CERN Diary #3

At CERN I started studying some differential geometry with Fabian, but unfortunately we never got much further than exploring some basics. Among the other Summies’ initiatives were Waltz and Salsa dancing lessons – great fun! And we really enjoyed the visits to the various CERN experiments and facilities (ATLAS, CMS, ALICE, ISOLDE, …).

Parties. One major thing for “Summies” besides work and sports is … the parties. I must admit that I felt a bit old, but it was fun nonetheless. Every organizing country tried to do something typical, from decoration and games to food and drinks. The great spirit was particularly reflected by the “Israeli-Palestinian party”. We enjoyed Irish coffee, Guinness beer and a Viking invasion at the “Celtic party”. And lots more.

On another occasion, the Dutch party, I decided to return to Thoiry by bus, just to get my orange shirt with a physicist’s joke on it. I had almost no time for the way from the bus station uphill to the house and back down. I guess I ran like a world champion, made it only by a few seconds – and I bet nobody actually noticed the joke. ;-)

Bottlenecks. In August I went to the wonderful wedding of Slavi and Marija in Vienna. In order to get there, I traveled to Innsbruck with Gregor and spent the evening with Lara (my girlfriend’s sister). We had a great time and delicious dinner at an Indian restaurant. During our conversation she responded to one of my lengthy self-reflections with words that would have a great impact further on: “It’s difficult to be honest when you are constantly countering yourself.” – Goosebumps, internal resistance: sure-fire indicators that she had hit a nerve. Doubting my own evaluations has indeed been a major (even tightening) bottleneck for years. Internal integrity becomes difficult under such a habit. Sometimes the keys appear in unlikely places!

The Wedding. I met with my mom and brother in Vienna for lunch, got dressed and went to the wedding church. On the way I met Achim, and so we were both equally late Рor just in time! In the church we witnessed a beautiful orthodox ceremony while an artist was painting icons on the back walls of the church. When I congratulated Slavi, I was so moved I could not speak a word! Then we went to Kursalon Bad V̦slau where the wedding celebration was taking place. A wonderful location, more than 150 guests, and food to die for! The young generation at our table grew particularly fond of the Slivovitz bottles. I resisted them more or less successfully.

Adventures. The porter was everything but elated about my check-in at 4 o’clock in the morning, but I eventually managed to “resolve the tension” when I checked out. The adventure continued on the return journey. I went back to Switzerland with Slavi and Marija, and even though they were quite exhausted from a week-long preparation and almost sleepless night, Slavi decided to travel in one piece. We left Vienna at 6 pm and arrived in Lyss at 4 am. In other to enhance our safety, I burned a CD with catchy metal tunes that would encourage us to recall anecdotes and sing along. I managed to stay awake during almost the entire journey, and my heart lit up when one particular song helped me recall an enormous bunch of memories – with long-lost missing links, so to speak!

After three hours of sleep on their incredibly comfortable guest bed I finished my journey back to CERN and continued programming some JavaScript for a monitoring website. Had I known beforehand what I would end up doing, I could have saved a lot of time and energy … a programming physicist’s curse? :-)

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