Research stay in Bielefeld

This summer, I’m studying abroad with funding from the German Academic Exchange Service and the Texas Language Center. (Thank you! We spent all our money on building a house.) For my dissertation, I needed to put together a workshop on drama-based instruction for doctoral students who teach German. I have some great people in my committee for both German and for drama-based pedagogy, but no one combines the two. Elmar got summer funding to put together an online course, which he could do from anywhere thanks to the wonders of technology. So here we are in OWL.

Human foosball at the Uni Bielefeld

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Celebrating US same-sex marriage in Berlin

Elmar and I went to Berlin last weekend. By coincidence, it turned out to be the weekend of the Christopher Street Day pride parade/political demonstration. And by fate, it was also the day in which, through a court case, the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

The US Embassy had a float celebrating marriage equality. Photo: http://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/christopher-street-day-in-berlin-demo-fuer-die-ehe-fuer-alle-1.2540886-3

Photo: Süddeutsche Zeitung

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Back in Old Germany

Before Elmar and I left for our summer in Germany, a lot of our friends in Texas wished us well on our “European Adventure”. I haven’t been here since 2011, yet it feels too familiar to be an “adventure”. Many Americans see Europe as a luxury destination, but I see it as “home 2.0″.

Elmar checks out the real estate market in Oerlinghausen

Now that our house in Austin is done, Elmar checks out the real estate market in Oerlinghausen

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Erst Dürre, dann Flut

Seit einigen Jahren herrscht ja hier in Zentral Texas schon Dürre. Viele haben darüber gejammert, aber ich fands aber gar nicht so schlecht, denn das geht ja einher mit nie regen. Aber seit drei Wochen ist die Dürre nun vorbei. Seit drei wochen regnet´s jetzt jeden Tag, und zwar heftig. Vor einigen Tagen gab es hier in der Nähe auch einen Tornado, eine Tornadowarnung direkt für unsere Siedlung, und Überschwemmungen in Austin und Umgebung und in vielen anderen Orten von Texas. Unsere Siedlung ist aber verschont geblieben. Aufgrund der Canyons und Hügel kann das Wasser schnell abfließen und wir sind nicht unten. Seit vorgestern, einen Tag nach dem Tornado, haben wir jetzt endlich unsere Hausversicherung. Jay. Abgeschlossen haben wir sie einige Stunden vor dem Tornado ohne es zu ahnen, da wir das schon seit einem Monat oder so vorhatten. Dann dauerte es aber einen Tag, bis die Versicherung in Kraft tritt.

Hochwasser in Wimberly, 50 km entfernt von uns. Schade um die Ferienhütten.

Hochwasser in Wimberly, 50 km entfernt von uns. Schade um die Ferienhütten.

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Haus 1 ist fertig

So, das Haus ist jetzt wirklich bis auf wenige Kleinigkeiten fertig. Letzten Montag war die letzte Inspektion, die Endabnahme, die von der Siedlung hier verlangt wird. Ab jetzt dürfen wir endlich legal in unserem Haus wohnen. Die letzten zwei Monate haben wir riskiert, eine Strafe zu zahlen, hätte die Siedlungsverwaltung es mitbekommen. Zum glück verstehen wir uns mit den meisten Nachbarn gut, so hatten die keinen Grund uns zu verpfeifen. Möbel fehlen natürlich auch noch, aber jetzt steht erstmal ein längerer Aufenthalt in Deutschland an.

Wohnzimmer

Wohnzimmer

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Hard work is bearing fruit

In the past 24 hours, I have learned that I will officially teach German again next year at UT, I received a DAAD German Studies Research Grant for research this summer in Germany, and I had presentation proposals accepted to the POD Conference for educational developers and the ACTFL Conference for foreign language instructors.

We’re also really close to passing the final house inspection for the certificate of occupancy. We’ve been living there since Februrary (shh! don’t tell!), and it just gets better every day.

On winning and losing in academia

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”
― Grantland Rice

When playing roller derby, my feelings of success are often not directly tied to the final score. If I played well with my team, if we communicated and implemented strategy, I feel great even when we lose. Conversely, if I couldn’t put my body where it needed to be on the track, or if I couldn’t get through the pack as a jammer, I feel like rubbish even if my team won.

Weirdly, I experienced both of these scenarios recently in my academic life.

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Evolution of a home office

Here are some photos of my home study space over the course of the last 3-4 weeks. On Wednesday, I finally completed a space that has both a (camping) table and chair AND a bookshelf where I’ve organized resources relevant to my doctoral exams. Before that, I was moving around between the office and guest bedroom, depending on where Elmar was installing carpet. I even used the bathroom to house my bookshelf!

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2/25/15 – office with unfinished floor

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3/1/15 bookshelf in bathroom

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3/4/15 – working in guest bedroom with unfinished floor

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3/11/15 – carpeted office with camping table and bookshelf

 

Euphoric or delirious? Exams next week!

I’m actually excited to take my doctoral exams. No really. I have been absolutely geeking out about aspects of my topics with committee members, other faculty and other grad students.

geek-out-with-your-beak-out

Source: http://www.geeknewwave.com/article/geek-out-week-3222013

To some extent, I’ve been doing the things I set out to do to prepare for my exams. I still need to pump up steps 1 and 2, but I’m in a good place. It’s weird, I feel like I could study for another 8 months and still not have everything down, but that’s not the point.

The point is to socialize me into my field, to accelerate the process of exploring diverse bodies of literature and synthesizing them, and to formally assess my ability to articulate this synthesis in writing and orally. And in the process, I’ll be teaching my committee members, who are all experts in something, but not everything with regards to my interdisciplinary topic.