What is going on? I don’t know. I’m supposed to be working still, even though I’ve passed my defense. I need to clean my garage and take care of the yard. It’s Mother’s Day. I should call my mom. Is life doomed to become boring for me post-PhD? I don’t think so. This is just a lull, a welcomed lull
Yep, tomorrow is the big day. 2PM on Thursday I start the last major hurdle to my doctorate. I hope to be done before 6, but we should be done before that. My committee gets to grill me on all things about the north pole of Mars. I think they’re happy with my work. Otherwise they wouldn’t let me do the defense tomorrow. Wish me luck.
Today is Tuesday. On Thursday I defend my PhD. This day is not supposed to happen. It is supposed to be a carrot you put in front of graduate student’s so that they’ll work. We’re not actually supposed to graduate.
I’ve watched other students finish and move on. But they were years ahead of me, and if I worked hard for several more years, then I could be like them. What happened to the time?
I’m looking forward to my future. There will be many posts about that soon. Right now I want to bask in the stress and anxiety that is the culmination of almost 5 years work. I also want to be done. This is so close!
After my defense, I’ve still got to finish writing my dissertation and submit it this summer. So, technically, I won’t be a PhD this week, but that’s fine by me. It gives me some extra time to polish up the text and decompress after this semester. Plus there is moving and everything that comes with that. I’m also going on vacation with my girlfriend Kendall. So much to do this summer, when does the relaxing begin?
I just started the gambit of getting paperwork filled out. Today I had to collects 7 signatures, printed on a pink sheet of paper. This form was to ask for permission to have a meeting where I could collect the same 7 signatures. Of course that meeting is my defense, but there are many more forms to be filled out between now and the end. At least there is an end.
I don’t post mush. Maybe I’m too busy. Maybe I feel like there is nothing to say.
This semester is a big one for me. I’m hoping to finish my PhD between now and August. This means defending my thesis in May and submitting my dissertation later in the summer. On top of that the paper I submitted in January needs to be edited before it can be published, and I have to plan a move! The move is exciting, but it adds stress to everything. Still, this is an exciting time. I’m really excited to share it with my girlfriend, Kendall. She’s a light in my life and inspires me to do better.
Until next time.
I haven’t updated in a while. After returning to Texas I’ve been busy. Work is part of it. I’m dating again. Kung fu is a blast. I try to go 3 days a week. I’m also writing my dissertation. That is no small feat. There is a lot to do, and the time is running short. I’ve got less than two months to have a draft to my committee. This can’t be just any old draft; I need to have it in good shape so they’ll take me seriously during my PhD defense. That is likely to happen in early May.
I’m also gearing up to travel some more. This is nuts. I almost just want to hang out in Austin, eat good pastries, see music and comedy shows, enjoy a local brew. That’s not the life I’ve chosen.
Lastly, I’m trying to get a job for after graduation. There are three good possibilities. In fact all three are all great. I’m not looking forward to making that decision – given the opportunity. So far I’ve had no firm offers. That will change soon I expect. There may even be a fourth. Jobs are one thing, but that doesn’t come alone. I’ll also be moving during the summer. I can’t stay in Austin. This is a shame, but my career will be much better if I leave. Staying here won’t give me any opportunities, unfortunately. My plan is to rent the house and let someone else pay the note.
So, lots of things going on and lots coming up. Is there any pause button?
I saw this a few minutes ago
right before seeing this
After all of the adventures in Lisbon, rain, taxi drivers, getting drunk and lost – walking towards the wrong town, I needed some rest. It wasn’t meant to be. We woke up around 11 to shower and get ready for our ride. We were to have lunch out in the countryside, something that sounded extra nice, after being in Paris for two months already. The drive wasn’t a long one, and seeing new things helped me stay awake.
We arrived at something spectacular! This was an old bull ranch, one that raised and trained bulls for the famous bull fights. The ranch was quite large, even by American standards and beautiful. The big house was delightful and old. We were invited to snack beside a fireplace, and I got to know the other guests. They were all in their 30s and early 40s, young good looking people. At one point I thought to myself that this could be an episode in some extravagant soap opera – one with attractive people idly chatting in a mansion. The group had a range of backgrounds, only some of which I can remember. Our host, Maria, was the daughter and heir of the ranch owner. Besides her there was a Lithuanian singer, a Brazilian fashion model, there was a Spanish businessman , and about a dozen others from all over, including Lourenco and myself – two humble scientists.
Between chatting we dared to go outside and observe the bulls. These guys were bred to be mean, which scared us. The aggressive babies are kept and trained, while the less aggressive are sold for meat. Eventually the best bulls go to big arenas to fight, in what was described to me as a far worse fate than those from Spain. The bulls aren’t killed at the end of the fight. Instead they are left to bleed out and die several days later. No one could tell me why. I had respect for the animals and kept my distance.
Eventually it was dinner time. The original plan was to ride horses to the house on the other side of the property, but rain in the previous days made that impossible. Instead we took trucks. The drive was not a short one, and we were able to get a good look at a lot of bulls and the enormous property. Something that stuck me was the odd trees that had their bark removed. This bull ranch was also used to harvest cork from special trees. Next time you get a Portuguese bottle of wine, think about where that cork came from.
Dinner was excellent, the food and the company. I got to tell my favorite bull joke, our hostess couldn’t remember any herself, and we spent a delightful evening. Unfortunately for me (although fortunately in the end) we hadn’t planned well in our hung over states that morning, and I left my bag at Lourenco’s house. This was bad because I had to leave the dinner party for the airport in order to catch my plane. I rode with a couple that was also returning via plane. Well, I got to the airport in time, but my clothes didn’t make it. Like I said, this was probably for the best as the next day was pretty awesome. Still I had to book another flight and make preparations to miss a day at work. Juliane made us a nice dinner, and we relaxed by the fire that evening.
The next day brought much better weather. Finally I got to see how beautiful Lisbon was most of the year. I enjoyed walking through the hand paved streets, stopping for chocolate or snack. It was a relaxing and pleasant day. Juliane successfully took her motorcycle exam, and we met later for lunch. She was happy. I also got to help Lourenco and his mom do some home improvements, kind of a running theme in my travels. Earlier this year I helped Dan B cut down a dead tree and Johannes G build a counter with sink for his kitchen, among many other things. Finally the day came to an end, and I made for the airport, much happier than I would have been to leave the previous evening.
Here are some pictures from that day.
And some subway scenes for AJ
I arrived in London on Friday night after a harrowing lecture from a British customs lady. Since then I’ve been having a good time with Justin Waghray and his roommate Nizomi. lots of cool things to do here!
I won’t be home for another 11 days, but it’s time to pack. On Friday I leave my apartment. I’ll head to London for a week and leave a suitcase in my office. After London it’s back to Paris for one night, then goodbye Europe.
Packing is a little sad. It just hit me this morning that already more than three months have passed, and I’m in the end game of my visit. A lot of things were accomplished while here, probably (certainly) more than would have happened if I had stayed. I say probably because other things would have been done sooner, but not necessarily better. Working with Aymeric Spiga at LMD has been a great experience, on that will fuel our friendship and collaboration for years to come. We’re already planning two papers out of the work we did with more likely to follow.
I’m going to miss Europe, but it’s a good thing. That means I enjoyed myself here. And that’s really true. Living in Paris meant I could see and do things that were only dreams most of my life. I was also able to visit old friends and make new ones while here. I’m glad for that. I’m also glad for the opportunity to learn and practice French. While there is a long way to go before speaking French well, I’ve got a solid footing which will facilitate my next go around. That’s how I learned Spanish, so it’s a good strategy.
Even though I’m going to miss Europe, I’m looking forward to going home more. Home is Austin, where my house and motorcycle are. It’s where I plan to plant a garden this spring and turn in my dissertation this April. I’m ready to be physically active again, and that means playing Ultimate Frisbee with friends and continuing my Kung Fu lessons. I should test for brown belt this summer. I’m also ready to be able to run again without interruption of cars or traffic lights. And maybe lastly, I’m ready for some warmth. Paris in fall is wet, cloudy, and chilly. Even though Texas will be that way for January and some of February, it’ll be warm far sooner than in Paris, and it is likely much drier.
As I pack I’m reflecting on my imminent departure, one that seemed so far off in September and thankfully didn’t go by too fast. Europe has been great, and Texas will soon.