Travel and Vacation


Two relaxing weeks in Denmark.

It was a lovely vacation with my dear friend and her family. La Primera enjoyed it a lot, especially hanging out with my friend’s two sons. The older one loved her as well. The younger one struggled a bit that he was suddenly not the little one anymore but La Primera.

We went to Keukenhof which was beautiful.

Besides that we just talked and talked and talked. I miss having her living two blocks away like in the good ol’ times of my graduate studies. I am glad that she lives on this side of the big pond again, but unfortunately they will leave again next year.

I am wondering why I do not travel to see her more often, or at least call her on a regular basis. Our friendship, however, has never been based much on calling each other regularly, it is more about seeing each other, spending time together.

Unfortunately and as always time went by way too quickly, and if traveling by train with a toddler and luggage would not be so troublesome I would go there again next weekend.

and I am back at my desk, drinking decaf coffee. I need to prepare for teaching next year, especially one of the subjects. Time goes by so quickly, and the New Cohabitant wants attention and prefers sleeping at night (wonderful) and not sleeping during the day which reduces my time to work a lot. So I need a plan of action. I already looked at the curriculum of said subject and divided it into four topics that I NEED to know. There is one small topic I just ignore and will learn while teaching it. Nonetheless, I need to repeat basics as well.

  • September – basics
  • October – Topic one (lets call it “Applied Topic”)
  • November – Topic two (which we could call “Friday”)
  • December – Topic three (which we call “Beauty”)
  • January – Topic four (which we call “Russian”)

Now I wonder if anyone can guess what I am going to teach 🙂

That needs to work out, especially as I am co-editing a book in the fall, planing on a vacation, planning to visit My Old City, visiting AB in the South and visiting K who moves to Europe from the other side of the ocean, and I have two or three articles that would love to be written. Oops.

I better start now while the New Cohabitant sleeps.

from an exiting weekend, back at the desk. Thursday and Friday I was really productive and wrote or revised five entire pages on The Important Chapter. Now this little subsection is not mere bones anymore, it even has some (muscular) flesh and – even better – some flab on the bones. That felt really really good. No idea if there was is a correlation between my writing process and being off-line entirely ;-)

In the evenings I met with friends which was so nice – and included lots of delicious food.

The weekend was spent in Berlin: on Saturday we went to the demonstration “Freiheit statt Angst” (“Freedom not Fear – stop Surveillance Mania”). The weather was pleasant and it was a nice and interesting walk through Berlin Mitte. There were so many T-shirts and posters with great slogans which are difficult to translate – the play on words would often just get lost.

On Sunday we went to the exhibition “Bauhaus. A Conceptual Model” (about which I will write a separate post) before we headed home. As usual I thought that there is so much to explore in this vivid city which we have not done yet. And one reason is the guilt that academia installs in one’s brain – feeling guilty if you leave the desk for a weekend without having finished your thesis.

Actually for a week already, but my boss is gone until next Monday. Last week I spent entirely in My City, getting used to work again, and this week until Sunday in Our City.

The two weeks of vacation were wonderful. The Husband and I started our vacation with visiting a concert. The next day we met his former PhD advisor for coffee and cake and dinner which was just lovely. In contrast to my thesis advisor he asked questions about my progress and my problems, and it was a good feedback.
We left that same night to drive to my parents where we spent a couple of wonderful lazy days, eating plenty of wonderful food, reading lots, going on a walk each night. We left the next weekend and went to my parents-in-law where we stayed a couple of days, celebrating my brother-in-laws birthday (unfortunately we forgot to bring the pictures along we took at his wedding a month ago), sailing, etc. Afterwards we spent some days at Our City, went on a day-trip or two, and on the last day had a lovely barbecue with friends.

There is work piling up:
– Writing an article for a conference, due in a week
– Writing a summarization of my thesis for the yearbook of my association in which all current thesis’ projects are published, due a week ago.
– Editing a compendium with The Husband.

No classes to prepare as I am done 🙂 But I need to get my application done for next year when my job ends (I will start a training to teach secondary schools which will last two years and be hell.) And before that training starts in the beginning of 2010 I HAVE TO FINISH MY THESIS.

And as I see some of the bloggers I read regularly are posting their daily menu (there was a “lets blog daily-journal-wise” trend), I will give that one a try as well.
Nourishment today: a slice of bread with strawberry jam made by my mother, a cup of anis-caraway-tea, salad and thick-cut fries, vanilla-and-hazelnut-gelato, lots of water, apricot and orange juice, two slices of bread with cheddar on one and vegetarian onion lard on the other, and home-grown tomatoes.

As I am often working late, it is easier to summarize my MMAP-participation the following day.
Yesterday started with grocery shopping and apartment cleaning. The afternoon was spent sneezing and taking a nap due to being exhausted from hay fever.
In the evening, finally, I worked on my precious little chapter, changing section order, setting up a new section. The real problem – besides from needing to read more in order to write it – is the problem how to outline it. I know what I want to show, but I am not sure of the order.

Chapter status so far
1. Introducing the chapter – written in a way I could give it away for comments. However, the order of the following chapters is not granted
2. *NEW* section inserted today, like a little prologue – needs to be written
3. Section
Short Intro, I know what I want to show in this chapter, but the way is just so foggy right now
3a subsection – structured today
3b subsection – needs to be edited
3c subsection – should maybe integrated into 3a. But then 3a might need to be changed back to become 3b.
4. Section
Needs to be edited and needs more substance
5. Section
Lets not talk about that one
6. Conclusion

Article status so far
Not even looked at it today

The workshop in Small City Abroad was such a nice event.
I had been invited to give a talk, and I felt so honored just to get invited. The day before my departure I had to teach my class and finally handed in the second compendium article which was such a relief. So besides my thesis there are no skeletons in my closet, at least right now. (If only…)

I spent the evening preparing the talk and the slides, just halted by meeting My Best Friend and his parents at a nice little vegetarian restaurant. A break I definitely needed, besides the fact that there was no food in my apartment –  I just had arrived that day, was planning to leave the next morning to Small City Abroad, and would return to Our City. As usual before a flight I did not sleep very much, prepared my talk, packed my stuff.

The flight itself was alright, not as bouncy as I had expected although it was windy. I took a cab to the hotel, went through my notes again and took a long nice nap. In the evening I met two faculty members who took my out to dinner. It was a really nice evening and I enjoyed the conversation a lot.

The talk took place the next day, altogether there were four presentations dealing with similar topics. My talk was supposed to illustrate the situation in my country; and the audience was nice and raised questions. The presented projects were interesting, and I wished we had more time for discussion but the time flew by so quickly.

After lunch the workshop was over, and I went back to the hotel, dropped off my bags and went into town. Eleven years ago, when long-time-ago boyfriend and I had toured this country for two weeks, we had been in Small City Abroad, but I was not really able to remember it. At one corner I suddenly had a déjá-vu but who knows if my brain just not played a trick on me.

I went to a bookstore where I spent hours, unable to decide which books not to buy. Finally I reduced my hunt to five, and returned back to the hotel, completely happy. I spent the evening on the bed, drinking a beer, and reading the newly purchased Elisabeth George (“Careless in Red”) until midnight. I love it. A year ago I had read  “What Came Before He Shot Her” which was good as well, but each page I more or less unconsciously waited for Lynley and Havers to appear. Anyway, by now I am done with the book and as usually I did not immediately knew who the murderer was, that’s why I love her crime novels.

The next day I spent strolling around the streets, and finally made it to the cinema where I watched “W”, together with some hot chocolate and something equivalent to a lemon meringue pie.

I left the next morning really early, arriving in My City, taking the train to Our City, exhausted and happy. It was a wonderful trip, and I am grateful for the invitation and the additional free time which I used to recharge my inner batteries. And hopefully the exchange will continue, maybe leading into a project. Lets see.

Now November is almost over. My class is a nice and small one, but a lot of them are lazy and do not get their stuff done in time.

Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday. Can’t believe that already 1 1/2 years have passed since she passed away.

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