Tuesday, August 4, 2009

forgetting what home means

It's amazing how quickly it is to adjust into the lifestyle of a traveller. Living out of a backpack, hopping from one place to another. Forgetting whether home is a bed, a friend, Basel or that place back in the states.
After 3 weeks of traveling, I am finally home. In Basel that is.
First it was a summer workshop at Max Plank Institute (MPI) in Berlin. A workshop on bounded rationality. It was my first chance to speak tons of German and I left the workshop most days utterly exhausted and inspired. Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) is the lab at MPI that hosted the institute. Peter Todd, my professor back at IU, was a founding member of the lab and so since I was already over in Europe, we decided that I should apply. It was an amazing week and a half. Lots of interesting people, exciting research and new ideas floating around. The institute was great. In the morning we had 2 talks. then a break for lunch. then another talk followed by a workshop where we applied some of the ideas presented earlier in the day.
Unfortunately there wasn't a lot of time to see Berlin but one day there was a tour of a Stasi Prison followed by a city tour. I also managed to meet up with my host brother from my year long exchange in Germany in 2006. We had a great time. I also met up with my pen pal from when I was in 6th grade. She happens to be studying in Berlin. That was such a great experience.
After 10 great days in Berlin, I was more than ready to meet my boyfriend on our vacation to Vienna. He has been studying in Freiburg, Germany for the past year and upon finishing classes (around the end of July) we decided to take a trip down to Austria. I stayed with one of my fellow lab mates, Andreas, who was doing an internship 30 minutes outside of Vienna in a tiny town on the bank of the Danube. We spent the first day around Andreas's institute which was absolutely beautiful. I unfortunately cannot upload photos right now because my computer hard drive failed and I have only a lab computer now.... We made it into Vienna the next three days. We walked around the city and saw the main sites. We also managed to waste away hours in cafes. The cakes in Vienna are so decadent! I have to say though that my favorite memory of Vienna was actually swimming in the Danube.
After Vienna I once again returned to the research mindset as I attended my first conference in Amsterdam. Lawrence and I took an overnight train up to Amsterdam (I love train rides!) and the next day was the beginning of CogSci 2009. It was a lot of fun and quite the perfect first conference. However, my talk was not until the last day of the conference and thus most of the first 3 days were spent stressing about my presentation. After my presentation was finished, we cut out of the conference and went to see the gay pride parade along the canal. It was the largest one in Europe. It was quite a site worth seeing.
Now I find myself back in Basel for about 3 more weeks.

No comments: