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One Day in my Life
Cultural Differences

Typical Monday at Work

I'm waking up, looking to the clock, looking next to me, where my boyfriend is sleeping. Still a bit tired and my thoughts still like caught in cotton wool.
I'm deciding to go on sleeping until the alarm will tell me to get up.

The radio starts to play. It's 8:30 in the morning.
Puh, I'm so tired. I keep my eyes closed, listening to the music, half continuing the dreams I had before the music started, half thinking about weird things... about the letter I wrote yesterday to my penfriend in Uganda... about the papers I should read... about the program I'm writing at the moment... about a quarrell I had with Peter yesterday... about the lovely flower Isaac gave to me last wednesday... about my boyfriend... about my dreams and wishes... about everything and about nothing... about the whole world... about...

A hand grabs my arm. My boyfriend pulls me tight to him. I feel his warmth. His warmth means security to me. I feel so well in his arms.
Still my thoughts wander around... actually I'm not quite sure, if my thoughts are already clear, or if I'm still dreaming... Again my thoughts, my dreams, my emotions dance in the world of phantasy... the world of imagination.

,,Don't you want to get up?'' a voice next to my ear interrupts my dreams, my thoughts, ...
I'm trying to get into the real world.
I want to go on dreaming... living in my phantasy.
I don't want to face the reality... the every-day problems... and all that nasty stuff out there...
,,Come on. Let's have a shower.''

I just stay in bed.
But when I don't get up, he also doesn't get up.
Thinking about my thoughts...
... thinking about my emotions...
... no desire to exchange my phantasy, my dreams, my sunny thoughts for the hard reality... the 'every-day life'...

,,Okay, I get up. Then you can also get up.'' Slowly I move my body out of the bed, feeling the weakness of my muscles after the long night, feeling my head a bit turning, trying to wake up, trying to react just normal...
I hear the water in the bathroom. How can somebody be so quick without beeing awake? I need a real loud alarm to be able to jump out of the bed - at least if the night before wasn't too short. If I wake up with gentle music, then I wake up slowly and my thoughts leave the dreams not in a few minutes. My thoughts and dreams...
Even when we are having breakfast a bit later, I'm still in the world of my weird thoughts, my phantasy world.
Sometimes I'm just standing somewhere, starring somewhere, but my thoughts are elsewhere, far away, in a place where you can't reach them... such far away, that I even can't tell them...

After breakfast I'm packing my bag with the most important things and a bag with all things I need for the badminton training this evening. I'm taking the bags and also my laptop. We are leaving the appartment and going downstairs. Probably the neighbours think, that we are going to move. My boyfriend looks for mail and then we leave the house. On the other side of the road my car is standing, where I parked it yesterday. I'm putting my bags into the boot.
We are going to university by car. It takes us about 15 minutes to arrive there. Today many students are there, the semester has just started and so it's difficult to find a parking lot. But we get one a bit outside the campus and we have to walk a few paces to reach the building. We are walking up the stairs to the 3rd floor, where we have our bureaus.
Alfred, my colleague, one of the 3 persons, who shares the room with me, is already there. He is typing some text. I'm going towards my desk unpacking my bags. First I start my computer and also my laptop. I take off my coat, open the window and plug in the power supply for my laptop. Then I'm sitting down, waiting until my laptop has booted and inbetween reading my emails and starting icq on my office computer.
Icq is quite convenient for our work. We have colleagues in many other countries and icq is faster than email. In addition it's more practical, if you want to exchange just some short information or ask a short question.
Carsten says 'Hi' to me via icq and I ask him how he is. He's not in a good mood today and so I try to cheer him up a bit by dispelling his worries. My laptop has booted inbetween. After logging in I also check mail here. I'm reading my private emails on my laptop and my job-related emails on my office computer.
Tina from Argentina wrote a short mail to me, but as always it's not more than 'hi, how are you my dear friend, I hope you are fine, I'm doing well, take care, love, Tina' Sometimes she tells me that she has a lot of work, but she never tells me, what she is working. Okay, I know her job, but I don't know what she is doing all day. She never tells a short anecdote from her every-day life. :(
A guy from Spain, with whome I had really interesting discussion via email some time ago, always sends web-links, articles and texts, but I don't have time to read them anymore. A boyfriend and a job take a lot of time. I still haven't read the mail on my office computer. Some data is still waiting for evaluation.
But before I can type a single word on my computer or even think about the data, it knocks at the door. It's our secretary. She just brings the mail. There's no letter for me, but one for Thorsten. Now you already know two of my colleagues. I'm the only woman in our room. In the working group there are two other women, but with about 40% of women among the diploma students and PHDs we have a very very high quota of women. In physics there are only about 10% women in Germany, in astrophysics it's a bit more. But after 5 years of studies I'm already used to it.

Finally I have the peace to read my emails. Some software stuff in the mailinglist of the collaboration, some news of the experiment, some internal mail and not to forget, some spam.
The three hours until lunch I'll be busy with programming some algorithm to analyse my data. It's from a subsystem of our experiment, about which I wrote my diploma thesis. I've just learned programming and so it's still a bit slowly, but I'm getting into it. My knowledge is increasing with every program, that I'm writing.

At about one p.m. I'm interrupted by my colleagues, who ask me if I want to join them for lunch. Of course, I want to. I'm already very hungry. One p.m. is almost a bit late, but on the other hand it's pretty early, as we stay at university until seven p.m. normally. I needn't stay so long, as I have only a part-time job, but there are so many things to do.
We are going to have lunch at the 'Mensa' - the cantine of the university. As the semester has started, it is very crowded there. It takes quite a lot of time until we finally can sit down and eat. The others are discussing a bit about politics. I'm looking outside through one of the big windows - two walls of the cantine are completely made of glass, so that one can have a look towards the street and towards our big library. Outside some people are passing and some birds are hopping around.
We are sitting there already for a while, when our spanish colleague arrive - we don't know why he takes always so much time, but sometimes he is discussing the food with the cook, other times he forgot to charge his mensa-card, ... I don't know, but he always arrives after all others.

When we have finished lunch, we return to our offices. On the way we pass the bookshop and I'm stopping for a while to see if there's a new book of my favourite author. We are walking back over the campus towards the phyisics building, crossing the physics building and walking again up to the third floor.
Afer lunch I'm always a bit tired and I'm taking a short pause to read and answer some emails. A spanish colleague asked me about some changes in a programm and I'm writing her my opinion. Afterwards I'm doing some datacheck to see wether the data they took last night was ok. I'm running one of my programms. In an email I'm reporting the errors I got to the people in our collaboration.
Afterwards I'm doing some changes in one of my programms to adapt it to some changes in the dataformat.

Suddenly I realize that's it's already quarter to five. At five o'clock I have to be in the library, where I have a little student-job. I stop the work I'm currently doing, take my bottle with water and tell my colleagues, that I will do my job in the library for the next two hours. Again I'm stepping down the three storeys. When I arrive in the library, my boss tells me what I can do during the next two hours: Label some new books, sort some magazines, that have arrived this day, and do the normal jobs like lending books, shelve the books, that are brought back. After I have done the work for this day, there are still some minutes left and I'm starting to read in a magazine for astronomy. But before I finished one of the articles, it's already time to close the library. I'm putting some books back into the shelves, I'm switching of the computers and lights and finally I'm closing the doors.

Back in my office I want to finish the work, that I had to stop before, but there's only half an hour left until I want to leave. The badminton training starts at half past seven. Like usually in summer there aren't many people attending the training. In summer most people prefer staying at home, spending their time in the garden, enjoying the summer...
Of course it's more comfortable to stay outside, when the gym is very warm from the sun. The season for badminton is winter, but some 'crazy' people are playing it also in summer ;-)
Fortunately there are some other 'crazy' people, so that we can play double, which is not that much exhausting than playing single.

After the training we drive home to have a shower. As it's not that late, we decide to watch the last episode of the lawyers-series on TV. It's about a male and a female lawyer, who have an office together. It is very funny. Afterwards we are going to bed.

Good night!