My Strangest Story of Sexual Harassment

The #MeToo movement has been a significant topic of discussion also here in Europe, but my first knowledge of it was through Facebook with a variety of my female and male friends simply posting “Me Too. If all people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

I thought it was kind of broad, as I don’t think I can name a single woman I know who has not been sexually harassed. I soon learned that the movement was far bigger than a simple hashtag, and it made me reflect back on the variety of incidents of sexual harassment that I experienced in my life, and how I reacted to them.

I realized that minor to moderate sexual harassment was something that I just assumed is part of life, and I’m sure I have forgotten about most incidents that I experienced. I have never encountered it in the workplace with regards to a person with power over me, which is how the discussion and the Me Too movement really got started, but obviously that is not the only form of harassment that exists.

However, my most recent encounter with it did leave an impression, not because of any particular feeling of violation, but because it was the only time in my life that I really did not know how to react, and I don’t even know if I can classify it as sexual harassment. In fact, it was only after the Me Too movement that I even thought of bringing up this story in this context, as up until now I had filed it under the Story of My Life category. I would like to tell you about it, because I am curious to know what you would have done in my place, and whether you think this qualifies as sexual harassment.

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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.

I Will Love It, And Squeeze It

Hello old friends whom I am ashamed to have been a part from for so long!

My control over my life has been steadily slipping away from me for the entirety of 2017 and has no intention of stopping in the forseeable future. I will not bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I have still not found a place to live despite still being imminently kicked out of my house, I have family members in the hospital and no way of knowing whether or not I will be able to see them in time, I have only just got my hands back on a vehicle which can get me to work after months without it, and the main reason for my disconnect from the greater internet world was due mostly to my faithful computer crashing, being repaired with the digital equivalent of a role of duct tape, and then immediately afterwards getting cut off from the internet in my home for another 2 weeks. Because that is the story of my life.

But enough moping about things I cannot change. I have returned, shamefacedly, and intend on catching up on oh so many things I have been meaning to talk about. What shall it be? Politics? Science? Ethics? Atheism? Let’s find out, shall we?

SOML Stories: A New Segment

While I was in France, I had a stressful, crazy, and very typical of my life set of problems happen to me. As the other instructors of the workshop watched the whole thing unfold, they laughed and commiserated, and told me that I should write a book about my collection of stories, so that other people will feel better about these kinds of things when they happen to them. In the telling, it became abundantly clear that I get into these sorts of situations more than anyone else I know, and the more similar stories I told, the more I realized just how many I have. In any case these kinds of situations, while stressful at the time, have certainly made me into a person who is good at improvising solutions.

Well, I don’t much fancy writing a book, but I figured a new segment on this blog might be appropriate, along with “This Week In Zoology”, “Tough Questions”, “Cultural Differences” and “Bad Science”. If you find them boring, or if they lose some of their comedic value in typing, feel free to let me know and I’ll cancel it. For now, I’ll tell the one that prompted the suggestion that I write these down. Funnily enough, this one seems barely noteworthy in the light of the ones that have happened to me in the past: I’d rank it a 4/10 in how stressed I was, and a 3/10 on my crazy coincidence scale. Nevertheless, it is the story that started the idea for the segment, so here is my first “Story of my Life” Story: My struggles with the IT Department that does not think solving your problems is in their job description.

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