Month: December 2015

Boogers, and other things

There’s an expression my father uses, “that booger off the finger.” I don’t know where he got it, but it refers to taking care of something unpleasant that you can’t wait to get rid of. Unfortunately, these boogers are sometimes harder to take care of than others. Loans are one of those. Thankfully, most things, if one puts one’s mind to it, can be taken care of within a few days.

The problem comes when it’s someone, like me, who procrastinates and despite being super organized, still pushes off doing certain things in favor of doing other things… like blogging, until the deadline.

There’s two ways I keep track of boogers. I have tabs open in my internet browser or notes on the dry erase board at my desk. Most recently, I had browsers open for my school applications. On my board, I had notes for replacing the spare tire in my car, friends whose e-mails I wanted to reply to, blog posts I’ve wanted to write, and the website log-in info (not my password, though!) that I need to go to repay my loan.

Keeping track of my unpleasant things helps make sure I get them done, but sometimes I wonder if I am too concerned about getting things done. For example, should writing friends and writing blog posts be things I can’t wait to get off my list? I know they shouldn’t, but I also worry what will happen if I stop reminding myself to do them…

On the other hand, I know that keeping track of the application was a good reminder to make sure I put the work into it that it deserves. It’s a lot of work. I applied to U.S. and German schools for PhD, and both have their own expectations- see the breakdown below:

U.S. PhD application German PhD application
expects GRE scores expects high school through post-secondary transcripts and diplomas
costs 85-100 dollars to submit


expects letters of recommendation

expects writing sample

expects potential as a teaching assistant expects potential as a successful dissertation writer: this includes a fully developed proposal for a PhD project (10-15 pages with a timeline)

Financially, the German applications are much easier. There’s no GRE test to pay for and no application fee. However, the work is a lot more. U.S. students show up for their PhD studies and still have 1-2 years to figure out what they heck they want to do. German students show up and are expected to know what the heck they’re doing. There’s a huge difference. I worked on my application for the German school since the summer, whereas the US school application got done along the way.

So, I was happy to get that booger off my finger today. This past week, I’ve taken care of many other boogers as well, the car has a tire (in case we ever get a flat, we don’t have to be ridiculous and call AAA), the friends have been written (with some friends who’ve already replied, waiting for my second reply), the monthly payment for the loan is out… I’m fairly free as far as Fall 2016 goes, and got a start on Spring 2016.

There’s two other things I need to take care of, which are some bills to doctors in Germany that my international insurance may or may not have taken care of since my study-abroad trip ended. I have to  check that tomorrow. I have a few thank you letters to write, too. But then, I’m done.

This is how I like to end my year. I have aspirations and goals for the new year, but usually don’t base them on the Jan. 1st starting date. Some of my goals I’ve already started working on, or have the beginnings of a plan to start working on. It has less to do with the time of year, though, than with the phase in my life I’m at. However, what’s important to me, at the end of the year, is to have the boogers all gotten off my finger, so that I can start clean into the new year and be ready for whatever is to come. In that way, the 31st of December always has been a deadline for me. It’s my favorite one of the year.

Hope everyone wakes up feeling just as free on the 1st, without too much hangover and ready for a fresh start.


This image has nothing to do with that thing I kept mentioning throughout this post, and it’s better that way. 

Happy New Year! – Dorothea

p.s. those annual reports are kind of neat, from WordPress. But I won’t bother you with the details. 😉



Frohe Weihnachten und guten Rutsch

Hi everyone!

Wow. It’s been a long time (and not in the Boston “it’s been such a long time…” way; looking at it again, though, maybe).

Anyway, it’s fair enough to say that since getting back from Germany, blogging about anything (but especially Germany) has taken the backseat.

Still, I have hundreds of feather-light memories that I have time to get lost in everyone in a while, when someone shakes the snow globe of my life, and then I get pulled back to Germany and my life there. This has been happening a lot more during the Christmas season. As you may recall (if you’ve stuck with me through these quiet times!), I‘ve posted about Germany’s customs before.

This year, the semester didn’t really end for me until Dec. 18th, even though classes were out on Nov. 25th. Still, I’ve managed to get into the Christmas spirit a little with Advent every Sunday, baking cookies, going downtown Delray and looking at the 100 ft. tree, and getting Christmas cards out (yup. still do those).

I’m really excited about tomorrow, but more so about what happens after all the guests are gone (if you recall, Germans have two days of Christmas, so we have guests through Saturday) when it’s just me and my family again. I have a grad school application to submit by the 31st, which is the worst time for a deadline, if you ask me (though I could of course always have been more disciplined and already been done with it), but there’s also time for catching up on e-mails, Christmas letters (from the other dinosaurs who still do them) and lots of card playing.

I hope everyone was able to prepare enough for tomorrow that it’s a relaxing start into a glorious three day weekend, that there’s moments of peace in the festive atmosphere, and that everyone arrives healthy into the new year.

I also hope to figure out a new way to use this blog effectively, so that it’s not filling up unnecessary cyberspace for the next year, so please stay tuned!

Tschüß!- Dorothea