Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Stressful Times

440 words

Christmas time is stressful. Not only is there the whole ‘presents’ problem where you have to figure out what to give to people like my parents to have everything (that I can afford) and don’t give you a hint, there’s also the town being full of mulled wine and the drunken secretaries (and students) that go with it.

And there’s the Christmas meetings you have for your seminars and so on. In fact, we had ours yesterday. Actually it was the first one our work group ever had. Somehow our boss never got round to inviting us before for some reasons or others. So that was quite interesting and fun, only pre-spoiled by the fact that the Tiramisu which I made for the occasion dropped off my bike on my way to uni and thus didn’t make it to the meeting.

And even though that meeting ended earlyish, we still headed on to the international students’ meeting which was more elaborate and took place at the same time. While I’m not an international student, of course, the ‘natives’ were still welcome and it was fun to see our international students. Of which there are quite a few, but many seem to be in the applied maths departments, so we hardly get to know them. Most of the international students seem to be from eastern Europe or from Asia. Those from eastern Europe tend to speak German surprisingly well.

One guy was from Breslau in Poland, which is where my grandma came from. If I recall correctly, my grandpa was born in Hungary, so it could be that our family’s roots are quite international as well. But nobody every cared for that too much, so I don’t really know. The guy knew a lot about railway connections and prices. He actually knew all the details of the current pricing scheme, which I didn’t. Apparently, for different kinds of trains, the fares aren’t just different but also computed in different ways… I also learned that when going home by train, the journey will be really slow once he’s back in Poland with the journey from Berlin to Breslau taking more than four hours. Apparently, in the 1920s, there was a train that did the same route in half the time. Progress?

After those fun meetings, I came home, had very few hours of sleep and went to catch a pre six o’clock (!) train to Berlin to attend that ADC Meeting and visit Claus. I’m curious what this kind of meeting is like and how useful it will be for our developments. The train will arrive shortly, so I better stop writing.

December 15, 2004, 8:30

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