So here we are.
After a few weeks of fairly hectic travelling, a week back home furiously trying to write some of my thesis, and a long weekend in Paris, we’re finally heading back to Berlin to reset to normal.
My money ran out three days ago, and I haven’t finished writing my thesis.
When I mentioned that I would be spending most of July on holiday, despite this fact, one friend worried that the disruption would derail my writing process.
My supervisor, my boss, did that thing he does where his eyebrow demands that you reassess your life choices.
‘Oh Really,’ said the eyebrows.
(Or maybe I just imagined that?)
‘They’re coming from Australia. Friends and Family,’ I replied to the eyebrows.
I’m assuming my tone supported the non-negotiability of this holiday.
To be honest, after a sickness-related slow start, the thesis writing is going very well, and my brief panic about money is over. I’m happy with what I’ve written so far, and am planning to submit in September.
Thanks for asking though.
Back to the holiday.
Our strange little ivory tower of academia is this lovely melting pot of all kinds of nationalities and personalities wrapped around some of my favourite kinds of minds (Scientific! Argumentative! Eccentric!).
But what my institute is, really, is a skeleton.
There’s a core, made up of the people in charge, and a few permanent staff. But the rest of us (the flesh?) are highly transient. (Ok, so I’m rethinking that skeleton analogy now. Much too creepy.)
The standard post-doc contract is for two years, although with renewals and extensions people probably hang around for about five.
Still, five years.
Just enough time to get attached, fall in love, bond for life.
Andy and I bailed on Perth when our beloved core was still intact. We departed before Alice left the building, before Rach decided to become Dr, Dr (she’s studying medicine), before Elle moved to nutrition and Richard and Simon fled to the north.
We’ve been making this new little nest in Berlin, but we still sometimes feel a little bit achy about all the people we have back home. And, obviously, not only our work crew of co-nomads, but all of you assorted friends and enemies.
Guys, that was 25 years of bonding right there!
And it still sucks a lot every time one of our new favourite leaves the group (right now, specifically, I’m a tiny bit heartbroken that my favourite Israeli is moving back to the homeland (office life will not be the same without him but it will be safer. Much safer)).
But I’m so very happy and grateful that you all continue to visit us, and that we get to zoom around this continent together!
It helps this big wide world feel rather small and cuddly.
So small, that it doesn’t seem unlikely when your co-nomad friend moves to Amsterdam (and isn’t that just around the corner from Berlin?), and then you pop over for just a few days to meet up with her, and your other friend, to have dinner in the city with the best of the school crowd…(^with Ikumi and Lauren, two of my school friends who I’ve know since we were all about 11. We’re waiting for you Ash! )
.. And it all seems quite natural when that other friend moves to Cologne, just across the other side of what is, in all honesty, a very small country….(^Andy with Richard, possibly his true soul-mate)
…and then, when yet another friend takes up life in the vast North with his wonderful wife, and suggests an extended weekend of Island in Lappland with a whole bunch of Aussies and kinda-aussies… it just kind of feels like it should be…(^Simon, looking more natural in a boat in Lappland than any Aussie has the right to)
…and when it turns out that you might just be able to spend a bit of time in Latvia, and get to munch on the bacon buns that your grandma made in your childhood, it seems like too good an opportunity to pass up…. (^Ellen looking pensive for the camera. I’ll bet she knew where we were going all along.)
…and finally, when your mum comes to Europe with a family friend you knew since childhood, and asks whether you might manage to make it across to Paris for a weekend catchup…. and you know you can visit your favourite Parisienne at the same time…
Well you can’t really say no to that, can you?
Neither could we.