23 November 2011

Deutschland for Empathy, Day 4

Well, the trip is winding up:  I'm on my way out of the city to get to the airport for a 17:00 flight. Now, I am sitting in Starbucks outside of Stadmitte station, having some coffee and reflecting. I had a cookie too. I can have a cookie now.

Berlin: livable, extremely livable. Polite, clean, German. Cold, but people are still sitting outside. Christmas began here: you get the sense that everything we try to do in the States and England is just mimicking what they do here. They do it properly here. Christmas markets. Grog. The carols sound proper in German. They should, you suspect, be sung in German all the time, by everyone.

It has been another good trip for me: far less stressful than the trip to NYC, thanks mostly to the fact that I was staying in a real hotel and the trip was not funded from my research budget, but my supervisor's, so there were no money concerns either.

The meetings of the Empathy(2) Network were good, but more importantly, I had a supervision meeting yesterday evening that really was one of the best we have ever had. I am finishing my analysis, my findings are coming together and I have the beginnings of what will be my actual thesis, rather than what I have imagined it to be. The next steps are clear, we are discussing finishing the analysis by Christmas and beginning (!) writing up in January. I didn't fight: I tried to listen. No resistance: you are riding a bicycle for the first time and suddenly the person holding you up has let go. I wasn't sure how this would be, but I see the end of the road. The light at the end of the tunnel. Choose your scenario. My supervisor says, You can take Christmas off. Can I? I'm not sure that I can.

Build this up, she said, gesturing up from the paper. A construction metaphor. Writing is building. You build up, not out. Findings are a base.

The end. It's strange to imagine. My supervisor says to me yesterday about what I had presented her: this is pretty much done now. Done!? I haven't heard that yet. If that part is done... that's a big part. My colleague says to me, Well, you would hope that things would start to wrap up. Yes. You would hope that. But I didn't expect it to happen.

I should stop writing and go back to walking. There is so much to see in this world.