Desierto norte de Chile

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Plans finalized!

Good news, the christmas plans have been finalized, and I am going to Paternion! Today I was invited to spend the 25th with the Lassnig family in Paternion, so I will take the train from Graz in the morning and join them for lunch. On the 26th, Flo and I will meet cousin Tim in Salzburg at the train station for a week of skiing. Here is our tentative itinerary, depending on accommodations (I am waiting for email confirms from several places):

** Schedule edited 03 January to reflect what we actually did! **

26th: rest, recover from jet lag, and see Salzburg
27th: ski Obertauren, spend night in youth hostel there
28th: ski Molltaler Glacier, spend night in Paternion with the Lassnigs
29th: ski Nassfeld in the morning, T & I go west to St. Anton am Arlberg, stay night there
30th: ski St. Anton am Arlberg, stay night there
31st: ski St. Anton a.m., Lichtenstein p.m., celebrate the New Year in Bregenz
1st: T to Munich, B to Graz

Should be a week of craziness and fun. I'll post more when we get back. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cross-cultural sarcasm, or is it misunderstanding?

** Edited 24 December 2006 **

I'll keep this post brief, as all the details remain to be worked out. Net result: my christmas plans are up in the air. I assumed I would be spending the holiday with my roommate & family. However, I didn't explicitly ask permission to join them (some conversations that I thought implied I was invited were held, but the communication was missed), so plans were made that did not include me. Once I did express my interest, it was too late for the family to change their plans to accommodate me. At my roommate's birthday party tonight, I asked his sister point-blank if it is better for me to not come to their house, and she only shrugged. I admit being frustrated by learning all of this at the last minute, with little chance of making alternate plans. Perhaps it is a diagnosis of the difficulty of cross-cultural exchange: inviting a stranger into your home, effectively invading your family's personal time, is a huge step for a family, particularly when it comes at the last minute. I believe I grossly underestimated this sacrifice, expecting hospitality when I should instead have asked for it.

Anyway, I am taking things as they come. My roommate is going to ask his parents tomorrow if I can come, but I'm not very optimistic - especially if his sister remains against it. We'll see what ends up working out. If I don't go to Paternion, I will email/call around to some friends from hauskreis to see if they would host me. No one wants to spend Christmas alone, but it's better than being somewhere that causes my hosts to feel uncomfortable because of my presence.

Any advice here? And if I don't go, what do I do with the presents I bought for the family? Take them back?!

Peace, and merry christmas, however we end up spending it. I am reminded during this week that the main point of the holiday requires no interpersonal interaction at all, only pondering of significance and a search for meaning:

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Christmas in Austria

Tomorrow I go with Florian to Paternion, in southern Carinthia and south Austria, to celebrate Christmas with he and his family. It should be a crazy good time of some singing, lots of eating, and gift-giving. I don't really know what to expect, so I will wait to post my feedback after the event!

On the 26th, Tim (cousin on dad's side of the fam, from Augusta, GA) arrives here for a week of skiing and cross-cultural adventure. "Do you even know how to ski, Brad?", you may ask. And I would answer, "Ummm. Well, I have been skiing twice in the mid-1990s, but it has been over 10 years, and I admit I'm a bit worried about lasting an entire week!" But, do not fear, as a side trip to Lichtenstein (the only country that borders Austria that I have not visited) awaits me - and maybe Tim, too, if he's skiied-out at the end of the week.

Tim and I will celebrate New Year's somewhere in the mountains, and then he heads back to the USA from Munich on Jan 1st. That's when I head back to Graz for my final 2 weeks of research in the Genoa cyclone study at Wegener Center. Wow, how time flies. Seriously!

In a few other notes:

- I was accepted to live in Kraettli Apartments on campus at OU, which is exciting for at least 2 reasons: first it is close to the Nat'l Weather Center (by bike, 3 mins; by car, 1 min.); second it is populated with mostly international students, and the opportunities to be a neighbor to people from many places is exciting to me! Additionally, I plan to room with my friend Ryan, with whom I have been friends for almost 5 years.

- I was accepted into the OU short course on Climate Change at the end of January. Besides the interesting topic, it gives me my final 3 course hours (to complete the requisite 60 post-baccalaureate credit hours OU requires for the ph.d. degree).

- I know I owe photos from Venice, Budapest, and Prague. Sorry! Adding photos to blogger is time-consuming. Maybe it's time to upgrade and go with the google-linked version ... adding pics might be easier there (I hope so!!)

Frohe Weihnachten und gutes neues jahr von Österreich!

Monday, December 11, 2006

First round of job applications away

At the mere cost of 18.75 euros, my first round of job application letters - and their many supporting materials - is in the post. Now a waiting game begins (and the next applications need to be sent).

This weekend was my first in Graz in six weeks, and I had several fun (and other interesting) experiences:

- After class on Thursday, I enjoyed chatting with several of my students over a warm cup of gluwine and some cookies. Mmmm.

- Later Thursday I went back into town with Flo, Kathrin (Flo's sister), and Babsi. We didn't really interact much, which was sad, but then again I don't speak deutsch, and 95% of the conversations were in deutsch. In the other 5% of conversation, I learned just how hard cross-cultural sarcasm can be. I still don't know if Flo's sister's friend was genuinely angry with me for not seeing as much of Austria as she thought I should have. Seriously, Austria is a great country, but her tone and content could have easily been less nasty (at least towards someone who you only met an hour earlier and had till then spoken only three sentences with.) (Forgive the poor English ... not sure how that sentence can be properly resolved to prevent ending in a preposition).

- Friday was a national holiday (to celebrate the miraculous conception of Mary), so Flo and I went jogging in the afternoon and I joined Trygve, Lucy, Suzha, and Morgan after the Fri. night service for more gluwine. The Austrians know how to celebrate advent!

- I did some shopping Saturday morning and then watched a few Cosby show (season 1) episodes with Trygve later in the afternoon. Afterwards, he and I went into town to fetch his Mac computer from the repairman, and then we set out to find this Indian restaurant he wanted to try. After a few minutes (okay, maybe 30!) of wandering Graz, we found it, but it was closed! But the night was saved when we found a cafe offering a rather nice selection of food.

- Sunday was very enjoyable, the highlight of the past few days. I was invited by my student and colleague, Tina, to share breakfast with her and her roommate, Rudy. I arrived at 9, and Rudy's colleague Daniel joined us about 9.10. The 4 of us proceeded to have one of the longest breakfasts ever: 9 hours. I left their apartment at 18.15 (6.15 pm), having sat in the same place, in front of our breakfast dishes, the entire time. We had some great conversation to go with the great food (a typically Austrian mixture of breads, sliced ham, butters, coffee, and juices), and I really enjoyed their hospitality. (Now if I can only remember: whenever you go over to someone's home, TAKE A GIFT or something! Ugh, cross-cultural forgetfulness is frustrating!)

- Sunday night and Monday were spent working on netCDF and tracking cyclones. Fun, fun, fun!

Hope you had a great weekend! Leave a comment if you will.

Monday, December 04, 2006

netCDF and other successes!

Just a brief post to celebrate a small success with netCDF: I have finally figured out how to read the netCDF data file. This breakthrough came after I realized (the hard way) that I have to compile my fortran-interface program with a hard link to not only the netCDF include file, but also the netCDF library. (It may seem trivial to you, but to me, it took several headaches of analyzing compiler error messages to realize that the library was not linked properly). My next task: to actually find cyclones in the era-40 dataset. Then I plot their density on a nice polar-stereographic map. Then we move on to exciting analyses!

In other news, Trygve, Robbie, and I took a short (one-night) road trip to Venezia (Venice), Italia. I enjoyed their company and fellowship, and walking the streets of Venice wasn't bad, either. Although the city was charming like the guidebooks say, I couldn't live in a place fairly devoid of community. In my limited travels thus far, the places with the richest spirit of community must be Colombia and Turkey.

I know I owe photos from several of my recent travels (Prague & Budapest come to mind), so perhaps at the end of the week I'll have some time to post an update. This weekend I plan to stay in Graz (woah, I know, surprise there) and continue working on job applications. Any suggestions where I might like to work?

Enjoy the week. Can you believe it's only three weeks - to the day - before Christmas? And I depart Austria in 6 weeks 1 day (16 January). Can't believe it. So much to do, including:

- confirm my enrollment in the special climate change course offered the last weekend of Jan
- figure out if I can be reimbursed for the climate change conference in Istanbul
- give my final lectures (covering hurricanes) to my Graz students, and give the final exam
- confirm next semester's housing at OU (I have applied to live in Kraettli apartments, but the demand is high)
- finalize plans for Tim's visit after Christmas
- decide if I can / should attend the AMS annual meeting in San Antonio in January (I will be jet-lagged from traveling the day before)
- finish up my cyclone-tracking research project with the WegCtr
- polish essays and send job applications
- continue work on my dissertation

Catch up with you later. Leave me a comment or two if you will!

    Newer›  ‹Older