Odds & Ends (18-22 April 2017)
So, a week to go. It seems that no matter how much planning one puts into a schedule, there’s always a flood of unfinished business at the end. The last several days have been full of “goodbyes,” promises to keep in touch, pledges of “let’s get together one more time before you leave,” and other assorted affairs to be attended to. Slowly, I’m beginning to discard the clutter that seems to accumulate without effort, despite my best intentions of keeping it to a minimum. What notes should I keep? What things can I send home, being fairly certain that I won’t need them in the next seven days? Is there someone willing to take my leftover groceries? It’s such a shame to throw out a nearly full box of muesli. (The answer is yes, my Fulbright Fellow neighbors are happy to have them so they won’t end up in the landfill or wherever they take such things.)
I’ve begun to think about the places I want to visit one more time, the restaurants I want to have a meal in because they serve something special, the coffee shop I found tucked away on a residential street that has REAL homemade pastries and good coffee and where I can sit with the newspaper or a book for an hour or so without being disturbed. Aside from these pleasures, I also have been busy consulting with as many of the bright young minds working in the center as I can. It’s amazing how a casual forty-five-minute tour of someone’s workspace can prompt new ideas, a potentially useful avenue of research that would not have occurred to me otherwise. Not to take advantage of such opportunities would border on the irresponsible.
There’s still time to enjoy the city and to do things. This afternoon a March for Science is being held in the Rathausplatz, the big open square in front of City Hall. It’s one of many similar marches being held in about 400 cities around the world. The purpose is to show support for rationality and the exercise of reason in everything we do, a tough row to hoe in the current climate but activism of this sort is still alive and kicking in Europe and it seems to be taking hold in the States as well. We hope someone is watching and listening. Tonight, there is a city-wide event called the “Long Night of the Museums.” Museums across Hamburg will be open until late and will be hosting all sorts of cultural events. If I can stay up, I just may have to check this out.
And the weather is slowly improving. Hamburg is apparently notorious for quickly changing conditions (sort of like Iowa) so you take an umbrella whenever you’re out. This morning I ran some errands and within the space of two hours I experienced a deluge with whipping winds, a smattering of hail (about 10 seconds worth), a few errant flakes of snow that never even reached the ground, and sunshine. As you can see from a couple of the pictures below, it’s getting green and it’s a bit sad to be leaving just as the warm weather is arriving, but I’ll catch it in Minnesota.