Halloween

Every year, my co-op (I will post about what cooperative housing is another time) hosts a Halloween party. It was new experience for me, not only because I have never attended a big American Halloween party in my life, but also because it was amazing to see how the house transferred into a dance floor.

Of course, it left a huge mess in the house. Then again, this was a reason to finally do a proper cleaning of the first floor. I was able to observe that people — even though they were drunk — put there beer cans in the recycle. It seems like alcohol can enforce environmental friendly behavior, but I wasn’t able to collect enough data to confirm this hypothesis.

DJ Jack
Dining Room converted into a bar

Diwali

I attended my first Diwali celebration.  Still not really sure what they are celebrate but spending time with all my friends was wonderful.

DSC00540
Also, there was a birthday the same day and we were able to surprise her with a self-made cake. We made the cake the day before. It took several hours but the result was worth it. At first it looked like a giant Oreo, but the cream cheese frosting made it just awesome.

Preparing the batter
DSC00517

The Commitment

You often hear about the analogy of marriage and Ph.D. studies. While it is may found funny there is some truth to it. You ask that one person to support and take care of for the next five or six years.

I feel like I have found an awesome adviser. He will probably be one of the most influential people in my life.

Porchfest

It’s just these little things that make Ithaca amazing to live in. During Porchfest citizens host concerts at their porches. So, this does not happen at some dedicated field, but in the heart of the town.

This is not a big festivity and does not attract many visitors from outside Tompkins county, but that is part of its charm: it is original and down to earth.

DSC00464

DSC00458

Why I’m at CorneIl

I don’t really believe in rankings or any kind of prestige. Of course I was amazed when I came here and am proud to work with super smart people in my field. However, I wasn’t really sure if this is really the special place I imagined it to be.

Last week we went to a speech by Hans Rosling. The presentation was very impressive and I was very glad I could attend it. During the QA this one woman asked “what can I do to help my country?”. I realized, Cornell is full of people that want to change the world. Many of us, come from outside the US and want to improve life in their home country.

I realized, this is why I am here. I want to change the world.

One Week in Ithaca

After a pretty long trip I safely made it to New York state. When I first arrived  at Stewart Little, my co-op, I was a little overwhelmed. This is messier and bigger than I thought. But already one day later I realized what a wonderful community I have become a part of. People here really seem to care for each other. We have dinner together every day, which saves a lot of time and is a good way to socialize with new people as it is not uncommon for housemates to invite their friends.

Cornell is just beautiful! The campus is much bigger than I expected. I needed a few days to getting used to that much walking but the nice landscape and architecture make up for that. I am still wondering what most of the buildings are needed for. Cornell is just a little bigger in student population than my undergrad institution and has about 10 times its size. Insane!

DSC00416

I spent the first week attending the ITAP — the International Teaching Assistants Program. The lectures aren’t that exciting, but I had the chance to meet people from all around the world: India, Brazil, Hungary and even Dschibuti!

I am not sure if I am only imagining it to be so, but the people here seem much friendlier, open, and libral. I honestly feel home. After just one week. Let us see if this feeling remains when the summer is over…

Bebe Lake

Getting ready for my trip

My departure is approaching. On Sunday I will move into my new home, a co-op in Ithaca.

I’m excited. Not only will I be living in a new country, I will also live with more than a dozen people in a huge mansion. Up till now my now, my future housemates have been very supportive and, thus, I am looking forward to meeting them.

What bothers me right now is the long trip. Ithaca is not easily reachable, especially if you’re coming from outside the United states. To reach Ithaca from Frankfurt, I will first fly to Toronto via Iceland. From there I will fly to Syracuse and finally a cab will bring me to Ithaca. The whole trip ̣(including waiting times and customs) will take around 14 hours. Uff.

On the plus side preparing my luggage is less work than I expected. I anticipated moving to another continent and, therefore, only hardly bought new clothes and electronic devices in the last months. Because of this, I will only bring clothes for about two weeks and buy most things after I have arrived in the states. It feels good to be able to buy new outfits and  “reinventing” myself soon.

The best friend

I know we always had our ups and downs but in the end we’re  always there for another. I could not imagine going through the last months without you. You always support me when I need it the most and the days we spend together were anything but boring.

DSC00209

In an ideal world kindness should be nothing special, but it must never be taken for granted. I’ll never make that mistake again.