Status update (Yes, I'm alive)

For those of you that have been speculating about my premature internet death, I hope to put your fears to rest. I am alive and well, and I now have a connection to the internet. It has been a very strange few days that I've had here, largely due to how amazingly foreign this place is. On a superficial level, Heidelberg looks exactly like any other university town, I could almost be in Cambridge or Oxford. It's only when people start speaking and driving on the wrong side of the road, do you realise just how far from Kansas you really are. I'm picking up the occasional word here and there, but most often, my eyes glaze over and I lose all track of the conversation. I should be taking classes soon, so that will alleviate those problems at least.

After tearful good-byes in Sydney on Sunday, I boarded my Austrian airlines flight to Frankfurt via Vienna, fully expecting that I would be opening myself up to a whole world of pain for the next 24 odd hours. I could almost imagine them making a TV series much like 24 (with Kiefer "I hate you" Sutherland), covering every minute of pain that I would go through on my journey. Watch as Jack Bauer fights pushy stewards and sneaks past disgruntled immigration staff only to suffocate and die under extremely large people who are taking up far too much of your personal space (Don't worry - he comes back to life in the next episode). They would have to pick a different flight for my series, because my flight was exceptionally hassle free. I managed to sleep for a good amount of time, and I'm pretty sure I'm not suffering from DVT. It sort of ruins my fun as I was hoping to complain about my flight. On the upside, I am suffering from jet-lag, since I can't seem to stay awake past 10pm. This may be a problem tomorrow night as LTJ Bukem is playing nearby, and I wouldn't mind going to go see him on the recommendation of Simo. The last thing I want to do is fall asleep at a gig again.

Administrivia is not my favourite game to play by any stretch of the imagination. I really don't like filling out forms, and I am not a big fan at all of inflated procedures. I'd kill for a PA who would take care of all that stuff for me. It's not that I'm lazy (which I am), it's just that my mind really can't get around the process of filling forms out and chasing them up when they get lost in the machine. It grates against my very existence in some fundamental way. This whole week has been hell for me in that way. The number of things that need to be sorted out are ludicrous, and not speaking the language is yet another level of difficulty applied to the whole process. You've got to register yourself in the town once you move in, you've got to apply for a bank account (fair enough I guess), health insurance and - I love this one - personal liability insurance. It seems that there are an inordinate amount of people in Germany who are going around breaking things, so much so that personal liability is the most prevalent insurance around. I'm a bit afraid to walk out of the door now, since I could potentially be facing financial ruin every time I cross the road without insurance to pay for that BMW I managed to run off the road. I've still got to register myself with the university, so that I become an official student again (and bask in the glory of subsidised bus and train tickets).

I live about 30 minutes out from the city centre in a suburb called Ziegelhausen (roughly). The suburb is quite quaint and quiet, and I share the apartment with a chap called Thomas. It's apparently quite a nice bike ride from there to the DKFZ, but I don't think I'm ever going to do it since there is a massive hill going from the main road to the apartment. I'm not exaggerating - it's ludicrously massive, and certainly not the type of hill you want to ride your bike up after a long day working on the PhD. I'm considering downgrading my accommodation to save a bit of cash, but I've got to scope out the rental market first to see what it's like. That's it for this mammoth update. Say hi to the koalas for me if you're in Sydney!


benjamin *

so did you manage to subsidise yourself with any scams from centrelink? i'll be most jealous if you did. not that i really care, since tonight's friday and there's free beer on offer. yay for being a studnet again!! free beer, free berr, free beer, ferr feer...

Anonymous *

Mmmm....DKFZ. It sounds like some type of WWII era German anti-tank weapon or something.

butercup *

the longer you hang out with the links of ben, the more likely you are to become a "studnet".

I wonder if that's like a "chick magnet" only different.


Hiren Joshi *

I wonder how many beers Ben made it through before posting that...

Anonymous *

so what's the bandwidth like over there? >:)

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