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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday. The traditional markt post, and other random thoughts.

I'm surprised at how much being back in J├╝lich feels like being home. I have even caught myself wondering if I could get a short-term (1 year?) appointment here, to wrap some of the more exciting work up.

Although the forecast had originally predicted rain, today is sunny, with a bright blue cartoon sky. Everything stands out in sharp relief against it. The umbrellas at Liebevoll leave geometric patters on the gold wood and green cushions. It is an altogether pleasant place to sit and drink coffee.

This trip is a little bittersweet. It's wonderful because the science I'll be doing and the colleagues with whom I'll be doing it are fabulous. And, of course, because I like the people and the markt here. This trip is even better, though, because the colleague with whom I had so many issue is no longer here. This frees all of us up to do some really exciting work. But the trip is also sad, because I suspect that it will be my last, as I will be leaving my current appointment in the fall.

Today's markt was quiet-ish when I arrived. That has changed rather dramatically now. But the flower stands have become a single stand (which may be just due to the fact that it's time for August holidays). Lots of bustle, and no time to catch up. I stood for awhile by the Wein und Kaese truck, feeling the breeze and letting the sounds wash over me. They are good sounds, accompanied by smiles and good wishes. I practice saying "Have a good weekend" as I take my purchases, and nod as I dodge the clusters of people talking with great animation.

Peter tells me that today's markt is for the kindern -- especially for those who do not have the opportunity to go on a real holiday. There are rides and lots more noise than I am used to. There are also police cars and firetrucks, with their accompanying officers, helping the children scramble around and find the siren. It is probably charming from a distance. But Peter will do a wine tasting later, which will be fun. And when there are less people crowded around the cheese truck, I will go taste cheeses for this week.

The apartment is well-stocked with utensils, so that I can do most of my own cooking. I did try to restrain myself at the produce stands, but I'll need to acquire more basics. One stand had a few figs (yay!), so I will check the market at the end of the street when I get tomatoes and onion, in the hopes that they will have more. I'll deal with lunches as they come, although I'm hoping to bring food rather than buy it at the casino. As much as I like the casino, it is very expensive, and my allowance will not go far. So, salads and bread-and-cheese(!). I don't have to sort it all out immediately (see, I'm growing!), since there is another markt on Tuesday, and I could always just run to the store (except on Sunday, grr).

Also, I have discovered that I do not recall essentially any of my German, and failed to bring my phrase books. I can work on the language itself, but I can't get the easy questions right now. I'll try to find one on-line to download and use (if I could find a audio one, too, that would be great).... Once again, the Mac comes to my rescue. I've found a couple of audio files on iTunes that may do what I need. And since it's only an hour, I can write them down. Worth a try!

I have an invitation for Caffe und Kuchen this afternoon. And I had to turn down another invitation because it conflicted with the first. So exciting -- almost like belonging.

Location: Currently, Berkeley, United States

I'm an academic scientist who is both abroad and a broad. I am on the road so often that I have a house solely so that my cats will have somewhere to live.

Okay, fine. If you really really want to, and don't care how long it is between mail checks, you can send email to ascientistabroad  {a}gmail{dot}com

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