As I woke up, the light stinging my eye through the tiny gap between the two curtains, I silently said a small prayer for the day to be sunny as it was. But it rained. I strolled down the road, hands in my pocket, wearing a hoodie, which also covered my head, although my hair was getting damp. Yesterday I had cycled all the way, but the raindrops on my hand felt like ice pellets, and I had no gloves, so I did not want to take the risk of getting my fingers numb again. People huddled at bus stops, for there they found some protection from the rains. As I entered the university, it felt warmer. The thermostat had done a good job. The door said ‘Drücken’ the next said ‘Ziehen’. I pushed and pulled the doors as necessary, pausing now and then to say ‘Hallo’ and ‘Gutten Morgen’ to faces that were unknown at the beginning, but had now become familiar.
For instance, I knew the man in the electronics laboratory, he was okay at English and had offered to help me on the very first day when I needed a two-point plug instead of the three-point that I was carrying for my laptop. I knew the lady at the ‘Mensa’ who gave subway sandwiches. I remember how first I had thought they were cucumber slices, but later realized they were thin egg slices, which made that breakfast so good! I was slowly getting used to this place. The Professor I worked with did not know much English, but we were good. We spoke Java, and that was universal. I wonder how some people cannot speak English but can code perfectly in English. How do you understand what you are coding when you do not know the language itself? It is one of those questions that I will never find an answer to, just like I still don’t know how babies learn their mother tongue.
I had just earned my stipend yesterday, my first ever earning. It was 200 euros, and I was so happy I treated myself to a really good pizza yesterday. German food was bland in general, and Italian helped me remember how good food can be. I took a slice of bread, and went back to my lab, then made some fresh brewed coffee. I must tell you, there is no better way to start a day other than having a huge cup of coffee. Until last week I was working on a desktop with a German OS installed. It was a relief to switch from Einstellungen to Settings and Zubehör to Accessories. I now had a desktop which had Windows 7 and an English US version of that. My work had been fun lately, and I desperately wished it continued to be so.
When I came out later for lunch, it was still raining. The food was hot, but only temperature wise, nothing spicy. Mustard helped in making it bearable. You realize the value of sauces only when you’re devoid of it. As I left for home in the evening, a small part of me wanted to stay behind, wait for her. She used to stay back in the university till two in the morning sometimes; I could have waited in her lab, but then I changed my mind. Reality hit me. And I strolled back home again. Meanwhile, the clouds still poured.