Weeks 6, 7, 8

The weeks have rolled by. I start to realize my days here are limited. The matter of fact is that, I have been reading on the weekends. Eight books in the time thus far. I hope that number surprises you as much as it surprises me. Some days, I spend in my room, opening a book in the morning and closing it at night.

The theme of this summer’s reading is ‘gifts’. In the past three years, I have been recommended books of all sorts to read, but I hadn’t ever found the time. With a summer and an abundance of time to shape, I decide with a fervor that I will finish all the books that have accrued over the years.

Here is a link to all these books and my accompanying notes or summaries of them.

  1. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West by William Cronon
  2. The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt
  3. The Two Cultures by CP Snow
  4. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak
  5. The Ability to Love by Dr. Alan Fromme
  6. Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr
  7. Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
  8. I Heard God Laughing by Hafiz
  9. And currently reading: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This summer is a special transitory period for me. I had just finished three years at a small liberal arts university in Oregon, and am starting two years at a school in a city too big to wrap my head around. One of my friends recently told me that maybe I should take this summer just to think about things before the pace of life quickens with school. She’s right. Most importantly, I am to set clear goals for myself for these next two years, and for the person I want to be by the end of it.

Work has been picking up. I am close to scripting all the necessary components to start the optimization of a photonic crystal nano beam resonator. My days are characterized by MATLAB coding and COMSOL simulations. In a few days time, optimization will finally begin and hopefully, we can get a high performing device with a large quality factor and high opto-mechanical coupling. Talking about ordinary days, I thought I would document here a typical day at IST.

Shabir with his food.
Matthias with his soup and cake.
The chef who feeds me well. We have a special relationship where he always gives me double portion of food because he knows I eat a lot.

After lunch, we head back into the office, sometimes lingering outside to talk.

Here is Lena (right) talking with Shabir (left).

At my desk, Georg usually helps me with scripting, assigning me more tasks. And Matthias comes in to check up on me every so often. And on the rare occasion, Johannes comes in to prod around, make some jokes, and check in with us.

At the end of the day, I bike home, along the Danube river. The days end sweetly and awaken easily into the next day.