Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My day as a real adult...

Today was one of those truly awesome days I hope to keep tucked inside my memory.  I gave a presentation on energy policy to a room of brilliant German lawyers, economists, and scientists.  It was fantastic, thrilling, and terrifying all at the same time.  I finally stopped wondering how I got there, and instead was trying to figure out how to repeat the experience.

School has basically been pure madness.  If anyone ever thought that taking an online class was a vacation to a degree, they are wrong on just about every level.  My classes have been intense, but I have also learned an incredible amount in such a short amount of time.  It didn't take long for me to reconnect with the trained lawyer inside and jump right back into things.  It has been nonstop reading and writing since September.  My last class finally brought me into the energy law realm, which is the sole reason I'm in the LLM program to begin with.  I'm surprised I have any hair left after that class, and I'm even more surprised that I managed to do well in it.  The energy law world is a complex web of insanity, to put it mildly... At one point Big R told me he can finally understand why people get LLM's to specialize in certain topics.  He claims my LLM is making me "smart" - haha, I had to chuckle at that one.  Isn't that the point?  Let's just hope a future employer agrees with him...

I've had my doubts about whether going to school was a good idea or not.  Then I have days like today that solidify it all for me.  Pure awesomeness.  I somehow sold my proposal to the Dean of the school to conduct an independent research project for the current semester.  Normally they don't allow a student to conduct one until a year of the program has been completed, but I managed my way into the deal because a huge component of my work is a comparative analysis with Germany.  It's true that with most of the research world being online, where you are located is hardly critical when you conduct most research, but I had a contact here in Germany that I really wanted to explore.  My project was approved, and it has been a great semester because although the workload is high, my schedule is my own.  Believe me, that is HUGE!  It's especially awesome considering all the travel we have on the horizon in the next month.

All that aside, I somehow went from doing a relatively simple project to conducting a presentation to a research center in Leipzig.  This research center is one of the largest in Germany and is THE largest center in the country for environmental research.  My visit was coordinated with another American from Vermont - that is a story unto itself that I'll spare you from - so the day was laid out pretty methodically with an agenda.  The agenda that to my surprise included a presentation of my research.  Yikes!  I was more than a little nervous.  It all worked out as I babbled my way through my material.  They were fascinated, I was mesmerized, and we ended up having a discussion that was beneficial to both sides.  I was also left feeling hopeful that this was simply the beginning of what could be "a beautiful friendship."

So, things have been just a little on the busy side around here, but in a good way.  It's the first time in quite awhile where life feels like it has some balance.  I'm glad we are having this time now because craziness is going to begin in less than two months as the whole PCS move goes into full swing.  For now, the boys are happily in kindergarten and at the kinderkrippe giving me a good solid 3-4 hours a day during the week to focus on school.  Big R is still busy, but the nature of his work has him home in time to say good-night to the boys and he's home most weekends.  We are both training for the Prague Half Marathon with friends (that we are running in less than two weeks - yikes!), I started playing volleyball on a social league, and little r is about to start t-ball (with Big R as a coach - so fun!) and spring soccer.

We are busy, but loving life.  The next month includes some fun travel as well, so hopefully you'll hear a little more from me!

Hope everyone is enjoying spring and digging out from under heaps of snow!   

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