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2004-07-20 - 10:51 a.m.


I have been in J*na for more than a month now and it is hard to believe that I remain only a few weeks longer! Thus it is high time to begin exercising these fingers of mine, putting them to good use on my keyboard - to crank out letters to friends but also to get moving on all of these papers I planned to write efficiently this summer.

My grand aspirations to go off to a new and exciting destination every weekend have also fallen by the wayside. In fact, I even had to cancel a trip to Hamburg due to a laptop-related back injury that had me lying on the floor for three days straight. sigh. A bit depressing, and yet the good it has done is that it has inspired me to get off my backside.

This weekend K and I rolled over the countryside in a borrowed, bright red VW Passat (K loved the color - I'm more of a blue or green car personality, whatever that means). We rambled through beautiful Thuringian countryside in the first sunny weather we've seen all summer, and we saw EVERYTHING. The mineral baths, old castles, old Napolean battlefields, out-of-the-way art museums, salt works, old historic windmills...we even stopped by a German Red Cross Village Festival in Reisdorf for a bratwurst. (excitement comes in strange ways on the grand Weimar plateau). It was absolutely exhausting holiday stress, perhaps because we did most of it after a 4-hour stint in the mineral baths (one should really go home and sleep after that type of strenuous floating).

But back injuries have really inspired me to get moving. I've been given a 14-day free pass at the local women's gym. And my introduction to the gym proceeds in typical German fashion. First I must have an introductory meeting to discuss the club. Then I must have a followup introduction to the club equipment before I can even begin to go to the club. This is why I've never gone to these places before. We must first endlessly discuss why I want to exercise before being allowed to exercise. It's irritating.

So while I am in the middle of my appointments to discuss exercise, K and I finally fixed the mud flaps on my bicycle. Ergo, I biked the 30 minutes to work this morning. The beauty of biking to work from K's place is that I get to go through Paradise Park. It's cliche, I know, but what better way to begin your day than to bike through Paradise? (I did, however, get stuck waiting 7 minutes at a train-crossing in Paradise, and although I wasn't really LOST in Paradise, I did actually take a wrong turn.)

What makes me feel more like a hero is that I biked all the way UP Muhlenstrasse, which isn't terribly steep but it takes a long time and the last 10 meters suck. Especially when two people go zooming past you. At least one of them wasn't an old granny (no offense to old grannies, but it is rather humbling when someone twice your age laps you).

Now that I'm at work I've had to do serious hair repair and I'm afraid that I'm going to smell like an old sock (or good cheese, depending on your perspective) for the rest of the day... ah well. Science is said to be a lonely profession, and maybe some days it should be...But overall, being a good cheese is far superior to feeling like a slug.

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