Monday, October 18, 2010

Visiting Places

Yesterday, I got back from a quite eventful weekend. I had mentioned about this psychiatrist from the US who was going to speak in Germany. Given the fact that my friend and her husband was supposed to be there to do the recordings, and the city of Aachen is only about an hour away by train, I decided to go there. Well, we had a great time together. I also liked the doctor's presentations, although I don't fully agree with his medical approach. However, I found his insights about brain function and spirituality very valuable. They rented a public place in the middle of downtown Aachen (which is a city of about 250,000 inhabitants) and lots of visitors came. There are some families from former Yougoslavia in the local church, and they seem to be running the outreach activities. They were very hospitable and invited me to come again. On Saturday evening after the event, the organizers still wanted to take out the doctor and his wife to a restaurant. It was 10 o'clock and already past my bedtime, but I didn't want to miss out on the fellowship. So we finally made it to bed around 1:30 AM. Yesterday, my friends and I went to see the city of Maastricht in Holland, which reminded me a lot of Antwerp. We had some junk food there, but I'm not going to share what it was (well, at least it was vegetarian :-).

So the trip was really worthwhile, and I think my body can deal with getting off-schedule every once in a while. After all, the late night on Saturday was also a good training for the change of time zone during my upcoming visit to the US. Indeed, I'm going to fly out there in a few days! I hadn't thought I would make it over again so soon after my last visit, but I had some annual leave left which I was able to combine with the two holidays we are going to have here November 1 and 2. I wasn't quite sure what to do, but finally I decided to visit my friends at Eden Valley again. I just love the mountains, and I haven't been there in the fall yet after all. So far, it looks like it's going to be very sunny there, and I look forward to seeing the people and climbing mountains. I just wish I had more time to visit also other places, but it won't be even two weeks, and the highest "density" of friends is still at the self-supporting places.

I just hope they will be doing fine in the office during my absence. I learned this morning that one of my colleagues will be on sick leave for the next two weeks at least, and so there will be only two colleagues left in the secretariat when I'm gone. Such situations always give me a bad conscience, but what can I do? On the other hand, we got the good news this morning that one of the cases that I've been working on is coming to an abrupt end. It was about two mining giants starting a joint venture which was not compatible with competition rules. We had just told them in a meeting last week that we were going to object to their plans and this was the last nail in the coffin. My deputy head of unit, who was the case manager, is very relieved as he can focus on other things now. So hopefully everything will be fine as for my work as well.

Tanja and I

I love that picture of her

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