Cultural Differences: US Impressions

Before going into the serious topics on my list for posts, something lighthearted to conclude my US adventure.

Although I have visited the United States many times, last year was the first time I did so with someone who had never been there before. Previously, I simply tried to fit in with my family’s life, and didn’t take much time to compare and contrast it to my home life in Italy. It was as if I was simply a different person there, and I accepted the differences as just a new normal for the time that I was there.

This time, it was different, and I found myself not only noticing these differences, but pointing them out and smiling at his surprise and amazement.

So here it is, in no particular order, my first sort of listicle for FtB.

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I Have Internet!

I have my longest absence yet to explain to you, with egg on my face.

I was in the States, where internet access got patchier and patchier. I decided I would finish my updates when I got back to Germany. When I got back in September, I discovered that my landlady had cancelled my internet access given the fact that I had to move out in a few weeks. Oh well, I decided, I can’t really concentrate on researching ideas for posts while I’m trying to find the time to pack my life and move around my 12-hour work days, I’ll post in my new place.

Yeah, turns out that getting connected to the internet in Germany isn’t as easy as I had expected.

I don’t think you really want to hear the gorey details of it. Suffice it to say that, after months of waiting, a change of provider and a convoluted contract battle with Telekom that has not officially been resolved yet, two weeks ago I finally got connected to the internet!

After my victory dance, I spent these past two weeks collecting my notes on various blogposts that I wanted to write, jotting things down and formulating my plans for this blog. If the FtB crew will still have me, that is.

In brief, what have I been up to?

I moved to a new apartment in a different township, which turns out to be ridiculously complicated, and am thankful every day for living with a man that can do things like build kitchens and fix electrical wiring.

I got into a minor scooter accident, but managed to avoid a night in the emergency room.

I turned 30, and even managed to wrangle a 2-day visit to Amsterdam.

I co-authored 2 papers and am feeling a little better for it, given my own experiements leading me in frustrating circles.

I took on two University students, and finally found a balance in instructing them and keeping my own lab work under control.

But most importantly I learned that, whatever you do, if you ever find youself living in Germany, NEVER SIGN A CONTRACT WITH TELEKOM.

Regular posting starts again tomorrow. I’ve missed you all, but it does feel good to be back.

Sickness and Soul Searching

I need to apologize again for my temporary absence. I got hit with a very bad flu which, of course, coincided with a definite increase in the list of things that I am asked to do for other people as well as myself. I’ve been crawling into work for a few hours a day to make sure that I don’t fall behind on experiments, making lists of things I have to buy and mail, people I have to call within very specific hours, appointments I need to make and bureaucracy I have to take care of on behalf of others. It seems that this week everybody wants a piece of Crys, and that holiday seems like a very, very long time ago. I’m tired, I’m frustrated and I just want to be sick in peace, which has led to a little (for want of a better word) soul searching on my part.

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