Now, time for the post that was supposed to be awesome! A post that would rival the awesome randomness of my posts on September, during the introductory seminar of the Humboldt Foundation. But no, this post has a dark beginning and continues in a drugged haze of forced smiles and disappointment.
Our German Chancellor Fellow Study Tour began on March 3rd in Bremerhaven, on the North Sea coast. My fellow fellows and I were all looking forward to a busy two weeks filled with visits to Leipzig, Munich and Regensburg, among others, and spending time in museums, at farms, on brewery tours, etc. Instead, my tour was cut short, thanks to appendicitis. On the first day, I had an unfamiliar pain on my right side, and after trying to sleep it off, it was not going away. So, I checked myself into a hospital, settled in for a sleepless night, and waiting for a diagnosis, which resulted in surgery first thing on Monday morning.
I would not recommend having major surgery in a foreign land far away from family, but at least my appendix went bad in a country with good (and significantly cheaper than in America) medical care, where I also speak the language (although not much medical German), and that I was generally a good sport considering the annoyance and pain of surgery. So, after getting a quick visit by two of my Buka friends, my group left for their next city, and I spent three more days recovering in the hospital. Thanks to a willing friend of E’s, I made it back to Bonn by train, and spent a couple of days back in my apartment, doing nothing and thinking that I’d be well enough to meet up with the rest of my group just one week after surgery.
|E visiting me in the hospital. I was sooooo glad to see her and S after my surgery - I could have cried, if I would had my wits about me!|
|My single room at the hospital. Not as nice as the hotels my friends were staying at.|
I did indeed meet up with my group again, but thanks to a long bus ride, which lasted much longer than it should have due to a significant snow fall, and more walking and standing that I was expecting, I decided to leave the group one day early. I was mostly afraid that if something was going wrong with my recovery, I might get stuck in Brussels, where we spent our last days. I missed out on the best part of the tour, which included most of the places I’d never been before. I did, however, get to see some dear friends from my college days TWICE as they spent a week in Europe! I wish I could have spent much more time with them, though!
Here (and above) are some of the photos from the whole ordeal, from hospital to German Supreme Court. When I leave Germany after my fellowship is over, I can say that I have once again left a piece of my heart here, and a literal piece of my digestive system. I hope Germany enjoys my appendix. I will never forget what appendix is in German – “Blinddarm.” Oh the stories I have now!
|Me at the German Supreme Court.|
|R and E, rocking the suits!|
|Our hotel in Kirchheimboladen. This was after the epic snowfall that extended our 150 km/2 hour bus ride into a six-hour affair. Instead of going to the European Central Bank, we had lunch at an Aldi's - not really a fair trade in my book.|
|T playing the Alphorn at our wine tasting night. There are some advantages to being a horn player - you can transition smoothly to Alphorn.|
|Our host at the wine tasting. This is his self-constructed Carnival instrument, the Teufelgeige - the devil violin. Can you tell why this instrument has this name?|