my work load because I do not need to be familiarized with the research to date (in fact I know all the articles and books they need to read by heart), but still. A new topic would be suspenseful – not only for me, but for them as well. Otherwise they eventually come to the frustrating point that they are just reinventing the wheel.
Told ‘ya. Nonetheless, this might be an important lesson for their graduate thesis. Take some effort in picking a topic.

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