A few months over half of the Ph.D., I have come across many realizations. The vast amount of experiences I have accumulated, both in physics with excellent and profitable discussions in conferences and the SPEAR training sessions, as well as personally, with more and stronger friendships that would last year after the end of the Ph.D. I have been contemplating this more and more since returning from Chile for the Holidays. However, I am always amazed by the small daily changes that have transformed me into who I am today.
However, only some things can be good news. By the end of the summer, I had an accident requiring knee surgery. The process was complicated and tedious, from figuring out how the German health system works (kudos, by the way) to internalizing that I would be out of the office for at least two months. Here is where the solid friendships and interpersonal relationships saved the day. No surgery comes without fears, doubts, and loneliness, usually overcome by love and care from family and old friends. For me, this time, between friends, colleagues, and roommates, there was barely any time left to be afraid, worried, or even scared. Of course, I still had the essential and long video calls with my family and friends from Chile that kept me in shape. I don’t have the words to express how much I love every single one of you. Everyone will forever have a special place in my heart!
Luckily, the two months of recovery, with physiotherapy and training, went by without complications. I couldn’t have asked for the timing to be better. I was walking again just two weeks before I started my first secondment at Nanogune. I can’t think of a better place to return to work: an excellent lab in Spain (where I can speak my mother tongue), by the beach at the middle to end of summer. Nanogune welcomed me with open arms and such wonderful, insightful, and friendly people that it is hard to find anything to complain about. I may need to come back sooner than expected.
All in all, the 3rd 6-months period has been so remarkable that even a knee surgery feels like less than a typo in an otherwise perfect storybook of a Ph.D. Prost and see you all in Halle!