onsdag den 7. september 2011

Here I am!

I have arrived in Oberwolfach, and nature is still incredibly gorgeous. It works quite well to do math here, with only few distractions.

The major distraction being the amount of food we are offered; three times a day a solid german meal is served, cake in the afternoon and left-overs in the evening. Naturally, I wouldn't want to carry the result of five meals times three months up the cliffs of the world; I have therefore been fighting back, going for runs up the backyard mountain monday and wednesday, biking 50 km monday and driving to a climbing gym 60 km away tuesday.

Yes, driving; tt turns out that I can rent a car cheap on a day-to-day basis from a local mechanic. This makes it easy to get out in the civilization should the urge arise (I have to say that three days in nature made even the hippie-settlement of Freiburg seem like a very stressful be). My first car-purchase will wait till I can actually afford a Porsche.

Even more so, I might not even have to rent cars that often: We are presently four postdocs at the institute, and below me lives a turk that has been doing her PhD in France. As a conversation-opener I asked her how she managed to transport her flowers here, and as she told me that she drove here from France. I jokingly asked if she happened to use it to go climbing with -- this is really the only thing I can imagine you need a car for. With a look of be-bafflement, she told me that she loves to go climbing a lot but that she had left her climbing gear at home because she expected to be around a bunch of underarms trained only for pressing keys on a computer.

I was told at my Vipassana course that if I keep on practising, improvements are bound to happen to my life, and how wonderful is this: A brand new climbing book of the local area, along with someone to take me there and up the cliffs. I just need to convince her to buy some climbing shoes soon -- and not put so much effort into her research.

Apart from a climbing partner amongst the postdocs there is also a fellow topologist that I know from beforehand. We have both been working on String Topology, and want to see if we can reach some common ground. This excites me quite a bit as well.

The last postdoc hasn't revealed his skill in keeping me from going insane yet.

lørdag den 13. august 2011

This might seem unrelated, but my psychologist is trying to teach me to be cognitive about my emotions. Today I need to display some fury on the internet:
and I can now breathe again.

More thrilling posts on my preparations for Germany coming up. I can reveal that I am almost down to owning nothing more than a suitcase and my climbing gear; I offered most of the fluffy stuff I had to two cats that are under my supervision in the week before I go to Ireland for Vipassana. One of the cats graciously grated the gesture by giving me all he had in return -- puking on the carpet and poo/pee-ing on the floor.

Other entities have shown other signs of gratitude by receiving what used to be mine.

torsdag den 4. august 2011

The heart of the darkness

One PhD-thesis down, I have decided to take on the even bigger literary challenge of maintaining a blog. By popular -- or, more precisely, poplar -- request (yes, I do still enjoy the occasional conversation with my fellow trees), this blog speak English.

My previous blog is dead beyond the hope of defibrillation; the emotional health of my heart is best described as pending to be mending; but I am still climbing -- and for the connoisseurs, the expiry date of the debated package in this post is closing in.

The onset of this blog comes in conjunction with my preparations for yet another exploration of planet earth: I will be paid to do mathematics for three months in the sinister forests surrounding Oberwolfach as a Leibniz Fellow. However, with the cooperation of aperture I will also find time to depict just how dark the trees of the dark forests are; along with other projects.

I realize that the darkness of the forest will severely complicate any missions of finding me. But, my dear reader, should you decide to take on such a venture, you will (hopefully) be legally entitled to exclaim "Dr. Bargheer, I pressume".

My advisor, pushing me into the above title, has warned me that living in the dark forests of Oberwolfach will bear a resemblance of living in a monastery. For three years I have been paid to take her advice, and by habit of this spirit I am going to learn Vipassana meditation, prior to my journey. As a distraction of the spiritual path, the black forest is apparently swarming with climbable rock-faces!

Other minor preparations include defending my thesis, writing postdoc applications, buy a car, learn German from "Das Glasperlenspiel" -- and climb rock.