8th April 2013
Yes, it’s been a long time. Nearly 5 months since I last wrote an update email.
In November I went to Berlin for my UK visa, and spent whatever hours I was not at work or sleeping on writing a novel. It was part of the NaNoWriMo challenge of finishing 50,000 words in one month. I finished on the 28th, well in time but unfortunately, have not worked on it since and the story is far from finished. I think I thought I was writing something long like LOTR 😛 Many changes have to be made to some fundamental contradictions in concept before I can move forward.
In December when it hit me that I have just a year to finish, everything but work went to the background. I started working for longer, trying to compile all the results so I could start writing the paper on the first project. I went to Slough, near London for the winter break (which I took) and spent 20 days recharging, spending time with my relatives there, eating good food and having nice long stimulating conversations with my aunt and uncle sometimes, as well as playing hide and seek and painting with my little cousin.
In January, work got even more crazy hectic. I started coming home no earlier than 8:30 on good days, sometimes even 12:30am but work was moving faster. Different sections of the paper were getting written faster, edited, data was rechecked and rechecked again to make sure. Then at some point, some reanalysis had to be done in a new way and that had to be rechecked. Ideas for the next two projects were discussed and work on that began in the time I waited for feedback. The same followed in Feb except we had a concert with my choir and the tickets were sold out on both nights and the whole show was very well received. But with that concert and the beginning of the holidays, my musical activities stopped.
In March stress had accumulated so much that I had started to burn out by doing nothing but work. Halfway though, the network broke down. We just got it back last Thursday actually. In the mean time, I couldn’t access my data and work slowed down. I took the opportunity to work on the second paper and evaluate my routine. I decided I can’t keep such an unhealthy mode of work for a whole year like I did during my MSc thesis months. With the coming of equinox my sleep cycle balanced out and I started going for aerobics again. I threw an Equinox party which reestablished my social life. I also joined singing lessons in Jazz and choir is starting soon too. These will help me keep my sanity.
It’s April and still winter doesn’t seem to want to end. Sure, some flowers have tried sprouting but are soon killed by subzero nights. Now that there is more and more sun, the battle is turning and on Saturday as I sat in the Meadows of Edinburgh (on my weekend trip there), the sun felt warm. It was a great trip. I spent a lot of time with my old friend. We talked like we haven’t in so long and though time had passed, Edinburgh still felt so familiar, like I had never left. I was happy to hear English all around me but have to admit I missed the German too. Edinburgh is such a great city with so many people from so many places, beautiful old buildings, not half as modern as my area in Oldenburg. Old in a cosy way. Catching sight of Arthur’s Seat and walking around campus and familiar areas, I felt reassured. Pleasant nostalgia. I met some other friends who I had met earlier in Munich at the Jazz bar and also attended a poetry performance which was very emotionally powerful. I also caught up with my old flatmate’s boyfriend who has grown more social. I was very happy to be there. What had changed considerably was my way of seeing the city. I was no longer the little girl, new to it all, the ‘poor student’. I hadn’t realised how much I had grown since I left and for the first time, I felt the years on me. Questions again arose about my approach to life, my identity, my future. But identity is overrated.
That’s my update on the last five months. I hope you’ve had better luck with spring where you are.
Live every moment. Time flies.